Hope and Defeat

Work has been a bit overwhelming lately. I have a million things running through my mind in what I’d like to accomplish to help my team, my manager and myself succeed. With working for a large organization comes with the fun ol’ game of politics. There’s no way for my manager to shield my team from it. The man can only do so much and at times I have to step up to the plate and handle that shit myself. It’s beyond exhausting dealing with that. There are many times where I think about quitting, but what’s really kept me at this job is my team. It doesn’t matter how good the salary or the benefits are. If I come across a team where we have a strong relationship and can work cohesively together, I’m going to ride it out and stick around. I tend to be the voice of reason for my team, the one that encourages positivity amongst each other, etc. Once again, it gets exhausting. I truly do have strong hope that the future of this team will exceed its own expectations. Right now, we’re in the midst of chaos and it really sucks.

Last Friday I had lunch with this director and 2 other designers that’s on his team. We’ve recently exchanged messages via LinkedIn and randomly started chatting about photography. Mind you this guy comes off as a total asshole on the phone. I was hoping meeting in person would change my perception of him. Nope. He truly is an asshole. He had scheduled a lunch for me to meet him and the other 2 people. I showed up to my old office and they were waiting for me in the lobby. I had really low expectations, but from the get go I knew I wanted this lunch date to end…and we weren’t even in the car to the restaurant yet. I’d like to think that I have a generally good sense for people. It’s a rarity for me to dislike someone when we first meet and if I feel like that, that’s a big red flag to me. I really faked it throughout that car ride and lunch. Ugh.

When we got to his car (a BMW), I immediately thought “you’re a tool…”. His license plate is customized and it says “FASTRBMW”. Cringes…He drove like a maniac. During the car ride, this dude was talking MAD shit about some of my colleagues. He spoke of them in a very disgusting way and it was just so harsh. It was so painful to even listen to someone speak like that in general yet alone about someone else. I spoke up at certain points since I strongly disagreed with him about practically everything. We went to this yummy Thai restaurant. I was texting my colleague from my team about what was going on. He told me to order the most expensive thing on the menu lol, which was hard to do because of the cheap lunch specials haha. Generally when you meet people that you just met, you ask each other questions. Nope. Them mofos didn’t care for me but I still generated any kind of conversation with them just to be polite. Finally lunch was over and we headed back to the office. The car ride back was awkwardly quiet. I couldn’t fake it anymore and didn’t bother making any further conversation with them because I just didn’t give a fuck anymore. Once we got back to the office, I shook their hands and thanked them for the lunch and I immediately walked over to my car.

I got on the phone right away with my colleague and filled him in on the details. It was an hour long phone call ranting about this mess and could’ve gone on longer. I am essentially the only person from my team to have met this guy and it’s a big deal because this doofus is suppose to be the one calling the shots on a lot of things. I was hoping to a degree he would prove me wrong, but nope. It was literally like eating dinner with Darth Vader. It was pretty bad. Prior to meeting my team in person, I thought they were pretty nice and cool. That translated in person which was great. But damn…this guy was such an asshole and had no remorse. I realized he’s super insecure with himself with behaving like that. Also, I feel like many execs are condoning this poor behavior. It’s sad.

With that said, I felt so disheartened by having to share all the details with my colleague who is working close with this guy. I really wanted to tell him “hey he’s not that bad after all”, but this fool couldn’t prove me wrong at all. I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he was literally like a super villain. I ended the call with telling my colleague that despite this lame lunch with this guy, I still have hope for our team to do well and to not let this fool ruin things for us. I really wanted to make things better for this entire team and it’s hard on me. It’s hard to be the one that’s so hopeful all the time that I’m running low on hope. I think I’m overworked and overwhelmed with the challenges that I’m about to face. I don’t want that to deter my manager, my team and myself from making changes in this organization. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been watching too many Marvel related shows and movies that encourages this hope that I have and maybe it’s true. At the end of the day I just want to defeat the bad guys and let my team win. It’s hard to be strong for everyone and I’m seeing the cracks each day. Yet once again, I still have a lot of hope.

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Management Reassurance

I have to admit that I’ve been pretty worn out with work. With my recent travels to Colorado and coming back to attend networking events has been so draining on me. I guess I’m trying my hardest to keep this momentum going and to really make some kind of impactful change. While doing this it wears you down both mentally and physically. I’m constantly thinking and trying to figure out a strategy plan to help navigate both myself, my team and my new boss towards a path of success and for better collaboration.

Before my trip to Colorado, I was reading a lot of design leadership books. I wanted to figure out ways to help my team in any way that I can. I am not aspiring to be a design manager or anything in that sense. However I do aspire to be an influencer not only amongst my team, but within the design community as well. I literally read 3 design books in less than a month. I have a few more books to get through and they’ve been great reads. It’s made me feel more empowered and impactful than ever as corny as that may sound. I’m just trying to do the right thing not for myself but for others as well. It’s helped mold the way I’m seeing and thinking about things, which I am totally all for. While reading all of these books, I felt like these books understood the struggles that I was facing at my job, in my role and at the organization. I really felt alone on an island while my team and everyone else was on land elsewhere. It’s been a real struggle for me.

