It seems like I finally reached a milestone when you start to look back at your life to be sure you go in the right direction. Recently, I started reflecting about my profession and experience, and what I have achieved while going my own rocky road.
Thinking about my career, I realized that I've got a lot of experience from my co-workers, I've met a lot of friends with similar interests, I've got a lot of emotions and impressions after being involved in different adventures, nice and bad ones. But I also was lucky to understand the 3 most important things.
When you start working in tech-related industries, of course, you see technologies first and only then people. It's not bad, it's kind of the step zero in your further organic transformation. It's bad if after many years you still see technologies first.
Every person I've ever worked with has a unique attitude and passion for what they do. They aren't just colleagues, they are personalities with their own taste in movies and lifestyle. You help each other, you spend time together, you share some dreams and hopes. It's so much important to make nice human connections than to exchange professional experience to use it in your goals (not that it's not important at all).
I've seen some tech people who treats others as computers. “I am your leader. You are my workhorse. I expect these tasks from you tomorrow. Execute!” That was awfully disrespectful. That attitude is so totally wrong.
Technologies are valuable but people are priceless. I stopped fearing about not knowing something. Because I know so little in comparison with what I cloud possibly learn. I learn all the time with the help of kind people around me. The importance of people you go toe-to-toe may not be clear from start, but when you understand it, it will be like a revelation. And it will change you forever.
2. Critical Thinking
Never rely on “that's obvious”. We live in a bubble with people who understand us well, we speak the same terms, we make one thing together. Something clear to us may be completely unclear for those who aren't familiar with our ways of thinking.
That was a great discovery for me when I first attended quality research in a special-treated room with a Gesell mirror (remember police rooms with a one-way mirror from movies? this is it). Insights I collected were earth-shaking.
If you rely just on your understanding of your work that you do for other people, everything will break apart. You may have your head in the clouds when you brainstorm, but eventually, you should always think critically about your work. And finally, when everything worked well, when those who use your work are happy with it, you'll find the strongest motivation ever.
I worked in companies of different types and sizes, in a corporation with 7000+ employees, and a startup with just 12 geeks. I've seen some organizational structures, personal growth strategies, agile methodologies, motivational bonuses, office environments, corporate cultures, and codes of conduct. With all that experience I developed my own way to choose where to work. I'd prefer a place where the atmosphere is free and comfortable, where people are in passion with what they do and share their catching ideas, and where I can do the most significant impact with the help of products I work on.
I knew the last thing a long ago because it made me a designer. I always wanted to create and to build something significant because anything else seemed a waste of time. I know I must do something if not changing life, but at least making it a little bit happier. That doesn't include a startup that is planned from start to be sold to another corporation for sure. To bring your professional efforts into the life you need enough freedom and enough enthusiasm from those who work with you. Unfortunately, many companies often tend to control more than trust you which ruins that enthusiasm and freedom. That's why I started looking at these criteria to understand if I could work happily and make something impactful and significant for other people.
These are the things that drive me in my profession. My thoughts may sound too philosophical and “Well, it took so long for you to understand”, but it's sincere. And after all, have you really been thinking about it deeply? Never too late.
Den Talalá, Designer and Art Director