Near the end of last year in November (a week after my birthday!) I was formally documented at Shopify as a Design Lead on the Channels team. I had waited for this type of role for quite some time and I think it was a natural progression for my career after being in the industry for so long. It felt good at the time, but right now, it’s mostly just scary.

What’s changed

Most of my work now involves documentation, brief writing and wireframes. If I’m doing any design work, I’m doing the most work in the beginning stages of the process and then I rely on the UI Kit Shopify’s team has designed to build out most components.

Most days there’s a longing for the quiet life, opening up a Photoshop document, seeing that familiar splash tile, and just getting to work. Because I’m still in transition, I still get to do this, but the glory of a full work day with my head down seems to no longer be an option for me.

What’s frustrating

I thrive on hard problems and not knowing what’s going on. I much prefer to be in this state all the time. All that being said, I’m at the bottom again which means being wrong a lot. This is all part of the learning process but occasionally I want to crawl back into bed, pitch the covers into a tent-like structure and eat some Cheetos. This desire comes in waves.

No one really talks about this transition and everyone just seems like they’re doing okay. “One day at a time,” and you’re supposed to nod like that sentence wipes the cheese off your fingers. No words are that powerful.

What’s rewarding

I’ve spent the last year mentoring at Bloc and through this I’ve discovered how much I love the process of growing, whether it be myself or watching someone else go through the rhythms. One of the proudest moments of my career came when one of my Bloc students told me she got her first UX job.

Personally, I am also getting to a stage in life where I’m bleeding for opportunities to not make my life about me anymore. I’m betraying the girl inside of me by admitting I am getting older and the family I’ve always wanted doesn’t exist. And as one of my friends poignantly pointed out the other day, “You’re someone who likes to invest.”

This strange longing I feel when I think about my past life as a Designer is now saddled with a satisfying responsibility to focus on others. This process is kind of like gardening, except my reports are alive unlike my plants who have suffered thirsty, lonely deaths.

So what?

I don’t know really. There’s nothing to learn from this post, but I wanted to make sure I was writing down what was happening somewhere. At some point I hope to look back on this and think, “Holy shit, that was a boring post.” I’m pretty sure that’s a measure of growth for me.

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