The Path to My Dream Job – Chapter 6
“What do I find myself doing for free?”
It took a lot of retrospective analysis to realize the various things that I found myself doing just because I wanted to. In my case, I realized that I was always focused on creating the best user experience possible (e.g., creating the most user friendly spreadsheets, creating proper workflows for maximum efficiency, nitpicking on design elements, ensuring syntax and diction choices in writing were easily understood by the masses, etc.).
With that tiny bit of direction, I began searching for ways to get into the field. Unfortunately, I had a few problems in my path:
- I did not have any formal education on the field of UX.
- Although I had a little coding experience in the past, I couldn’t compete with people who had been coding or designing all their life.
- I was working full time in a job that was not going to bring me anywhere close to my dream job.
So what was my plan of attack?
- Start consuming any UX knowledge I could find.
- Research all available UX jobs and see where the major demand of skills are.
- Develop those skills during my free time to increase my marketability.
- Utilize and grow my network so I can spend time with the right people.
- Be ready to fail many times.
Over the next couple months, I applied for NUMEROUS positions. I did not care where I applied: Wisconsin, California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, etc. During this process, I tested various methods of writing cover letters and resumes. To be frank, a lot of them met with dead ends or simply no responses. It wasn’t until a good friend of mine mentioned that LivingSocial was starting up a program called Hungry Academy. This was a temporary gig where they would take programming newbies and train them to become full-fledged developers. As if getting paid to learn something wasn’t already awesome, there was even a good chance for a full time position with LivingSocial when the program ended. Needless to say, I had to try!
The application process was quite difficult. You had to write a 500 word essay on a topic of your choice, and also had to create a video answering a few predetermined questions. As you might expect, this was not a simple application process! I spent hours agonizing over my responses and how I could rise above the norm. It even got to the point where I was rehearsing with my brother on camera for hours just so we could get the best take possible.
After all that effort and time, for a position that I really wanted, I met with the one thing everyone fears: rejection. And the question that one must ask is, “So what do I do now?”