How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 2

Text on image: how I became a ux person or why you don't need a perfect cv to be successful - part II. Illustration of Mimi in her twenties.

How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 2

For once, this series of articles is not about professional or methodological topics but about me. By telling you my story, I want to encourage you to stand by yourselves and your CVs. You are – we are – exactly right the way we are and where we are. But if you want to change something, it is possible. You can do it because you all have the power within you! 

This is already the second part of my story; you can find the first part here 👉 How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 1

My early twenties

Sorry guys, last time, I ended the story rather abruptly. I hope you are already eagerly awaiting the sequel. Here it is.

Okay, so I went to university and tried my way through pretty much everything that interested me. Especially languages. For example, I studied Turkish and Arabic and deepened my English (including RP training in the language lab). But most of the courses did not help me to choose a major in my studies, which I should have done urgently. Of course, I also virtually devoured all the seminars and courses in phonetics and general linguistics, making detours into neuroscience and speech impediment education. In a lecture on acoustic phonetics – which dealt with linguistic sound waves – I was briefly convinced that I wanted to become a forensic phonetician. Our professor was always raving about a student who had become one.

But in fact, during all this time, it was never apparent to me “how” one really “becomes” something after one’s studies. Meanwhile, my boyfriend was still busy with his IT training, writing small programmes and doing what I thought were all kinds of exciting things. So I spontaneously decided to choose computer science as a minor subject. After all, I could do that too. 

But I must tell you honestly: the computer science courses I attended were a disaster. The participants were absolutely heterogeneous. Some were already professionals, and others didn’t even know where to turn on the computer. It’s self-explanatory that you don’t learn much in such a setting. So I started teaching myself things at home, and my boyfriend gave me tips and supported me.

Dropping out of university

At that time, money was also tight in our relationship, and I needed a job. I could already put together very simple (and not very pretty) websites using HTML. So I thought I could look for an internship in this field. And I was incredibly lucky and found a company that needed an intern. I learned all the basics over the next few weeks from a doctor of physics who had also taught himself everything about HTML and the like (also a career changer and, therefore, a role model to me), and I was hooked straight away. The job was fun; I could immediately take on responsibility for minor projects and learn more than ever.

The internship turned into a part-time job, and a few months later, I decided to join the small company full-time and quit my studies. At that time, I had just finished my intermediate exams. Today that would be a Bachelor’s degree, but the paper from back then is actually “worthless” 🤷🏻‍♀️. The first big break in my CV. But I didn’t care at the time. I was officially a “developer” and had a great job that I enjoyed incredibly much and could develop myself daily. I was proud of myself for finally having a real income, and I was happy with my life.

Bursting of the IT bubble

Until the IT bubble burst two and a half years later, and I lost my job. At a time when the IT sector was no longer promoted in Germany, I was left without a completed education and a job and, for the time being, without prospects and perspectives. I tried to get further training from the employment office, but there were no opportunities in this field then. So I tried a distance learning course in computer science. But once again, I was utterly overwhelmed. This time it was the lack of exchange opportunities and support. There was no online campus at the time, and the material came to me at home in thick scripts. The only thing I learned during that time was that I obviously couldn’t do anything. Yes, honestly, it was a dark and frustrating time.

After a year, my unemployment benefit was also ending, and I urgently needed something new. Through acquaintances, I got a freelance job as a developer. But this was not good for me at all. The responsibility was high – as in the second half of my first job, the pressure was not good for me. I was constantly afraid of making a bad mistake that could lead to data loss or financial disaster for the company. I always felt very alone and unsupported. We didn’t know pair programming or similar concepts. Showing weakness was, of course, a no-go.

So after a year of anxiety and stomach aches, I decided to hang up my developer career (which wasn’t really one) and start all over again. This was the second big break in my CV.

Now for something completely different

I then started a relatively expensive school education to become a photographer (yes, I wanted to do something completely different!). I took on three part-time jobs to finance this and my living expenses. From morning to afternoon, I went to school; in the evenings, I worked at UPS in export, on Saturdays in a second-hand shop and on Sundays, I baked pizzas for a food-delivery service. Of course, I didn’t keep up with this heavy workload for a long time. The first thing I did was quit the pizza job so that I at least had the Sundays to relax. At some point, however, I could no longer afford the school. And in fact, I realised that the photography industry wasn’t suitable for me either. So just before the final semester, I also dropped out of this education. Failed again; those were my thoughts at the time, of course. But nevertheless, the decision took a huge load off my mind and chest.


This was the third big break in my life. Read on in the next part about what happened after that 👉 How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 3.

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