You are not your skills

“Making things is the easy part. The hard part is determining what to make and how to make it, then convincing someone else that your suggestions are right. That’s design.”Mike Monteiro

I came across this excerpt from one of Monteiro’s speeches. It’s not the first time I read something like this, and I’ve been worried about the Cambrian explosion of design-related job titles that’s going on. It’s confusing for a lot of people, especially clients, and it could even become toxic.

Confusion is not good when your job is perceived as exotic, as every job in the tech industry is: adding a touch of mystery won’t help.

I actually decided to drop the “designer” part of my job title, replacing it with “manager”, as both a sign of protest and respect.

Managing product development requires a great deal of design skills, but the word “design” has lost the ability to define someone’s skills – let alone defining meaningful job titles and roles.

In a very Fight Club-ish fashion, you should be aware that are you are not your skills.

You’re not your skills because what your clients want you to do is to get the job done.

You’re not your skills, because skills can be learned, unlearned, improved, forgotten, borrowed at any time and at a very high frequency.

You are what you had to do, you are what you had to be to get the job done. And that happened way before you wrote your first line of code or did your first wireframe.

Yes, it may be more difficult to explain than a fancy, exotic job title. Or not?

“Most clients are trying to do the right thing. We need to help them and not complain about the things they don’t understand. Stop trying to read minds and communicate.”