Ghosts, Ghouls, and Gooo Get a Job!

October Madness: The Curse of The Dreaded Job Hunt.

Actual detailed drawing of the scariest mathematical process in the planet.

Surely, there can be few things in the world so capable of beating the joy and confidence out of a person than the sheer amount of rejection that a job search can manage to inflict. I’m currently on the market for an internship or an entry level UX position and have taken the time to jot down some recurring thoughts, ridiculous or otherwise, that keep plaguing my mind during this process.

I walked into the job hunt process feeling confident- after all, I’d spent my summer learning everything I could about UX/UI design. I felt like Maria in The Sound of Music when she strolls up to the Von Trapp mansion singing, and is immediately brought down to earth by the sheer momentousness of the task she faces. That’s exactly how I feel when every open window on my laptop is asking:

“So, why should I hire you?”

“DON’T! I’m total garbage, don’t hire me!”

This is almost always my first go to. I look at all the hard work I have done, and then I proudly put it online where it is instantly compared to others who have been working in the field for years. Designers on Behance and Dribble are often working in teams, and more often than not, it’s people who have more than one put-together project to showcase. And that’s awesome! And one day, hopefully, I’ll also get there, but you gotta start somewhere. Remedy:

“Wait! I need to go back, hit the books, and do more work!”

Almost certainly my next thought in the process. The instant I get on a platform like Behance and scan the feed, I start to feel like I haven’t done enough. All the hours spent learning and preparing and doing seem like they have just led to a silly project that is nowhere even as cool as these other projects. The feeling of never being there yet. But that’s the thing. NOBODY is ever “really there yet.” There are designers who have been in the field for years, making beautiful and amazing designs who look at others and say, “Wow. That’ girl/guy is awesome, I can’t design like that!”

But seeing other people’s work should be used as motivation to design better and improve on the ones you already have. Things can always be refined and polished up. Which is why this job hunt is so important. Yes, you’ve studied your ass off, but there’s nothing that really, fully prepares you to be in that workplace, doing those projects, than…well, being in the workplace, doing those projects. If you know that you’ve reached the end of the road on your book learning and self-motivated projects, good! It’s time to find a job or an internship and prove to them that you know what you’re doing…for the most part!

“You’re right. I’m a sham, hire someone else. I don’t deserve this.”

Me, every time I look through the website of a company I’d love to work for.

A classic. This is a lot like what I felt when I was writing Impostor Syndrome, that feeling that I’m not at a point where I can even own the title, let alone deserve the job. I believe these emotions come from a sense of not feeling comfortable yet in who you are or who you’re trying to become. Bridging that gap is hard, and that’s OK. Like anything, it takes time, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to get a job or you don’t deserve to go into a career you love. It’s OK to take that step and not be 100% ready, because honestly, you’ll never be 100% ready.

“I’m doubting every life choice I’ve ever made right now.”

This was in the back of my mind when I was learning UX, and deciding that this is the career I wanted to get into. It really kicked into full force, as I was designing my project and teaching myself new skills and by the time I started looking for a job/internship full time it was on full blast. Moments of ‘UX is a great field, I’m glad I can express my creativity’ were punctuated with, ‘Doubt is a major sign that you’re uncomfortable, and learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable is hard. There’s a lot of instability that accompanies doubt, and worst of all it often results in feelings of insecurity that bleeds into all aspects of your life. Don’t give in! Get off the beaten path. You’ve made it this far for a reason, right?

“I’ll never be a UX Designer.”

If this was a five stages of grief, then this last one would be somewhere between “acceptance” and “depression.” This is where the real leap is happening. The place where the commitment is made, and there is no going back, not really. But you want to tell yourself “I’ll never be this” or “I’ll never be that” because you don’t know what’s ahead, and that’s always scary. The only problem is that you’re in the middle. There is no “back” to go to now. You’ve hitched your wagon to this train, and you’re now just waiting for it to go. The train you used to be on is long gone and you kind of miss it because it was chugging along nicely to a smooth, sleepy rhythm. That sleepy rhythm, lulling you into safety and complacency? Don’t ever get comfortable with it.

Content Designer @Square by day | Plant mom by night 🌵