Journal

Why I quit my product design job and where I want to go next...

October 14 2020

I quit my job three months ago.

Between the pandemic and civil unrest, it definitely didn't seem like the best time to leave a stable job and secure income, but I was unhappy and burned out. I knew I needed to take action before these feelings became embedded in my way of life.

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For the last two and a half years, I spent my days and nights building a product with a diverse and talented team. With offices in SF, Chicago, Ukraine, India, and myself in Australia, we worked through what felt like every time zone. There were many highs, but after years of building fast with little time to reflect and celebrate I felt emotionally and physically drained.

It was a bittersweet end, but I'm glad I took the time off to invest in myself.

Where do I want to work next?

A place that values and is deeply driven by craftsmanship, diversity, and inclusion.

At the core, it's a place where people are valued, celebrated, and proud of the work they do.

I'll elaborate...

Value is often linked to compensation ($$$)
but true value is so much deeper than dollars, rupees, or kips.

It shows up through trust.
It shows up through constructive feedback.
It shows up through support.
It shows up through *regular* celebration.
It shows up through gratitude.
It shows up through being present.

In my years of experience as a product designer and a human being in general, I've learned that cultivating a joyful, bold, and safe environment requires trust and intent.

Trust isn't built overnight. It's built through continual reliability, vulnerability, and inclusivity (basically sticking to your word and not being a jerk). We show these qualities through our craft, how we approach problems, and empathy for one another.

The best products are built by happy teams. And happy teams are the ones that are valued, celebrated, and proud of the work they do.

If these values resonate with you, I'd love to chat.

24 lessons I've learned in 24 years

October 13 2020

I originally posted this 3 years ago, but these values still resonate very true today. I'm still really proud of my younger self so I'm leaving this here. She did good.  

I turned 24. TWENTY-FOUR. Twenty four… 🤯

No matter how it's said or spelled out, it still feels strange. Some days I feel like I’ve discovered the meaning of life and other days I’m a puddle of emotions watching reruns of Friends.  

But that’s completely fine --why?
Because a rich and satisfying life means one full of contrast. 

“Give me sleep ins. And soft rains. But also adrenaline and adventure. And drunken bellows to the stars. I am determined to embrace this extravagant life for all that it has to offer.” -Beau Taplin

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Here are 24 Lessons I’ve learned in 24 years

1. Live your values
Values are priorities that tell you how to spend your time, right here, right now. Keep making consistent decisions and committed actions that push you to be a better and shinier version of yourself.

2. Being vulnerable is a powerful asset
Being vulnerable is actually one of the greatest things to be. Yes--there is potential to get hurt, but you can't always hide behind a tough facade, especially from those who know you best. Have the courage to be imperfect, strength to love yourself first, and power to let go of who you think you should be to become your true self.

3. Be your biggest cheerleader
Believe in yourself. You are determined, resilient, and capable of wonderful things.

4. Education. Is. Everywhere.
And it’s FREE. Take an “Intro to Deep Learning” from MIT. Learn a new song on your uke. Explore! It’s good for your soul. You’ll get frustrated and maybe even lost (literally), but it’s a process. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. Remember that.

5. Take (calculated) risks
Travel, fall in love, eat that burger, do it all. Don’t overthink. Just do it. Any choice you make means you’ll always be foregoing a different path. Make no space for “what ifs” but for “HELL F'ING YEAH I DID THAT” moments.

6. Parents are people too
You got really lucky with these two. They support you in every way and encourage you to fearlessly explore. Hug em, squeeze em, love em. Remember, as you get older, they do too. So take good care of them okay.

7. Treat your friends like lovers and lovers like friends
Do romantic and thoughtful acts for each other. Take your best friend on a date night. Listen to your partner vent about their day. Show them know how much you care and appreciate their presence and how richer this world is with them in it.

8. Forgiveness is empowering
Let go of resentment and bitterness. It makes extra room for lovin’.

9. A great sense of humor Is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G
Learn to laugh at your own mistakes. It makes for a great workout.

10. Kindness is a choice
Be genuine. Say and do what is needed with the intention of preserving the dignity of those around you. Break down those barriers and build each other up.

11. Seek solitude often
Embrace who you are. Spend time with yourself and get to know the strange, funny, beautiful bits that make you an interesting, wonderful human being. Become your own best friend. Be the person you needed when you were younger. Be the friend you need now. Seek solitude and find yourself whenever you get lost in the world’s noise. And please please be kind to yourself.

12. Celebrate yourself
That’s right. Be proud of your accomplishments. Stay humble, but be damn proud of where you came from, how you got there, and where you are now.

13. Set goals and meet them
Discipline yourself. Prioritize. Learn to say YES and NO when and how you want. You’ll feel more accomplished at the end of the day. P.S. Take care of your journal, it misses you.

14. Share your experiences with others
This goes back to #2 and being vulnerable. Talk with others, post on social media, and share your work, opinions, regrets, and accomplishments. Build authentic connections by allowing others into your space.

15. It's never too late to grow your passions
After much exploration, you’ve found something special you feel really great about. Keep creating. It makes you happy.

16. Get excited about the small things
It’s easy to get swept away in life’s demands. While you chase down the extraordinary, remember to take joy in the ordinary moments. Immerse yourself with good books, music, and people that lift you higher.

17. Trust your intuition
It’s a compilation of all your knowledge distilled into a simple impulse. Listen to it.

18. Be a big kid
Sing, dance, laugh. Enjoy life’s impermanence. Have a party, indulge, then get back to work.

19. Saying goodbye isn’t always sad
Not everyone will stay in your life and that’s not necessary a bad thing. Some come into it for a reason, a season, and if we’re lucky, a lifetime (my high school Psychology teacher told our graduating class that, thanks Mrs. Knudsen). The beautiful part of time is eventually realizing what your priorities are and who will be a part of it.

20. You do become like the five people you spend the most time with
You laugh at each other’s jokes, share perspectives, and participate in similar activities. Because of this, make sure to surround yourself around people who inspire you.

21. Daydreaming is a sort of planning
I’ve always felt that being “too dreamy” was to my disadvantage, but it’s all a balancing act like everything else. I try not to let myself float too high in the clouds or be too grounded I forget to look up.

22. There is more than one way to do something
Get creative. Part of the fun is getting there so enjoy the process. The entire experience will be shaped by the actions you took to get there.

23. Balance is key
When the world seems like it’s spinning, keep still within. Balance is key in everything you do. Have a vanilla milkshake when your heart wants it and kale when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday and walk barefoot on Sunday. Make your own rules and follow your own path.

24. Live consciously and courageously
To desire it is far from living it. Live with intent. Go after what you want with an open heart and open mind. Thank you to everyone who's been a part of this strange and wonderful journey.

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