My mom is probably the world’s most dedicated bookkeeper. As a kid, I spent most weekends with her at the office, sitting on the floor by her desk, toying around with the things I found in the supply closet: paper clips, rubber bands, sticky notes, grid paper, twist-ties, toothpicks, etc.

It was awesome, and I was having fun because I was solving problems – working with limitations, making sense, and finding meaning. It’s one of my favorite memories, and it’s part of the path that led me to where I am today.

From joesparano.com, where I'll chronicle my problem-solving adventuresFrom a future post on joesparano.com, where I’ll chronicle my problem-solving adventures

Design

I’m not a designer because I love design. I’m a designer because I love problem-solving.

But the business of design is complicated, and so the reality of design is often far-removed from its potential. Problem-solving for me is entirely about finding ideal solutions – about reaching that potential – which means most days I’m pretty disappointed by design.

And that’s OK, because this realization gives me an opportunity to do what I’ve always wanted: find a way to solve problems professionally – conceptually, purely, and without compromise.

So, May 31st is my last day at Oxide – and my last as a full-time designer.

Problem-solving

This is a positive decision. I’m leaving design because I love problem-solving.

It’s a skill that can help people make better decisions and be more satisfied with the ones they’ve made. It can give them the capacity to be less selfish by being more thoughtful. It can help them to be more compassionate by opening their minds to new ideas. It can make them happier by embracing creativity. And it can empower them with the ability to make sense of their world and find meaning in their lives.

This is really important stuff, and I believe it so fundamentally that I’m committed to teaching these things and finding ways to explore all the ways they’re true. Teaching is my future. And through my Concept Development class at MCC and College for Teens class this summer, I’ve already started doing the thing that I hope to never stop doing.

I’m confident that this is a Great™ decision. And for the first time in years, I feel like that kid sitting on the floor, excited to build something out of what’s in front of me – a love of problem-solving, a desire to teach, and an awareness that this might be the most important decision of my life.