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Recently I’ve noticed how engaged I am in my work and anything related to my career. I am constantly trying to stimulate my mind with anything user experience design related. I love trying to absorb as much information that I can and sharing out things I find with my team. I am fascinated by the things that I find and with the more I find, the more I can’t help but to search for more. When I find articles or design resources during my own personal time, it doesn’t feel like a chore for me to do it. I haven’t felt this involved in my career…ever. It’s a very rewarding feeling. Not many of my friends can relate to how I feel. I feel most of my friends are at a fork in the road with their careers and it’s okay. It’s common for people to feel like that, but I’ve just never felt like that. I can’t relate to them when they vent about their jobs. When I listen to them I try to put myself in their shoes and compare their experience with mines and it really just can’t even compare. I do get stressed out from my job from time to time and that’s normal, too. Oddly it’s a good stress. I probably feel frustrated about trying to solve an issue or I’m stumped about it. Regardless of what the problem is I feel determined to figure it out. I like the challenge and it’s very motivating.

I love my work so much that it’s hard for me to stay away from it as stressful and exhausted that I can get. Sometimes I’m working on the weekends, which is fine with me. Something that my friends probably won’t understand is that this momentum I have happening with my career needs to continue for as long as it can. My situation with my job is unclear at this point. Despite whatever happens I have to continue moving and not be slowed down. It does freak me out since there is so much uncertainty. I don’t really talk about it amongst my friends since it’s a sensitive subject to me. I don’t want to answer their questions nor talk about it. It will only distract me from continuing to do the positive things with my work. I won’t allow myself to get lost and caught up in the negative aspects for what might happen in the near future. I can only stay as focused as I can. This moment in my life is extremely important to me. It took me a few years to build my career up to this point and I will not allow it to fall. It has always been more than just a job or a paycheck. It’s not even about that at all. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and worked for in my life that it’s become something so precious to me. When bad things happen in my career, I do get extremely sensitive and emotional about it. I’ve babied the shit out of it and if something goes wrong, I feel like I’m a bad “parent” to my “child”.

Like I’ve said to previous employers and even my current one, it’s great to be able to do something that I love for work and to get paid is just a bonus. I wish more people can adapt this mentality without getting so caught up in the salary and benefits. It’s very hard to come across people that are humble about their shit. I feel like that’s why some of my friends are unhappy with their jobs. I see how people try to mask their dislike for their jobs with traveling and whatnot. I’ve just never been like that. I think people need to really take advantage of the resources that’s out there and to further their knowledge whether it sparks an interest to them or not. There is just so much valuable knowledge out there and it’s a shame as well as a waste to not take advantage of it. So far I feel like my team can understand this mindset that I have for design. They’ve struggled and succeeded as they’ve progressed in their career. Not saying it’s only a designers “thing” to understand, but sometimes it feels like it. It’s nice to share the same passion with some likeminded folks though. I’ve just grown to be very disciplined in what I do and there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

SucculentsMoon & Stars

 

There’s been a lot happening work wise. It’s causing a lot of stress for me and I’m finding it harder to concentrate on work especially with the most recent incident. I’m very sensitive and emotional right now. I took some time the past 2 days to just disconnect myself and to do nothing. I just wanted to stay away from my computer. After my meeting on Friday afternoon I realized that I’m not all there during our design review and not doing my work right. I need to clear my mind and not let that situation affect me too much, but it’s hard not to.

I was chatting with a close girlfriend on Friday night, who I look up to as a big sister. I told her about the situation and I just needed to vent. I didn’t want questions to be asked to add onto my emotions and thoughts. I wasn’t looking for words of encouragement or sympathy. I just wanted to say whatever I needed to say and call it a day. I felt relatively better again and decided to sleep it off during the remainder of Friday night. Plus, I needed to catch up on sleep since I’ve been working non stop.

