What am I? And do I care?

My son asked me last night what a graphic designer does, and I gave him the standard definition that floats around visual communication and the mediums in which they generally work.

He then asked me if this is what I do or what I call myself.

I said no, though it once was close to what I once did (my concentration in grad school was also visual communication) but it’s not a title that I would have or would use now. I left it at that because I didn’t really know what else to say. He knows what I do, but I guess as part of this foolish CEO class they take in high school they discuss job titles and he is trying to find how to fit my square peg in their round holes.

The work I do today ticks a lot of boxes for me. We are a success in so far that we have built products that people love. Unfortunately, despite making an income that should be enough (but isn’t), from work that I could continue doing till my mind turns to mush, I made a decision a while back that the likelihood that I can continue is pretty low.

Last year I ran a research project, interviewing 15 different people, local and remote, to get a sense of job prospects, their methods of success, and how I might now fit in the grand scheme of things. The reason to do such a thing was I guessed I would soon need to become an employee, not an employer. I analysed and abstracted the results, which in turn gave me action items. But I didn’t take action because I was having a great time doing what I was doing.

I don’t care much for job titles, if you ask what I do, I just say I make products for kids. But many employers seem to care and computers that scan CV’s care.

Much of the work I do still involves design at some level, but I’m not a graphic designer, nor UX, nor a product designer (whatever that is). Nor am I podcast producer or audio engineer. I’m certainly not a CEO. None of these levels of abstraction seem to work with me; maybe I’ll just string together a bunch of words like they used to do years ago in startups like (but add product and UX for SEO): Dream (Product) Alchemist, (UX) Happiness Engineer or a title used years ago when I was at the Creativity Lab, Creative Disruptor.