Last week I received the surprising news that I would no longer be working at PGi. And while I’m grateful for the way they handled it and the timeline they’ve given me, it’s kind of like that break-up that you sort of saw coming and wish you had gotten to it first (except not really because #severance). After taking the first day to really lean into that break-up feeling (think Sleepless in Seattle, Kleenex, and vegan wings on the couch with lots of blankets), I’ve realized a couple things from this experience and my 7 years in the tech industry that I feel others can benefit from.
Amanda, that is a weird place to start what the heck. Well hear me out. At every company I’ve been at, this plays a big role come year 5 of a VC investing in a company. At that point, the VC’s like “Ok guys... what are we doing here?” And what that can *sometimes* mean is a combination of a) choosing a specific direction or product to go in b) change in leadership c) cutting costs to increase net profits. Some things to pay attention to if you’re in this boat are topics at company-wide Town Halls — what product are they talking about more than others, marketing materials like the website and ads you’re seeing, and what (and how) is your company selling or pushing to sell. And honestly, you should pay attention to those things regardless :)
Before switching to UX and entrepreneurship, I had a terrible support system. I couldn’t go to anyone with real problems because they would talk behind my back, judge me, and use it against me later. Hello, trust issues. But now that I’ve fostered so many new friendships over the last 2 years, I have people I can turn to. People I’ve met through EVENTS and CONNECTION. Whether it’s an online mastermind, General Assembly, UX Hustle, or Confidence Activated, that’s how I’ve met most of the people that are deep friends of mine.
Being laid off is scary. Add on a global pandemic, an election year, racial injustices, oh and child trafficking... and it’s pretty fucking terrifying. But the only way to get out of fear is through action. And when I feel paralyzed from fear, I think about the things that are painful or feel heavy to me — being stuck in a job I hate, not being able to pay bills, applying to jobs over the internet — and what brings me joy — making my own hours, working with clients I love, making more money than I ever thought, having more time to see my friends over the internet. And then I can see the vision, the way forward, the goal. Knowing what the next best step is for me.
I know I said I would have 3 takeaways but I just thought of a 4th that comes with a really amazing idea too.
At UX Hustle 2019, Jessica Ivins gave a FIRE talk about using this tool to capture artifacts, resume bullets, and wins/learnings each week. (You can read Jessica’s article about the CMD here: https://alistapart.com/article/the-career-management-document/) And I can’t stress how valuable this is! By doing this for 30 minutes (or less) a week, you’ll be SO prepared for whatever comes your way for your career — a lay off, an impromptu job interview, a promotion opportunity, a review. But I know it can be challenging to set aside time for yourself especially in your career. So in order to build the habit and momentum, we’ll be doing this together! Friday mornings we’ll be hosting CMD parties in our Facebook group so that we can all keep our resumes, portfolios, and annual/quarterly reviews on lock. So make sure you and your UX friends are in the UX Hustle Facebook group here.
Having a growth mindset can show employers what it would be like to have you on a team and how you can contribute to a positive team culture. It also opens up interviews to have interesting conversations and questions about what a project was actually like and how you handle real project conversations — and allows you to ask how current teams handle complications. These tips can not only give an employer a better chance to get to know you but also help you get to know the company and design team better!
As a UX Designer, my relationship with my Product Owner has always been the most influential at any given company, bringing with it all kinds of challenges, opportunities for added visibility and momentum, and... opportunities for miscommunication.
When I first worked on my portfolio at General Assembly, my goal was to get a job. And that was it. My portfolio was a means to an end — showcase that I could in fact design some interfaces, a prototype, using some sort of UX process.
So you’ve been hearing about UX design for a little bit now and you’re wondering if it’s time for you to make the career switch. You’ve got all the bootcamps pinned in your browser, you’ve heard about some local (or virtual) UX Meetups but haven’t mustered up the courage to go, and you just discovered the magical (overwhelming) world of Medium.