No matter how hard I’m trying to redirect my focus on something else, the discussion I had with my boss keeps crossing my mind. It weighs heavily on me. I highly appreciate his respect for me not only as a designer, but as an individual. He got to witness how truly passionate I am about being a designer. He told me that I’m very humble and loyal to my team and that is why he loves me being an asset to the team. It was refreshing to hear that throughout the past 5 years of my career, that was the type of acknowledgement I’ve always sought out for. I will forever be grateful to him for letting me achieve what I wanted to here in Cali. It makes me pretty teary eyed and choked up just thinking about it all. Only a few people can understand this side of me when I get so emotional about design. I take my career extremely serious.

Yesterday I had received my 50mm prime lens in the mail. I’ve been eyeing it for awhile, but held off since I wasn’t as active with my camera lately. I finally purchased it since I realized that I definitely can’t go on vacation or travel anywhere any time soon, so this was a gift to myself for working really hard. So yesterday I was playing around with it and still getting adjusted to it. I went on a little photo adventure last night, which was pretty relaxing. I realized that I need to do this more often. It distracted my mind from everything and the calmness of the night helped as well.

Anyways, I’m currently at my usual Sunday spot to do work. I woke up in a good mood, ready to crank out some work. So far it’s been a fail. The web app that I use to access the wireframes I need to look at for my work isn’t loading properly. It’s frustrating to keep refreshing that shit and nothing appears. Then there’s a fricken high school jazz band playing literally right in front of me. WHAT THE FUCK?! I just want to do my work. Maybe these are all signs that I need to turn the computer off and go relax and enjoy myself. So I suppose I’ll have to turn this fucking computer off and read. For now, I’m beyond annoyed by this fucking jazz band.

The other day after I wrote my “Farewell JB” post, later that day there was even more great news! My boss usually schedules these one on one’s with each person on my team. Pretty much a quick catch up session on what’s going on and that everything is okay. This was my first one with him. We stepped into the conference room and he asked how I was doing and to pretty much share my feedback on how things  are going. I told him I felt like I’m growing and learning a lot. Just giving him lots of great feedback. In return he gave me awesome feedback as well. Turns out he offered to extend my contract and I’m getting a raise! WOO HOO!!! I was so close to crying because I was so surprised and happy. All my hard work has finally paid off. I was really flattered when he told me how happy he was to have me on the team and if they consider hiring again, he hopes they find someone just like me. That really hit me hard. I was so overwhelmed with all this awesome news. As soon as our meeting was over I texted close friends and made an announcement. I told them what with this promotion, it means I can finally fly home to see my family and friends. They were excited to know I’ll be back this Thanksgiving. I was honestly really scared and sad that I was going to have to spend another holiday alone. Really glad I’m not.

After I moved to Cali, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to fly back home until I got to where I needed to be in my career. I was very firm about that and at moments I broke down because I wanted to go home so badly since it is very lonely here. It was easy for me to have packed my things and drive across the country to be here. I told myself I had to work hard to earn that plane ticket home. I wouldn’t want to come back to visit often since I was still adjusting to a new lifestyle and I would just return to Cali being more homesick. Plus I really had nothing to show for at the time and I wouldn’t want to visit home being unemployed and whatnot. It would be a total blow to my pride and I’m just stubborn like that. My family and friends has seen me struggle and grow since I’ve been out here. They’ve always been very supportive and caring from afar because they knew how hard things were for me. My family and friends were always at the other line of the phone and have heard me crying and the frustration I’ve dealt with. It definitely is a different ball game out here for my career. I never realized designers were primarily contractors whereas in Boston there were more permanent, full time positions. I took that gamble that I wasn’t going to have that stability, but at least I got exposed to different companies and have met smart and talented people during this journey.

