Paying it forward

This history of how I became a UX designer is a long and sometimes tragic one. I’ve worked for free, worked for almost free, pulled countless late nights and all-nighters, given up much of a personal life, been told I didn’t have the skills for silicon valley, been fired, taken crummy freelance jobs, worked out of an “office” that was a house garage, uprooted my life twice for other opportunities and spent large chunks of time unemployed looking for jobs.

Each career choice I’ve made was about learning the next skill to advance, fought for with blood (thick skin), sweat (adaptability), and tears (this one is real). I was coming up during a time when UX was just starting to take off. I hadn’t even heard of it until I’d already graduated college.

Because I don’t want others to have the same experiences as myself, I’m working harder to pay it forward to junior designers with any advice or help I can give. Sometimes, that may just be connecting one person I know with another person. Other times, it might be a few minutes to give advice on structuring a portfolio.

Recently, I was looking at a signup sheet for freelancing or mentoring, which was created through a meetup. The “need design mentor” list was completely full, and someone left a frustrated comment. As I’ve posted before, there seems to be an imbalance in our young field between the amount of senior-level positions and the amount of junior designers.

Our field is in transition and we designers need to stick together. Everyone at the top once started at the bottom. Please remember to pay it forward.

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