My trip to Colorado went well as it was my team’s first time meeting me in person and I had to opportunity to meet my new boss as there was a reorg announcement while I was in town. I was welcomed with open arms and I met with the right people that I needed to in order to help with my work. Besides attending lots of meetings and just meeting folks in general in that office, we had a great opportunity to go out to socialize after work. I got to chat with my new boss and let him know who I am as well as I where I stand in trying to help the team. He wanted to know me as a person but honestly, I’m really not that interesting haha. All I do is read a lot of books, go on photo adventures, impromptu solo travels, obsessed with RuPaul and RuPaul’s Drag Race, I’ll kick anyone’s ass in Street Fighter haha, etc. There really isn’t much to me but to some degree I hoped he had gotten a gist of who I am as a person. The same day that I was about to head to the airport to go back home, we had a final meeting with my new boss and team to discuss the recent changes. I let out a lot of my frustrations as to where my role currently is and how my previous boss had kinda left me with false promises. I literally was going to start crying because I was so angry but also speaking passionately lol. Anyways, I let them all know how I felt so unsupported for a long time and this trip had reassured me that I really do have people on my side. It was a great way to end my trip on that note.

Once returning back to Cali, I’ve been attending a few design events. They’re great networking opportunities and a great way to stay connected in the design community. I’ve connected with some cool people and hope to continue to keep the conversation going. Going to these events are reminders for me that I am not the only one facing the problems that I have, but how it’s also this ongoing battle. The stories and chatter shared by the panelists at these events has been so good. They’ve even provided more books recommendations which I’m thrilled to check out. I got to briefly chat with one of the speakers yesterday before heading home. She was the only female panelists and I thanked her for sharing her thoughts and how amazing she really is. I’m hoping to see her again soon at another event that her team will be hosting, so I definitely can’t wait.

Back to my boss and work…I do my usual routine of making breakfast and then sit down in front of my computer to go through emails. Most of them I delete but they’re just beyond pointless. However one email in particular stood out and it wasn’t because it was from my new boss. He wrote me a very reassuring email which said “Be patient and enjoy this slow time because things will start to come together quickly. You are not forgotten.”. The dust still needs to settle with all the recent organizational changes, but during this process it was just nice to hear from my own boss that I am not forgotten. I got so choked up and started crying. I’ve been on this solo charter for a long time and to have people on my side especially my boss feels good again, which what caused me to cry haha. I feel better to continue sticking around for what this ride has to offer.

Taking the Lead

I’ve been at my current job for over a year and right now I’m facing a lot of challenges ever since my boss’ departure. One of the biggest things that’s bothered me the most is not meeting my team, who are all based in Colorado. It’s a bit pathetic that I have to beg and nagging is not my style. I had reached out to my current ‘boss’, who is my previous boss’ boss. I had sent him an email with a pretty reasonable request. Basically asked homeboy if I could visit my team for better collaboration since we get along so well in our chat channel and to lead by pushing the user experience even further in the next upcoming product release. It’s been almost a month since I’ve written that email and homeboy has not answered me. Once again this is not an outreach program. I’ve been beyond frustrated and it sucks, which has also led me to applying to jobs elsewhere. I don’t see the harm in applying while I’m still employed. However, I had a call with this start up and they seem VERY interested in me. Having a meeting with one of the execs via Google Hangout so that’ll be interesting.

Although I am at the door and with it cracked ever so slightly, I’m not afraid to leave if I have to. But I love my team and I’m embracing my current challenges in a positive way as much as possible. So in light of that, I booked my flight and hotel today to go to Colorado in the next upcoming weeks. I’ve had discussions with several folks on my team to hear their thoughts about me coming to visit and of course they want me to come, but I want to make this as productive as possible. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to get this expensed since I’ve personally funded this travel myself. Regardless, I’m making a huge investment not only for my team and my job, but for myself. I asked one of my colleagues what they think our current boss will think of me just booking my travel and showing up to the Colorado office. He told me he thinks he’ll be impressed with my determination. That made me feel good about my decision and pulling that trigger.

This evening I wrote a message to this woman that I had met at a design event. She’s incredibly smart and just all round awesome. I was very impressed with how she took the initiative and went to another country (with her own money) to get her user research work done. She returned with great results which saved the company lots of money and in return she was able to get this trip expensed. There’s somewhere in the story where she racked up a $20K bill, and the company paid for that. Lucky girl!! Anyways, I sent her a message telling her how inspiring she is with sharing that story with me along with providing helpful tips in how to tackle on this one project that I was doing. I thanked her for giving me that kick in the ass for me to do the same as her, except I don’t think I’ll go over $20K in expenses haha. I thanked her for being such an inspiring contributor in the design community. I never write shit like this to anyone, but I’m sure anyone would appreciate a nice message like that.

