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Interesting point that. Can't imagine 65 year old sitting hand coding a web site and going through the hell of making it all work but for anything really you would imagine that the more experienced and aged (if they have progressed suitably throughout their working life) move upstairs and do the top level work and the youngsters do the lackey work such as coding down in't basement?
I know design is a lot different but with a tech grasp and knowledge of new standards etc... spose there is no reason why some psycho code loving grandpa would want to continue!
Having turned 40 this year, I have many long thoughts about 'sitting in my wee room at 65 making websites' as you mention above. I can see it, but I don't think I want to...
I've done the 'management' thing already to a certain extent, when my company had 3-4 other staff, and my days became more about managing them and the business than actually doing stuff. Trouble was, I didn't like it - I like being hands-on. So that's the other dilemma - if you don't feel cut out to 'move up'. I mean, I don't mind managing a team of people, but I still like to be involved in the actual making - I don't want to do spreadsheets all day.
I think about doing something completely different quite often, but the point I always come back to is why, at this stage of my life, go and do something I have to learn, and might not be that good at, when I have something that totally fits my aptitude and that I have an enormous amount of experience in? Seems crazy to throw away all that experience and learning. Plus, nothing particularly jumps out at me in terms of yearning to do it (I mean, like those people on Masterchef who always say "I'm an accountant but I love to cook and always wanted my own restaurant"). I've been 'into' computers since I was programming a Commodore 64 at 12. It's just what I do, and what I've always been good at.
I do worry sometimes that my main 'hobby' outside of working (in the limited time that family life allows) is videogames, and that all I do is stare at screens every waking moment ( funny if it wasn't true ). I think sometimes perhaps I should join a brass band, or go hill-walking, or something different.
Can't really see me throwing my toys out of the pram and taking up nuclear physics. It's just not going to happen. I wanted to be 'a designer' from an early age. It's not something I turn on at 9 and switch off at 5. Like Warren says, "seems crazy to throw away all that experience and learning".
I hate computers now, they really get on my tits but I couldn't do what I need to do without them, so that will no doubt continue in one form or another. I am hands on, but I can also direct quite well so who knows.
I have wondered wether my job title should reflect my age (like will I be a 'design consultant' at 55, that sort of crap). Then the other day I decided that I couldn't give a fuck about this sort of thing, as it's all stepladder bullshit. My job now is a dream, we work when we want and do what we want when we want (holidays, look after my son, run a couple of other projects). I have no desire to work in a graphics sweatshop ever again.
And then I have a cellar full of machines from another age that I tinker with for hours on end. So maybe I will become one of those strange old blokes who strip down engines for fun. I know for one that I don't want to go to British Printing Society conventions as all those people are absolute freaks.
Andrew, sounds like we need to have a pint sometime - there's a lot in common there. :)
The one upside you have I guess is your wife is earning (and in fact, more that you), so you have some 'security' in terms of heading in a new direction. My wife is only back at work after 7 years of childcare for our two children (I wrote 'first two' there, and then thought "WTF? ONLY two") and even then, she's working as a classroom assistant, 3 hours a day, term-time only, just above minimum wage, so the 'bread-winning' still falls to me.
I sometimes fantasise about going and doing something really different, but on top of any other hurdles I might face, starting 'at the bottom' in the lowest paid position is just not viable for us. I look enviously at people who can do that "give up their job and go to Australia for a year" thing (as someone I know did recently), because they only have to provide for themselves and that's it.
A few years ago I began taking classes and making stained glass windows and sun catchers etc... As i don't have the room in my house atm I cant really keep that up but I really miss the whole process as it is extremely interesting / creative / calming / rewarding. So in an ideal world I would use my creative ideas in a totally different way. I would much rather be going to a studio / shed every day putting the kettle on, listening to some tunage / talk radio and tinkering with that historical craft.
I also bought an oil painting kit before xmas as a present to myself... still in the box! usual story.
(excessive use of / throughout that.)
A topic very close to this forum's heart I see ;-)
I enjoy my job, but what I do has changed massively over the last five years, and I'd be incredibly surprised if it didn't continue to change massively over the next five.
The only thing I don't do in a work context that I'd like to do more of is travelling: I'm fascinated to see how our industry contrasts in different countries around the world. I love travelling, but not sightseeing, if that makes sense. I dig just hanging about in new places. Would love to live in Rome, Paris, Tokyo, Chicago, Cape Town, Buenos Aires... and so on.
I think one of the reasons I don't get bored is because I do quite a lot of stuff outside of work: going to the football's a big thing for me (off to Barcelona on Monday), playing football, art, music, film ... I've got great friends and a wonderful partner -- I think it's really important not to let your work control your life.
But most of all, I think it's important to have things you want to do, want to achieve ... realistic things. I don't believe at all in roadmaps or life-plans, but setting a target and working towards it all the time is incredibly rewarding. Learning a language, an instrument, planning a holiday, whatever it is. The only times I ever feel particularly unsatisfied is when I don't have anything on the horizon.