Why being shy is bad for a designer

Bahni Mahariasha
May 31, 2017 · 4 min read

Long story short, I graduated from college a year ago, and I just joined GO-JEK as a UX Designer. I’ve experienced different environments of working. I’ve been in a digital agency, corporation, being a full-time freelancer, and working in a data analytics firm.

Throughout the years of being a UX Designer, I learned how teamwork, communication, negotiation, and defending argument skills are very important. Often times, I feel that it will get difficult to apply when the organisation size is big, and the product is highly demanding. Those proficiencies can be easily forgotten due to workload or anything else, especially here in GO-JEK.

Here in GO-JEK, we are expected to work quickly, innovative, and make a social impact. The thing is that the business is moving so fast, we have to keep in pace without losing our design quality. Also, we must have a lot of guts. Be positive, be kind, be helpful, smart, have a leadership, empathise, and communicate effectively. No complaints, no excuses, make an impact. Keep improving, be a nonstop problem solver. Be data driven, and be critical.

So it’s like “Go Hard or Go Home” kind of thing. For me, it’s so difficult to adapt at the very first month. I never work in a environment like this before. S#!% happened. It was bad, but it taught me a lot.


I clearly remember the first week at GO-JEK, I was assigned to design a product. It was handled by Nabiel and eventually I was asked to continue on his design iteration.

When I joined GO-JEK, I was the youngest UX Designer. People who work here are much more experienced than me. During that project, I was unwilling to argue my team mate. I was too shy to stand up in front of them and point some things up even though I think I was right. What I felt is “OK, I better stay here and listen. Do every single task given. I won’t screw things up with my stupid idea. They probably know much better than me.”. But you know what? That thought won’t fix anything but a disaster.

The only thing that stick in my mind in that days is just “I have to get all of this stuff done ASAP”. So, what I did was take and finish every feedback and revision given by developers, PMs, and my VP of Design, Monika Halim (Momo) without asking “why should we do that?” or “why don’t we do this instead?” etc. It turns out I drowned my self in a tsunami, and the waves kept coming like crazy.

So I told Momo about it, and I got these advices:

“Ask. Talk aloud. Demand. Push back. Over communicate. If you get confused, tell them. If you don’t understand, ask. If you need something, request for it. If you are pushed by others, push back. Of course, we don’t just do it with no reason, but be wise and strategical about it as well”

“I always think that working in GO-JEK is like learn how to surf. You have to ride the wave, even though you are not a good swimmer. The waves will always come to you, the further you go, the bigger the waves are. So what you gonna do about it? You can panic and end up drowning probably, or you can stay calm and look around. Then, learn from the people around you, and start standing on your board and catch that wave.”

From that moment I realised that I won’t let my self drown again. I have a responsibility to take control of how the design process should be, and not letting the discussion for revisions continue to go on and on. Regardless of what position I am standing at, no matter how much experience I have. I should keep asking to the team what are they trying to achieve, when is the deadline, what is the objective of a particular revision. Everybody in a team can express their opinion about the design that we’ve made, but it is also our job as a designer to speak up.


Thanks for reading! Be sure to give it a ❤ if you enjoyed it, so other people can find it too. Get connected with me, you can send me an email or follow me on twitter and instagram :)

GO-JEK Design #BehindTheScreens

We aim to help making people’s life better through design and technology.

Bahni Mahariasha

Written by

Product Manager at GOJEK

GO-JEK Design #BehindTheScreens

We aim to help making people’s life better through design and technology.

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