In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.~ Shunryu Suzuki
My current title is Senior User Experience Designer, but in my career I’ve also been a technical communicator and a product manager. I’ve been happiest when I’ve worn multiple hats simultaneously — product manager and designer, or tech writer and designer.
I’ve run my own web hosting server as a hobby for years, and have some facility with Linux, web hosting control panels, and system security. I once coded a book cover contest application in PHP from scratch, complete with PayPal API integration, as a volunteer project for a local writing group. (Over the years that contest ran, the group netted tens of thousands dollars, which was awesome!)
I’ve had longish tenures (5+ years) in both a small family-owned business and a Fortune 100 company. I’ve happily worked from work and then spent the last decade happily working from home.
I wouldn’t say that I have “passion” for my work because I think that’s a terribly misleading way of talking about employment. Passion implies having strong emotions every day, and some people just aren’t hard-wired that way when it comes to careers. Why put that unnecessary burden on them so that they think they’re broken?
The question should really be, “What do you find interesting?” or “What problems do you like to solve?” because that’s where the energy goes, even when we’re not at work. If we’re interested in a problem or if something out in the world has resonated with us in an “I’d like to fix that” way, then our brains will work on the problem even when we’re doing the dishes. So let’s be inclusive and talk about what sparks people’s interest.
What interests me:
- Remembering that the vast majority of the humans out in the world are not wired like software designers and developers. Each person has their own set of life experiences that inform their current experiences, thinking, and behaviors.
- Solving hard interaction problems in the simplest, most elegant way possible.
- Cross-functional ideation and teamwork where everyone has a voice at the table — even that one person everyone else thinks is a problem. In my experience, naysayers see things differently and, if I listen closely, they usually have a nugget everyone else is ignoring.
- Breaking open problems before narrowing down on solutions.
Pragmatism is key. Aim for great design, but respect timelines and technologies. Present and defend the design, but recognize that a good idea can come from anywhere. (Thinking about that naysayer again.)
Don’t take anything personally; it’s not.
And yes, I’m open to discussing opportunities, whether full-time or part-time, contract or permanent.