Excerpt from a Convo: New Job, New Challenges
Lisa 1:50 am
Hey Matthew, How are you?
I’ve been at the new job about a month and a half so wanted to give you an update! What a crazy first month. I’ve had virtually no onboarding and just thrown in the deep end to sink or swim. It’s my first agile scrum way of working with standup every morning and 2 week sprints. I’ve risen to the challenge and most weekends I’ve spent upskilling of Jira and Sketch and trying to find out what they are talking about.
I hit a wall straight away with the other UX/UI person who’s been there 4 years. He’s meant to be spending time onboarding me and upskilling me but he’s just thrown me tidbits now and again. I’ve felt like there is an air close to bullying with him slamming many of my comments aggressively and sarcastically in front of the team. A perfect storm as my UX Chapter lead (my boss) has gone on maternity leave for 4 months. The product owner and this ux guy are good friends and I feel like I’m being relegated to the complicated and boring task of converting old sketch files into the design system that has been explained so dreadfully to me.
I did get to do some proper UX work last sprint working with a team of developers and business analyst, and even presented my work a few times with compliments of how collaborative I am and how good it all looked. But since then I’ve been put on dull work and am feeling sidelined.
I’m not sure if it’s just the way big business works. I’m being paid really well so just accept it. It is the real world and no job will be as interesting as what I studied.
Or do you think I should start looking around for another position?
I have made friends with other UX designers in another department who can see my struggles and what I’m dealing with. They are very supportive and have started to give me some of the missing onboarding information which is really helping.
Matthew 6:06 pm
It all sounds amazing actually. Don’t look for another gig—as a hiring manager, I’d want to see you be here for 18 months at least to show that your pivot is “taking.” You’re experiencing the realities of design life with all its ups and downs. It sounds like you’re navigating well and making the most of the opportunity.
To your concerns, three things:
1. Be patient.
2. Don’t take too much shit.
3. Don’t overreact. Play it cool and get it on someone’s radar at the same time.
Aside from addressing your colleague face-to-face (which I always think is the best option), there are many ways to massage the situation. Here’s what I would do. Take it slowly. Making friends is the long-tail solution, but really reaps the most benefit—I think this could happen in time with very little extra effort. It would also be smart to do some light record keeping of experiences in which you feel left out, compromised, or intimidated. No one, regardless of the size of company, should be relegated, especially when their boss is on leave. In addition, it’s important to know your rights and use HR assets as is intended. Especially since your boss is on leave, don’t hesitate to meet with someone who will hear your concerns and give sound advice. Still, official complaints often hurt relationships, not help them, so try to strike a good balance. If this jerk eventually leads to more trouble, you’ll have already started a conversation with HR and they won’t be surprised with the topic.
Lastly, get out of your head a little. Even I can’t avoid truckloads of busy work on occasion, and with your status as new to the company and new to the industry it’s natural to experience a little shit rolling downhill. Don’t let it phase you. Don’t let it bother you. Keep it professional. Keep killing it. You’re only 6 weeks in…just stay calm and focused. Sounds like you’ve found ways to collaborate and build your reputation with other people—keep doing that. That’s what is going to leapfrog you over this little idiot eventually anyway. Oh! And make sure you don’t overwork to compensate for being new or trying to prove yourself. Get out and enjoy your new salary and live life.
I’m glad you’ve found friends in another department. That is always helpful. Congrats again on the new gig. I’m happy you’re doing well!
Lisa 11:52 pm
Absolutely perfect advice yet again Matthew. THANK YOU! Pay is best I’ve ever had!!
I’ve been moved to a new mission already… someone was listening…. I’m excited! xx
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**Special thanks to Lisa Jones for allowing me to publish our conversation from 2021.**