To gain the respect and appreciation that I’ve recently received from my colleague especially my boss truly means everything to me. I’ve fought so hard before and during the start of my career. I remember all the negative feedback I got and how people kept trying to persuade me to pursue another career path. This is my moment where I feel like I’ve really proved people wrong and giving that middle finger to everyone that doubted me. I know I’m a great designer and I definitely feel like I’ve reached “ah-ha” moment in my career that I’ve always been wanting so badly. I feel as if this moment has erased all the bad things that has occurred in my life especially during my time living here in Cali. It has all been subsided by this abundance of success in my life. I forgot about how horrible people were mean to me, the struggle of finding a job, being homesick, etc. It still makes me want to cry for what I’ve accomplished, but that hasn’t happened haha. I’m all about setting goals and achieving them, but this is the best one yet. Going to continue working harder and staying humble like I’ve always done in the beginning. I am really looking forward to visiting home and celebrating with the people that has always stood by me. 🙂

This week has been the best week ever at work. It wasn’t the fact that I literally drank everyday with my colleagues and my boss, but to see my team coming together and whatnot. One of my colleagues who works remotely from NY came to our SF office this week. It was great meeting him since he was just this voice on this phone to me haha. I was excited to meet him and hope that our team was gonna hang out and really get to know each other but that was a total fail. I was the only one in the team that was down to take him out. It was fun though. We hung out at work for a bit and hand some beer there in this “decompression room”, which has a ping pong table, tv, and a big keg lol. That was the room we went into everyday after 4 or 5pm. Soon we left work and he introduced me to an old employee that used to be on my team. It was interesting to hear their conversations of how things were like prior to me coming on board. After all the talk about work, we got down to having fun and went bar hopping in SF. I didn’t get home until 3AM on a Tuesday night. I felt like crap the next day and exhausted driving back and forth from SJ to SF. Luckily I don’t have a fixed schedule and can come and go as I please. Stayed out late again the next day and enjoyed an amazing dinner at this Argentinian steak house in SF. I’ll have to write a separate post on it. Hands down best dinner I’ve ever had. Over dinner we each shared our design process, skills and stories. It was just awesome to have these kind of discussions.

Before dinner that Wednesday night, my boss, colleague and myself went down the street to this really cool bar nearby our office. I got to meet my boss’ old colleagues which was amazing. They all worked for the same agency and have moved onto other amazing opportunities. I got to meet the designer that works for FitBit and I have one, so we got down to an awesome discussion about the design and got the scoop of things that are gonna be happening. I loved it. Next, I got to meet a project manager that works at Samsung, met a guy who’s wife is the creative director for Air BnB, and another designer who was a part of the team that designed Beats headphones. There were lots more. I was at a bar filled with so much intelligence and talent. I absorbed every ounce of their inspiring skills and stories. I felt like that moment meeting all these people and even my colleague that works remotely, I felt so much growth in my career. As corny as I’m gonna sound it really was an honor to be around these designers. I would love to be in their shoes one day and be able to say I was a part of whatever team to build XYZ product. It’s just an awesome and rewarding feeling. Aside from meeting great designers, I got to finally really chat with my boss. I discussed of what needed to be done for our team for us to be much more unified besides collaborating on projects. During our discussion, he told me how happy he is to have me on the team and whatnot. I felt truly appreciated and respected, which really boosted my confidence as a designer. I know I’m a good designer, but I’m playing in a different field that I’ve never been in before which is a new and exciting challenge for me to take on. These are the moments in my career that makes me love my job even more.

I see lots of amazing things happening for my team since there won’t be any more folks coming on board. We’re building this team from the ground up and I have hope that with the amount of amazing talent we have, we’re gonna make shit really happen. I learned from another colleague of mines that he is a writer, too. He’s a very intelligent man that has a ton of experience. I felt very enlightened by him when he told me about how he argued with this really popular software designer (Alan Cooper) that he used to work for. Not many people can say things like that. But here’s an article that he usually writes for UX Magazine: click here. Yesterday, I just got brought on board into this huge project and I am one of the main visual designers working with 3-4 interaction designers. That’s a lot of pressure, but I know I can do it. It’s pretty awesome that practically everyone on the team has their hands in this project. It’s gonna be an interesting process since this will be the very first time where ALL of us are collaborating together. I’m ready for the craziness. 🙂

