Before Baby: Software design

It’s time to seriously get back into job searching. I was dabbling in looking for additional career opportunities before Ellie. However, my current work environment is not a healthy place for its employees – let alone women – let alone a new mother. I have known this for years, and I have been casual about starting my own design business and looking for different work. What is different about this time is I truly know my value and what makes me a great fit for a team. No more trying to sell myself as just another software designer.

The software industry is fickle. People are always revolutionizing their particular space; and therefore, job titles are all over the place. I’ve been called an Account Manager, a Project Manager, a Product Champion, a Customer Success Consultant, Sprint Master and a UX Designer. These job titles are really silly because in a company of 13 people, you do a little bit of everything.

I have been endowed by my creator with a gift of cutting through bullshit.

Therefore, let’s focus on what I have done instead of what I have been labeled. My career started in high school and university where I was an enthusiastic “joiner” – every club, every leadership position, every minute of my day filled with something. My energy has always been high, and my enthusiasm is always unmatched. When it comes to my personality type, you point me in a direction, and I’ll show you how I can make that thing get up off the couch and fly around the room.

After college, I worked for a bank as a teller. A pretty basic job, but I was not just content with asking customers if they wanted to open a checking account or apply for a credit card. I made bingo cards for my other tellers to mark when they asked someone about one of our bank’s products. I have always been someone who creates systems and builds scaffolding for others to succeed.

That kind of initiative was rewarded with promotions through the retail banking world and into branch management. In this position I learned so many lessons in managing people. Chase spent many hours of training time and mentorship helping branch managers lead their teams toward their goals. Whether individual and personal achievements or the goals of the branch and district.

Sure, I have been endowed with the ‘gift of gab,’ but I’ve also studied formal leadership training.

I left retail banking because a member of my network poached me for the software company he worked for. At first, I was surprised how different the retail culture is from the office job culture. People in retail work so much harder than anyone at a desk job. In an office, there’s a lot of chatting with co-workers, walking around to get coffee, “well, you can’t be busy all the time” thinking. I am NOT that worker. I am the kind to get in, get my headphones on, and knock tasks out. I want a full page of crossed out To Dos when I’m done with my day.

This kind of work ethic led me to be invited to a space at the leadership table. I have since been made Director of Customer Success and asked to join the leadership team when making “trunk style” decisions for the company. As a member of leadership, I directed the company toward a more customer-focused, human-centered product. I drove design-forward initiatives like defining requirements, drawing potential solutions before coding, and implemented a Sprint schedule for feature releases.

I am proud of the work I have done at Project Insight. I am proud of my team I have built. Before Ellie, I wanted a creative outlet to run my own projects, so I began electric duck designs to work with friends and friends of friends. So many people out there want to build a website, become a YouTube star, go into work for themselves, work on a side hustle. And many of those people want a website, want branding, want a sense of direction of where to start. That’s where the electric duck comes in. We support businesses with collateral, copywriting, branding, market research, website design & creation. We have been able to build sites that market people’s ideas and to train those people on how to keep going. So far, these clients have been able to manage those sites themselves without me – whether a game designer or a retired grandmother.

Along the way, I have dabbled in a podcast, a video blog, a design vocabulary Twitter, a Medium design blog, and now a mommy blog. I’m all over the place, and I used to feel guilty about that. At this point, with my daughter to consider, I hope she chooses to dabble and love every moment of her dabbling. Every one of these experiences as taught me so much about myself and about the kind of career I want to make for myself. It’s just time for me to take all these new lessons to a new role in a new company.

Published by @electrickduckdesigns

Eight days into motherhood, I needed a place to be myself again. Follow me as I grow into this new role.

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