I’m currently in the works of writing an email to inform my boss of my decision. I can’t get in trouble for trying to do my job, so whatever. Plus I’ve never been to Colorado so it’ll be nice to visit even though I’m keeping it primarily business focused. I thought about extending my stay into the weekend, but that’ll be for another time. This trip will determine if I want to stay any longer at this company so we shall see. I’m really doing my best to take the lead as much as possible and I hope my work and efforts will make some kind of impact or get any kind of recognition. Shit, I better…

Taking the Lead

I plan on being pretty heads down in my work this week as I’m preparing to lead a very important usability test. I’ve never had to do this and I just want to make sure that I don’t fuck it up. I just want to make sure that I ask important questions, take down the right notes and pretty over moderate the entire session correctly. I’m extremely stressed out and scared about how it will go. I’ve asked my old team who has much more skills in this department for some advice. I’ve noticed how lethargic I’ve gotten during the past couple of days and I’m trying to snap myself out of it. I’ve been extremely tired and sleepy and the thing is, I’m literally not doing much. At all. Pathetic, I know.

I’m trying to manage my stress better since I feel so much pressure from work. I went for an hour walk at the park after dinner to destress. I’m trying to stay focused and get it together before end of the week for when the session happens. I just really want to prove to people at work that I’m stepping it up and that I am good at my job. As a nice incentive, today I booked a hotel for this weekend. It’s the same hotel right on the water by the beach, which I’m really excited for. I definitely want to squeeze it some time in the sun before things start to get really hectic for me where I won’t be able to go as the summer is coming to an end.

Shafted

As I’m working from home right now, I just found out that I will no longer have a cube at work. W-T-F?!?!?!@?@#%?#$^#$ Not fucking cool. I get it that I’m not in as often, but c’mon…really? WTF?!! Granted I work from home pretty often, but it’s still nice to have that option. Now if I ever want to go into the office, I get to use a stupid privacy room or an anchor desk. Seriously fuck that. If that’s the case I might as well stay my ass at home. This just really set me off and only encourages me to really update my portfolio this week and to start applying to other jobs. I didn’t sign up to be a full time remote employee. Absolute bullshit. Working remotely is a great perk, but it’s fucking 2017 for crying out loud. A LOT of companies let you do that so it’s not like it’s out of the ordinary. I just don’t feel valued and I feel really blindsided. I immediately emailed the director about this since he failed to tell me about this. Ugh! Apparently I have until September 7th to clear out my cube. Luckily I don’t have much there. I’m debating on taking my monitor at work with me. Guess I have to start really organizing my desk at home for this accommodation. Absolutely annoyed.

This is bullshit…

Boss Man Reassurance

Earlier today I had messaged my boss when he’ll be coming into the office to get his stuff. He told me later in the evening, which made me think ‘I guess we’re not going to talk in person’. I had gone to the gym at work which is in a separate building but adjacent to my office building. While I was working out I spotted my boss driving in…and I also spotted him failing to get access into the building haha. I’m assuming HR cut off his badge access a bit early. He called me asking me to let him into the building. Unfortunately I left my badge at home in my work bag, but suggested he comes along for the ride since I don’t live too far from work.

As we made way to my place, we finally got to chatting about his departure, who will I be reporting to, how my new workload and responsibilities will be, and some personal conversations. I totally understand why he’s leaving and I don’t blame him at all. I’d definitely leave if I was in his position. He discussed a bit of the work that I’ll be taking on since I will be the sole designer. I told him how that idea stressed me out and of course being the awesome boss that he is, he gave me some words of reassurance. As mentioned in the my post from earlier today about being stressed out about work, hearing from the boss man himself and in person was just really comforting. As we both walked out of the office and made way to our cars, I thanked him for being a great boss and we hugged. I was honestly going to cry during the drive home but I didn’t. It’s a rarity at any job to have a great boss that’s very supportive, encouraging, and just overall awesome. For me to have this happen twice in my career is like seeing a shooting star. I got major big shoes to fill and a reputation to build at this company, and I’m slowly but surely ready to tackle this.

Escape Plan

I’ve been pretty down about my boss leaving, work in general and my health. Last night I got together with a few people from my old team for drinks. I haven’t had a drink in quite some time but it was much needed. We got to catching up and throughout the whole time I felt more like myself again. I gave them all very big hugs and got on my way home. Once I got home I felt this relief because of how supportive and encouraging they are. I woke up this morning feeling motivated. I really wish we could all work together again. For now I got to figure my shit out.

I should try to stick it out another year at this job. I really don’t want to keep bouncing around and go through the job search and interview process again or for at least any time soon. Plus I love the stability and benefits of this job but I know other places can offer me even more. However, I had updated my resume last week and have a list of projects to add to my portfolio. Gonna design some updated business cards. I’m doing all of this in case I decide to jump off board this ship. I’ve also considered the idea of transferring to a different team or requesting a location transfer. Gonna have a talk with my boss about that before he goes.

I’ve browsed at jobs on LinkedIn and there’s some good stuff out there. I’m a bit hesitant to pull the trigger because as I mentioned I don’t want to be job hopping. I might reach out to a contact that I’ve through networking and friends for feedback on my portfolio. I just feel like my portfolio is alright and could be pushed further to its potential. I’ll spend some time browsing at other designer’s portfolios to see what I can improve on. Also side projects are important for me to include but that is literally another job in itself.

Overall, I know what I need to get done if I want to stay at this job or leave.