Only third week in at my new job and I am extremely exhausted. All I want at the end of the day is an alcoholic beverage, good sushi and my bed. This job has thrown me off of my routine especially the little things like making my bed or reading my book of the month. Over the weekend I was playing catch up and trying to get myself back into the routine of things. Made myself a weekend to do list that consisted of a few errands to run. Also, trying to gradually get myself back into my workout routine again. I’ve definitely put on some weight due to stress, which is no bueno so I need to take care of that. I’m not saying this job sucks by any means because I’m so restless. I definitely love this current position since there’s definitely growth and I’m doing what I truly want to do in design that I never got to do at previous positions. I’ve just had some bad habits grow on me a bit before and after starting this job like bad eating habits, sleeping late, not exercising, completing chores, and etc. I just need to get a better grip of this schedule. What’s killer is this commute to work. That time I take to commute to and from work I could be doing something else. Luckily I have flexibility at my job where I can start my day whenever I want, but I prefer to get things done in the morning and have the evenings to myself like most people. I’ve been playing around with my schedule a lot as to what works for me, like what time to leave my house to drive into work or what time I should leave and maybe complete 1-2 hours worth of work at home. So many things to consider and play around with. Right now, I really wouldn’t mind a weekend getaway somewhere. But first I gotta handle that work/life balance before I can consider a short trip anywhere! Even though I’m exhausted, I really enjoy that feeling as weird as it may sound. It’s keeping me distracted from certain things and helping me focus on what I came to California for. Career wise I’m in a good place and I can’t complain, even if I’m tired. 🙂

I love my career, but I absolutely hate having to explain to people what I do. It gets frustrating because they don’t understand what a designer goes through and the shit we have to put up with. I hate it even more that I’ve gone through a few contract positions out here, and when I come across a new opportunity and tell someone their reaction isn’t the greatest. Their response is usually “ooh…”. Whatever happened to congrats?! That kinda shit really irks me because it’s just plain rude. It makes me feel like I’m looked down on because here I am a “struggling” designer that got yet another design job. I don’t need anyone to “feel bad” for me. It’s what comes with staying in this industry. Trust me I don’t enjoy having to bounce from job to job. It was something that stressed me out so much when I first arrived in California going through the whole job searching process or taking on short term contracts. It’s something that I’ve accepted out here and have gotten use to. Designers are primarily contractors because companies don’t want to pay the benefits or provide a work station so they can spend their money elsewhere. It’s as simple as that. It’s definitely a semi shitty position to be in since it lacks security and stability, but it definitely opens doors to different companies and to expand your network as well. I definitely miss the permanent, full time positions back at home, but the opportunities there versus here cannot compare. There’s just a lot of room for me to grow as a designer here. Plus, I feel like I get a lot more respect out here where when it comes to projects, my opinion actually matters. I never got that in Boston. Some of my previous bosses could careless about me as long as the project was completed. There wasn’t any growth or a challenge at all. Anyways, I’m not expecting the red carpet treatment or tons of attention on me when I do share with people that I got yet another new job. I would just like some respect for the career I’ve fought extremely long and hard for. If you don’t want to hear about my career or whatever else, just tell me. It’s as simple as that.

My coworker shared a cool link with me today. It’s about the world’s smallest 3D printing pen. 3D printing itself has sparked an interest for me and I’d love to learn more about it since it’s definitely making an impact on the future of technology. I missed a design networking event that explained more about 3D printing and gave demos too. Still bummed that I missed it. Kinda sorta tempted to get this product, but we’ll see. I’m imagining all the cool stuff I can design and use to decorate and whatnot. A little secret about me is that I am a total tech nerd lol. I’m very fascinated by products like these.

Just thought I’d share a link about it: http://lixpen.com/