How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 4

How I became a UX person part 3 or why you don't need a perfect cv to be successful - plus illustration of Mimi in her late thirties

How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 4

Oh wow, already the fourth part! As long as you don’t start writing it down, you feel like you don’t really have anything to tell, but then … 😅

But Yay, today it’s finally time to get to the UX part of the story.

Find parts 1, 2 & 3 here:
👉 How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 1
👉 How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 2
👉 How I Became a UX Person, or Why You Don’t Need a Perfect CV to Be Successful – Part 3

The frustration is growing again

I ended last time with the fact that nothing really changed even after my parental leave. On top of that, I was very unhappy with my salary and every attempt to get a raise failed. There were always excuses, and I didn’t get a single raise in five years! 

In fact, I also felt very insecure in my role – I guess I carried this outwards and therefore did not appear very confident. I worked with almost only male colleagues, who all knew very well what they were doing – or acted as if they would. Since I had taught myself everything, I constantly felt incompetent and thought I would be exposed at any moment. Imposter syndrome – but I wasn’t aware of that at the time.

So I tried to get further training to feel more confident and bring my knowledge up to date. But I failed with that, too. Everything I found was too expensive for my team lead. And I became increasingly frustrated and anxious, and my motivation sank below the basement. And looking back, I also have to say that it’s quite an indictment of this giant corporation. I am sure that all my male colleagues earned significantly more than me. And I am also sure that not all of them had training in this field. I hope the conditions are different there today.

Same company, new job

One day, another restructuring was announced. Apart from many new, influential people in management positions, a particular part of it was the introduction of a product department or product management processes in the company. It was the first time I had come into contact with these topics. And I found it a bit weird and crazy – so far away from how we used to work at the time – but also very exciting.

In a conversation with a colleague from another department, in which I complained about my situation, she told me that she knew the new Head of Product. He was her neighbour. She would introduce me to him. And so, just a few days later, I sat down with this person – who I still count as one of my most valued supervisors and product people – and had him explain what “product” does and the different roles there are. He was very open and helpful in that conversation, and I went home with a list of job responsibilities and knew after a short time that I didn’t want to continue programming. I wanted to do something in UX design in the future.

And again, a few days later, I had a totally relaxed, open and friendly conversation with the future boss of this area. We both knew – I think – from the first moment that it was a good fit. And we parted ways afterwards, so she wanted to talk to my current team leader about my change.

The first steps in UX

Honestly, I don’t remember how long it took, but eventually, I ended up in the team she had built up with purely internal employees. We were a great team, I am still close friends with some of them, and I always think back fondly to that time. Both the Head of Product mentioned above and this team leader have a place in my heart, and I am very grateful to them for the opportunity they gave me. They have made a massive contribution to where I am today.

Of course, everything was quite exciting for me because I was moving into a completely new, unfamiliar territory. We set up a usability lab, conducted usability tests and wrote visual concepts. A milestone, for me personally, was that I researched for a long time so that we could also test on mobile devices. We finally got a swan-hold webcam and a car mobile phone holder to do this. We put both together, and our mobile testing device was ready.

Besides all the new insecurities, I finally had the feeling of having arrived. My input was needed. Finally, it was about the users and not about the advertisers. And vulnerability was also suddenly okay in this team. For the first time, there were more women than men around me. And although I have always enjoyed working with men: the culture and spirit were suddenly completely different. And of course, that’s also because of who my team lead had gathered there.

We were open, warm, and supportive. Almost all of us were new in this field – perhaps that also contributes to the fact that people are more tolerant of each other’s mistakes and dare to say when they can’t do something yet.

An abrupt end

Unfortunately, things did not stay this fairytale-like for long. After just one year, it became apparent that there were discrepancies in the management. And finally, the newly founded structure was dissolved again. No more product management, no more dedicated UX designers. The new people who had been brought in left the company again, and eventually, my team leader also left. Her successor had no idea about UX, and our new tasks could be summarised under the heading “hamster wheel” again. Hence, some of my colleagues also left the company.

I felt increasingly worse about the situation. I have to admit that I usually don’t cope well with changes that come from outside. It often takes me a long time to accept new situations, and sometimes it doesn’t work, meaning I cannot deal with them. Especially not when everything was finally good after a long dry spell.


Well, actually, I had thought that I would finish my story today. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. So if you want to know how I dealt with this new, difficult situation, read the next part (which is coming next week).

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