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HOW TO BREAK INTO UX

One of the best pieces of interviewing advice I’ve received goes as follows: When you interview, you are being judged on how you seem and not on who you are. By making this slight adjustment, each step of the interview process becomes an opportunity for you to stand out to any potential employer… the first step in finding the next job of your dreams.

Silhouette of a woman at an electronic show on the shoulders of someone else
Silhouette of a woman at an electronic show on the shoulders of someone else
Photo by Chris Slupski on Unsplash

This article begins a short series about how to break into UX. I’ll be using examples from my background in UX Research, (Since that’s what I know), but the advice in this article can be applied to getting noticed in just about any field. In this article, I'm writing to myself as a job seeker while sharing context and stories from my role as a hiring manager.

There is a lot of interest in UX these days. …


HOW I LEARNED TO BE MY AUTHENTIC SELF

Authenticity is misunderstood: it isn't about being all smiles and rainbows. Learning to be your authentic self and allowing others to do the same allows you to create more meaningful connections with others. This is an essential skill for everyone, but especially for UX Researchers who rely on developing connections with other people in order to improve their lives.

Man walking with rainbow flag.
Man walking with rainbow flag.
Photo by Jake Schumacher on Unsplash

My journey towards embracing Authenticity started by learning to listen to and embrace being myself. Two years ago, I posted this quote above from, “Self Reliance,” a classic American essay by transcendentalist great, Ralph Waldo Emerson. I was having a hard time being myself because I was in the midst of the most traumatic situation at work I’d ever been through and I was standing up for myself and what I believed was right. I was trying to learn how to better rely on myself, so this seemed like a good place to start.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Quote
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." Quote
From "Self Reliance," by Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had someone throwing me under the bus for something that had everything to do with them and nothing to do with me and a manager who was discriminating against me without understanding (or even asking) what was really going on. …


Management and Leadership are different things. One is not the prerequisite of the other nor does one does precede the other. What makes a good manager is not what makes a good leader. What makes a good leader is not necessarily what makes a good manager. When we tease apart how these roles interact, we learn how to be good at both.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by TK Hammonds on Unsplash

My personal journey

While I am drawing on my experience as a UX Research Manager at a big tech company, these concepts and principles equally apply to Design Management and UX Leadership in general. This also also applies to individual contributors who want to be leaders or managers and can hopefully help explain what their managers are going through.

My personal journey on the paths of management and leadership have sometimes intersected and sometimes not. When I first became a manager, I was a mid-career Researcher at Microsoft-just barely promoted from being a Junior Researcher. I had been reorg’d into a new team as the only researcher. …

About

Josh LaMar

Co-Founder, CEO, & Principal Design Researcher at Authentique UX, composer, reader, and thinker. https://www.authentiqueux.com

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