I spent the bulk of my mental energy on finding a new job from October 2011 until March 2012. I didn’t think it would be so hard at a time when design- and usability-centered startups are sprouting up all the time.
I mostly focused my search on companies in San Francisco. I went out there twice in January 2012. Once I was flown out by a fairly prominent company to interview, and another time to follow up with a bunch of other well known startups. Unfortunately, I didn’t land any of these positions.
I spent my five post-college years focused on lots of things (mostly my band Percolator), but hadn’t spent tons of time focused on my career or design. I spent that time watching my peers slowly rise to successful careers and praise for design, while I toiled away at a job I wasn’t thrilled with. I can remember wanting to be a better designer but not having any idea about how to get better. I didn’t know how to invent my own style or even figure out what I liked about the styles of others.
When it came time to start applying for jobs, I realized that I hadn’t spent enough time focused on my skills as a designer. From there, I realized that I didn’t have much of an internal drive to create design; I thought that maybe I just didn’t like design. When it came time to show my stuff to potential employers, however, I discovered something I had been searching for: my voice. I think when my back was against the wall, I had to summon imagery and ideas to create stuff worth looking at. I built confidence in my skill just by making work for the sake of making it. I never considered myself much of an illustrator, but as it turns out, I enjoy the process of putting pen to paper a whole lot more than I thought I did.
After spending months being discouraged (and pretty despondent), I found a job posting for a UI designer at EveryBlock. After a couple rounds of in-person interviews, they asked to design up a simple content doc as a homework assignment. I used the closest thing to my personal style to create several illustrations. Somehow it worked. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of my creative reservoir, but it’s pretty invigorating. I want to soak up as much knowledge as possible and practice as much as I can.