What do you want to do?

I just want to learn and do anything in UX design. Is that a fair statement as a junior? I jumped into UX because I want to be in a creative role that helps shape our interactions in life and commerce. Being fresh out of school, I have no idea what exactly what area of UX I want to do.

Mr. Bean shrugging and holding a duck.
That feeling when someone asks what my career interests are.

I have come to grasp the enormity of UX fields available to pursue. This turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Maybe it turned out to be too much. So many specialized fields: AR/VR, product design, research, strategy, visual design, UX writing, marketing, media promotion, and so on. It all can fall under the same umbrella.

With all these choices, I started reaching out to people in the industry. Those with experience doing the jobs I find intriguing. I ask for their advice on skills, tech, tools and industries. I ask about their daily routines. I ask about their backgrounds and how they got to where they are. I ask many questions. What I’ve noticed is that they are always unable to answer my questions without knowing about my UX goals. That is not such an easy thing for me to answer.

In reality, I want to do everything I listed above and more. I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into one field or another. I am not sure I can be honest with myself when it comes to picking one field above all the others. My hope is that my career will allow me to experience all the facets of UX design. Initially, it seems that basic research/strategy and visual design is a great place to start to get some clearer ideas of who I am and what I am good at. I may or may not have a choice on the industry or the company though. Currently there are limited opportunities for junior designers and some of the companies I admire are not hiring right now. So I play the waiting game in my career search and hope that opportunities provide good learning and growth for my future self.

So when someone asks me what I want to do, I have to be creative in my response. 80% of me just wants a job, the other 20% wants growth and quality experiences. I will of course have to rule out roles at companies I don’t understand or have no passion for (there are a few). Overall, with so many different organizations there is a plethora of interesting things going on that I would like to be a part of and learn from.

So back to the title question; What do you want to do? In short, grow. In a longer answer, which may be too long for a Linkedin chat box, I want to learn about how UX influences and impacts business decisions and creates the environments that we interact in. Whether that is in video games, health care apps, curating physical experiences, improved shopping and so on. So then I would circle back to how do I connect the dots between now and in the future? You may notice many more questions than answers throughout this thought process. That is because I have not many answers.

I am relying on the wisdom of those who have been there and done that to orient myself towards my goals, as broad as they may or may not be. I don’t know if my goals are really so broad anyhow. My desire to do great things may not come down to how much I know about a many different trades and fields, but rather my commitment to one. That I might enjoy that one track career is possible too. I spent seventeen years with my last employer because I enjoyed what I did. That same mentality may pigeon-hole me into another singly-focused foray. It is so hard to decide. That is why hearing about others’ work is so inspiring: It allows me to taste the future of what I might achieve.

I value everyone’s individual successes and failures. I like to learn from others. I like to hear their stories and ideas. Right now it is what helps me to grow as a person and as a UX Designer. Some day I will be able to look back at my path and know what I am now unable to put into words. That is the power of hindsight that we curse so much. Maybe relying on other people’s hindsight isn’t such a bad idea. At the very least, I learn something new and I will always say it was invaluable to hear.

An older, more mature Mr. Bean.
The future me has finally achieved greatness.

So bring me your stories, ideas and advice. While I am searching for my own personal brand wisdom, I will gladly borrow yours!

A UX Designer in a UX Designer world