Making the Jump

There are many jumps one could make!  The jump to marriage, parenthood, to faith, getting in shape, becoming a vegetarian.  But the jump I’m looking to make is moving from a “doer” role to a “leader” role.  I have a lot of years of work experience under my belt, and design is my arena, my passion, my forte.  User experience design to be exact.  I’ve always thought of UX (and most design jobs) as doer roles, and was content with that idea.  But I’ve had a wake up call and I’m ready to take that leap – and land a “Lead” or “Senior” or “Manager” role.

Some career paths have clear job title progressions, and I suppose UX is no different.  But title might not be the question here, instead it’s more like “how” do I get there?  And maybe you’re wondering why I call this a leap.  In my situation, the job title I seek may not reflect my number of years in the industry because I’ve done some role shifting.  [Sharing some history here…]  About 2 years ago I accepted a lateral move into the Product Management team, and then a year later once again, into a Site Optimization and A/B testing role.  During those periods I pivoted on the UX skills (knowing they are complementary!)  but it meant I spent less time on full blown design – less time actually designing things that could go into a portfolio.

My good friend Andrew tells me “Don’t worry about your marketability!  You have soft skills that naturally come with years of experience.”  Hmmm okay, might be true.  (Hopefully true!)  And maybe it sounds like I’m searching for a job.  You’re definitely onto me.  But I can’t help but feel like I’m going to have to do this the hard way.

I’m left with some questions:

  • I’ve never managed anyone, should I make that my #1 goal next?
  • Are leadership roles more about skillset / experience or if you’ve managed people?
  • Would working at a startup be my solution?  (giggle, no but really)

The next opportunity I land should make this path clearer for me, and moving forward is the only way to figure this out / make it happen.   But I would love your feedback: was there a clear “jump” period for you – did you have unique challenges?

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