Design

6 lessons from an unemployed designer

Translation of “6 Lessons from an Unemployed Designer” by Jessica Fan, a former employee of ZURB. Jessica left her job at the company more than 3 months ago and since then has adhered to 6 principles that she has learned.


I left my job at ZURB 3 months ago. It took me a lot of support from loved ones and faith in myself to do something so crazy – especially since I had no idea what to do next. I was just sure that ZURB was not for me.

I formatted my laptop, collected my sketches, and left. Since then, I have been wandering, keeping in mind the six main lessons that I have learned.

1. Have the courage to communicate with people

lesson-1

When we were little, we were taught not to talk to strangers, but I totally disagree. Come on, go outside, talk to passers-by. Use Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with more people. You will be surprised at how much you can learn from strangers and how their stories can inspire you.

I once wrote to Mark Otto (former ZURB employee and creator of Bootstrap) with a question. After 10 minutes he answered and invited me to lunch. At the same time, I was going to have lunch with another ex-ZURB employee, Connor Sears. We then exchanged a few practical stories. I had the feeling that I had known them for a long time, and this inspired me a lot.

If you want to meet someone – just contact him and invite him. Refuses or ignores – well, at least you tried.

2. Get ahead

lesson-2

In January, I whipped up my business card site and sent the link to Basecamp CEO Jason Fried. Five minutes later, he answered and promised to call back in the week. When you put in enough effort to present yourself, it will definitely pay off.

That site gave me a conversation with a very interesting person. Despite the fact that our cooperation did not work out, I learned a few useful lessons.

3. Learn to accept rejection

lesson-3

Finding a job is like finding a soul mate. You probably don’t want to be in a relationship with someone if that someone doesn’t want the same. So it’s just not yours. So when Stephen Cohen of Palantir told me no, I resigned myself. I believe that the right job at the right company will come at the right time.

Now I just enjoy free food and regular meetings with talented people. And at the end of each day, I realize how much I’ve learned. How other people and teams work, how prices are set, how the development process is going, and much more. But, most importantly, I learn more about myself and what I want.

4. Be yourself and be honest

lesson-4

When you interact with people, be who you are. Talk honestly about your strengths and weaknesses, what you know and what you don’t know, about your own desires and goals. When you open up, people will start to respect you.

Even if it turns out that you are not very suitable for this company, chances are high that due to the openness, they will be ready to provide you with some guidance and resources.

5. Don’t Miss Opportunities

lesson-5

If someone wants to hire you, try working with them. If someone offers you a free course, take it. If someone asks you to make a report on any theme, do it. This does not mean that you need to say yes to everyone, but some of the projects can be helpful.

Even if the project turned out to be a failure, unprofitable, annoying – appreciate the experience that it brought you.

6. Enjoy the moment

lesson-6

Even if you run out of money, nothing comes of it and you don’t want to work, try to enjoy the moment and appreciate what you have. Get distracted, return to a forgotten hobby or find a new one, chat with people.

If I still worked for ZURB, I would never have found the time to communicate with many talented people. Of course, if I hadn’t spent so much blood, sweat and tears in ZURB, I would never have had the opportunity to meet them. So I am very much obliged to this year.

Last but not least, do not forget to share your achievements, best practices and stories.

Translated by: Vasily Fedotovsky



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