YES I QUIT — AN APP HELPING YOU OVERCOME YOUR FEAR WHEN IT COMES TO A MID-CAREER BREAK

Sonja Reichel
May 21, 2019 · 6 min read

Final Project -:-:- Weeks 8 and 9 -:-:- Ironhack Bootcamp Berlin

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:
PREFACE

Why would you want to make people quit their jobs and take a mid-career break? Isn’t it an insane thing to do?​ On the contrary, it might be the only sane thing to do if you look at some alarming figures.

According to a Gallup survey conducted in August 2018, only 15% of all German employees like their jobs which leaves 85% dissatisfied. Eighty-five percent! It is not surprising that every second German citizen feels threatened by a burnout (aerzteblatt.de, April 9, 2018).

Given these figures you would expect a vast number of employees taking a gap year or mid-career break but it is as little as 15%, with another 20% wishing to take one but not daring to do so. What keeps them from pursuing this desire?

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:
WHEN FEAR IS TAKING OVER

When conducting interviews and pinning my findings down in an affinity diagram, it became clear that my interviewees mainly feared that a mid-career break could have a negative impact on their careers. Some of them also mentioned financial or organizational reasons but their main pain points were obviously their careers.

Still, they also reckoned a mid-career break might even boost their careers and regained confidence when starting to imagine themselves as these brave people, quitting and pursuing their dreams — be it a trip around the world, teaching English or upskilling.

I became aware of the fact that it would help them to read success stories and be inspired just like my user persona, 40-year old Mara, who feels stuck both in her career and her life and would like to be courageous enough to quit her job to travel the world and rediscover herself.

The user journey I laid out for her showed how she was navigating between different levels of confidence when thinking about quitting and the satisfaction she sometimes still drew from the knowledge she would have enough money in her bank account every month, which did not make up for her great level of frustration most of the time. “If only I was brave enough, am I brave enough? What if I fall? What if I fly?” In her mind, she seemed to be weighing up courage against fear incessantly, wanting to move, yet unable to do so.

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:
HELP BOTH THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE ECONOMY

I believe that if we helped people like Mara facing their fear in a subtle and engaging way and showing them ways to overcome it, thereby taking their worries seriously and not putting them off with standard sayings such as “feel the fear an do it anyway”, I think another 10 percent of the aforementioned 20 percent would take the leap and live their dreams. As a positive side effect, the risk of suffering a burn-out and a lack of attitude when working without passion would also be decreased. Both the individual and the economy would profit from the gain of self-confidence and hard and soft skills you acquire when embarking and embracing the unknown.

How might my app help people who have already succeeded in their careers overcome their fear of taking a career break to rediscover themselves?

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:
FEATURE FINDING AND PRIORITIZING

I started with many ideas. (Too) many. The first drafts for my app encompassed so many features I probably wouldn’t have even been able to finalize the app by next year if I hadn’t cut them down. I was brainstorming and sometimes taking two steps ahead, thinking of house-swapping features and money saving tips, flight bookings and everything needed for traveling the world. I had to remind myself to trust the UX process.

I decided to use the Moscow method in order to prioritize the features which were crucial for my app — the must-haves and should-haves. If there was more time, maybe some could-haves. In any case, get rid of the won’t haves! This method helped me to remember the most important thing: Before my user would even be able to think about travel details or other options how to spend their gap years, they would have to quit their jobs, right? Looking into what my interviewees had told me helped me find my main feature: fear, and the fight against it.

Whereas the final product is shiny and straightforward, you need to embrace some structured chaos on your way through the UX process
A glimpse at the mid-fi prototype — the four main categories are already there but some will be changing their names and their look

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:
TAME YOUR FEAR BY VISUALIZING IT

It is a proven fact that a lot of things are more frightful in our imagination than in reality. That said, you can control your fear by visualizing and by tracking it. My YIQ-app therefore comes with a daily tracking system of your confidence, fear and frustration levels, and it offers best and worst case scenarios, aligned with facts and figures showing you it is unlikely you will regret your decision.

The colors are also there to have a positive impact on the user — golden tones convey a positive, confident mood and contrast with the scarcely used dark colors which seem exaggerated on purpose — the colors already show that most fears we have are mind-made, not real. Step into your nightmare scenarios and detect them as such! But do not dwell on them too long. A golden circle will be there to remind you to look at the best case scenarios if you spend too much time in the worst case section of the app. Yes, you will be guided to also look at the golden side!

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:
YIQ-APP IS THERE TO BOOSTER YOUR CONFIDENCE

The app’s goal is to trigger this confident side of yours while taking into account you cannot force yourself into courage. That is why the icons und buttons come with rounded edges to remind you in a subtle way to allow yourself to be soft and self-caring. Should you realize your fear is too big to quit your job, it is also okay to stay. The app doesn’t judge, the app supports.

Besides taking your fear seriously it will also spark your curiosity, your audacity, your inner adventurer by providing you with ideas with what you could be doing if only you took this break.

In the end, you will very likely be able to say: Yes, I quit!, wholeheartedly and full of confidence.

Ironhack

Ironhack is a global tech school with campuses in Miami…

Ironhack

Ironhack is a global tech school with campuses in Miami, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Mexico City & Sao Paulo. We offer courses in Web Development, UX/UI Design and Data Analytics. With more than 3000 graduates and an extensive global network and partner companies

Sonja Reichel

Written by

Berlin designer & author (my novel “364 Tage” has been published by acabus-Verlag); Art Director at V-Formation GmbH. https://www.grafikstelle.com/

Ironhack

Ironhack is a global tech school with campuses in Miami, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Mexico City & Sao Paulo. We offer courses in Web Development, UX/UI Design and Data Analytics. With more than 3000 graduates and an extensive global network and partner companies