I will be 40 this year, and I am starting to seriously consider a career change. I’ve spent about two decades of dedication and passion for my field (digital design and design systems in tech), which has been rewarding in many ways. But it’s hard not to look around me and compare myself to others who are newer in my field but experiencing much bigger successes. I feel like I’ve hit my peak, and the only available path for me to grow seems to be as a manager — and after two years of attempting it, I feel extremely burnt out. I gave it a good try, but everything in me and around me is telling me this is not my path.
I’m not quite sure what a new career would look like, but I know that I need something new. I have been reading about how 40 is a common time for people to pivot careers. And lately, with feeling pretty jaded with the tech industry, all I can think about is getting out of it.
I still love the design systems community. So I don’t see myself stopping my work there. But something I have been thinking about for many years is experiential design. I have had a taste of it in the last 7 years working on my conference. It gives me a lot of joy to see people connecting and engaging in a space that I helped create.
A possible path I’ve been considering is interior design. I have admired the field for years, and my appreciation for designed spaces has grown steadily throughout my life. I have considered going back to design school to finish my MFA, but before I was studying digital design. What if I changed things up and studied interior design? But then I think about the potential student loan debt that I would endure. Would it be worth it?