You know how kids are playing with a bucket and on top of it there is a lit and holes in a shape of triangle, square or a circle?
So most of my career, I felt like I am trying to stuff a cube into a circle.
In this article I would like to share a story how did I try different shapes (careers) and how did I find out which did fit more and which less (revelations).
It all started with my great-grandfather. (Just kidding)
I will start with a programming career.
One nice evening I had a call from my mom: ”Hey listen you descendant, we will not finance you anymore.”
So I went and did what every university student would do. Watched YouTube videos and distracted myself for the rest of the evening. (I don’t really know. This is how I was solving unpleasant feelings then, so it is possible).
When the situation wasn’t bearable anymore (meaning I needed to eat), I went and find a programming job.
It was my longest position and I found out something: “I don’t want to program.”
How did I find it out?
I almost broke my neck when my head dipped behind a chair, while I was trying to resist falling asleep from the programming, and a big “Crack” noise woke me up.
Do you get it? Programming was trying to break my neck, literally!
Tip: Usually the way you can notice this for yourself is in these moments: Each time an health situation visits you and life questions starts to arise: ”What am I doing here?” you may find answers like this:
Me: “Oh hi society. What are you doing behind the wheel of my life?”
Them: “Well making sure your are a proper person.”
Me: “Oh thanks.”
That’s when I said to myself: ”Enough is enough” and I quit.
Next day, a call from HR person: ”Hey, where are you?”
Me: ”I am home, I quit.” replying confused.
HR: ”Yeah, but we need to do the papers.”
Me: ”Ohh, uhh,”
I felt so ashamed of myself.
Jokes inside, there are parts of programming that I enjoyed like; ideation of an initial code and when it finally worked. It is not like one hundred percent no, no.
On top of that, I felt good when someone came to say “Good job,” and I saw that my work was useful. So thank you part of my life.
After finding out what I don’t wanna do, lets see the next shape.
There was one subject, that I caught myself doing an assignment for, at around 3 am and still enjoying it. Next assignment and I just blasted through it. It was so easy for me to do. The subject was about Usability testing and UX.
It became this thing that I wanted to do, but I couldn’t because of all the other subjects eating all of my time.
I made drastic steps and took all possible subjects about UX, at my university.
Then, the universe came with this situation.
Teacher asking a class: “Just curious is somebody here looking for a UX job?”
Me: “I do”
Universe: ”Here you go.”
I got my first UX job. It was fun.
You know the situation when you are on escalator and slowly moving down. Then you glance a human at the bottom. You see him holding flyers and you start to say to yourself: ”Nonononono, I don’t want any flyers.” But there is nowhere to run. The unpleasant moment of refusing is coming.
This is how I felt, not like on the stairs, but down there when I was doing guerrilla interviews or more spontaneous stuff in UX. Like that person who expose people to unpleasant feelings of refusing. (Well it makes sense when your job is to interact with people).
It wasn’t like super bad, no not at all. It was just draining me emotionally sometimes, too much.
Side note for beginning UX people experiencing the same: People are usually so cool if you ask them. This is this perception flipping moment. However, without practicing the exposure regularly the familiarity feeling tends to fade away.
The thing that I couldn’t get enough was, when I was actually interviewing people. The overwhelming feelings of curiosity each time I asked them a question was something, I was looking forward to.
“I need more of this!”
I was feeling lost in life from all the personal, university and job things together, making me unhappy at New Year’s Eve.
So I went for a walk from Czech Republic to Greece. Because that’s what one tends to do.
First finding: “I like people and sharing stories with them.”
I quite enjoyed the storytelling part.
Once, I received a message stating: “After our talk, I decided to go …” somewhere, a girl wrote me (I don’t recall where exactly).
That was a really powerful moment for me because I thought: “That’s it. That’s what I would like to do; inspire people.”
Second finding: “Meaning is important.”
Once when I was packing the frozen tent in the morning and asking myself: “What the frick am I doing here?” I saw how important it is to know the “Why” behind the journey.
Third finding: “I tend to not finish things.”
I ended up half way through, in Zagreb.
“I can see it so clearly and easily now, just find a meaningful job where you would tell stories,” thinking to myself.
Universe: ”Somebody said clarity and easiness?”
1,5 year, and not even a rejection response from Tesla later;
I was lost again.
(They are probably still missing me at Tesla: ”Its too late, Tesla! This boat has sailed!”)
Then, half a year portfolio building later,
I found out that I like to draw, on top of the storytelling too.
When I was thinking about how to get back into UX (so I can buy rice) and slowly start the things for myself like podcast or whatever, I noticed something. When people wrote me: ”Hey we have an UX positon for you, would you be interested?” on a surface I was like: “Yeah maybe, let me check,” but somewhere deep inside me there was this feeling: “Am I really?”
(Unless I felt anxious of not knowing what to reply, then I just left you stuck in the ‘not yes slash not no Schrodinger universe’. I am sorry HR people.)
Some of you may lose some hair by now. Maybe saying to yourself something like: “You should focus on one thing for a longer time. Not jumping from one to another that fast!”
You know what? Eat a rice you human. What do you think that I am doing? Staying at mom’s house and writing articles about how to receive feedback? (click here to read).
Something valuable: The funny part is that when you look back, it is usually right under your nose the whole time. The talks with people and the ever present silly jokes. Yeah, it is not hard just inquire: “Where do you feel most alive and lose the notion of time?” Then buy a ton of rice and follow it.
I am not saying it should be pleasant and fun all the time. Not at all. It’s more if you notice checking the time each 5 minutes while doing it, then you read articles on “How to not procrastinate,” it is probably not your cup of tea.
Me: “God what are you going to do?”
God: “Oh, maybe another universe.”
Me: “Okay, could you give me a note with a purpose written on it or is it part of the fun?” with a hopeful voice.
God: “It’s part of the fun.” replying with ease.
Me: “Oh, oh, oh” slowly dropping voice with each oh.
It is 2:30 and I decided to exchange my high school photo for more freestyle one and change my bio to “Writer and Illustrator”. Rewrite my summary for one that I can actually laugh at. And strangely after all of it, I feel at ease with all the changes. (Also shaking, it is like 02:51 and I am probably missing some magnesium.)
Do I know it would work? I don’t! Butt, I have this strange feeling of being alive while doing all of it.
I have one pandemic to figure it out.
Bye and I wish everybody circles,
Me imaging myself 3 months from now:
“Well it was a ride, lets change my profile back to UX stuff till I have a rice to eat.” partially laughing voice.
It may be just my 02:42 me talking, but for some people seeing this, I wanna say: ”I am happy with the hexagon!”
Also I am writing it on April the first so I can be like: ”Oh it was just a joke, my LinkedIn summary and all of that. In reality I wanna do the programming.”
Speaking of late night, I wrote an article how not to do it. It is called “Coping with uncertainty” check it out here.)
24 days later update
Also, when I read my article second time after a while, I laugh over the jokes again. It feels like it is worth it. I think I may continue living under parent’s house and write as long as I can.
So for anybody interested in similar ‘story to jokes’ ratio on psychology subjects here is a Facebook page where I share them regularly (almost).
I may share some here on LinkedIn, when I would feel like it’s appropriate.
Rice line: For anyone interested in my writing or illustration in similar fashion well write me a message. We may found a common needs.
Hopefully I would not feel too anxious to reply (I wrote an article what does it mean when someone says “I feel anxious”). I can offer well silly jokes and silly drawings. Okay that sounded unimpressive, butt here we are.
Inspired by life and imagination