Let’s start off by saying that this has to be one of the most challenging journeys I’ve ever had.
Now, I didn’t come from a design background; Previously, I was a Veterinary Technician for 7 years; you know the kid that would bring stray animals home? That would be me! That love for animals made me want to enter the Veterinary field; I was able to take blood, X-rays, and do Dental. I eventually became a supervisor where I mentored and Trained new Technicians.
I’m also Gamer; not only am I Gamer, but I was also a Gaming Editor and an Esports Manager. As a Gaming Editor, I was able to review games that weren’t released yet. I was an Esports Manager; I traveled with our players (28 males, this definitely prepared me for motherhood.) to different tournaments all over the country. I was also in charge of making Marketing decks for companies to see if they would be interested in partnering with us to become sponsors.
One of my biggest accomplishments was when I was featured in the Esports Manual; now, this is when females weren’t taken seriously in this field, I fought and demanded to be respected, and it paid off! Take a look; I’m the only female in a men-dominated field. I think I did pretty well for myself.
Now let’s Fast-forward to 2019. I finally had the time to hone in on my desire to start learning design, I wanted to bring all my thoughts and ideas to creation, so I started taking classes online and teaching myself. I’ve had the pleasure to learn from some incredible mentors in this field, who have helped me gain experience in UX Researching and UI Design. At this point, I’m ready to start applying for a position, I’m excited, I’m driven, I’m prepared to get my career started, but I’ve also been warned that this won’t be an easy task; the design world is made up of White Males, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not a White Male I’m a woman of color. Still, I was optimistic I started seeing women of color in high position; but as I began to applying here came the rejection emails, “Sorry, you don’t have the years of experience we are looking for, ” “Although we are impressed with your skills, you don’t have the years of experience to hit the ground running, ” “We need someone who has previously worked in teams that ship products.”
Now, I’m thinking, “I’ve been a manager, I’ve led a team, I’ve worked hand-and-hand with people in Public Relations, I’ve made sponsor decks, “I’ve trained new employees.” None of that seemed to matter. I would get to the third process in an interview just to be told, “We are impressed with your skillset, but you haven’t been in the field long enough for what we need.
I became so frustrated to the point where I felt like; maybe this isn’t for me; I can’t show you my work ethic in my resume or portfolio; you can’t see my drive or passion. I’m just another person who applied for a job, just another resume, another portfolio.
The constant rejection got to me; I texted my mentor (who, by the way, has been a great supporter) I would vent and tell them, maybe I should give up, they reminded me that everyone, no matter what stage in their career has gone through this, take some time off, breath, relax, and then regroup, and that’s precisely what I did. I’m not the type to back down, and when I really want something, I will fight to get it. I started reading more books, taking webinars, networking with other designers.
That networking landed me a contract job, where I’m in charge of building web and mobile design for their company. During a call, the owner says, “So, I just want to let you know we have a meeting with the Stakeholders and Investors; I was shocked and said, “You sure you want me there?” He said, “Why wouldn’t I? You have determination, you have the skills, and I trust your process”. That made me feel valued; I’ve been interviewing with big companies who felt like I wouldn’t be able to accomplish the tasks given to me, yet a small company believes in me, my process, and my skillset.
This weekend, I had a conversation with my mentor, who thought it would be a good idea to write about my journey. While writing about my experience, I started asking myself more questions, like why big companies don’t invest in new talent, talent that’s just waiting and wanting to learn, work hard to prove themselves, why a field that prides itself on empathy doesn’t apply that to their interview process, you know after the first or second interview that you won’t be moving forward, why waste everyone’s time with the third interview?
Although I have a contract position that I love, I’m still searching for a full-time UI/UX Job. I want everyone who just started their journey to know that it will be hard; there will be times when you want to give up; DON’T!! Reach out to others in the field; I’ve met some wonderful people who have helped me and wanted me to succeed.
Just remember every time you get knocked down, you’re stronger when you get back up. You got this! 😎
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