Another year is almost at its end, and I’m genuinely unsure where all the time this year has gone! Before 2018 disappears completely, I thought it’d be good to look back at some of my highlights from the year, and to talk a little bit about what I see ahead.
Goodbye BBC, Hello Facebook
One of the biggest personal changes this year was parting ways with the BBC after three great years, and moving onto an epic new challenge to join Facebook. As I look back on this decision, a couple of things strike me:
Firstly, I really underestimated the toll of a job change. That shit is hard. You go from being super comfortable with your working life – from the people, to the processes, to your domain of knowledge – to not knowing anything. That shock to your system isn’t just on entry, but it persists for actually quite a long time as you start to build up new relationships, new understandings and new muscles.
At the same time as all this learning, we tend to place a ton of pressure on ourselves that we need to be superstars at our new jobs as soon as the first couple of weeks are done. I know I certainly had this rising feeling that I needed to prove myself and step up immediately.
One of my biggest learnings here was to be kind to myself. To recognise that nobody gets to skip the journey. That everything takes time. To remember to breathe, to celebrate the smallest of wins, and to accept help.
The second thing that hits me is how important this uncomfortableness and new challenges are to your career growth and development.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to move to a new role is because I felt like my skills were stagnating, that I was too comfortable. I’m so thankful I found an opportunity that has meant that I can already really feel how much I’ve grown and learned over the last few months.
Embracing the uncomfortableness has been key to building up a whole new set of muscles and ways of thinking.
A slow, but mighty, year for I Am Not My Pixels
One of the unfortunate side effects of all this learning and growing I’ve been doing in my day job, is that I’ve had much less time to devote to this blog and accompanying Instagram, despite my best intentions 🙁
Despite a lack of content at times, I’ve had an enormous amount of visitors to the blog this year (approximately 60k, compared to 44k in 2017) and I’m taking that as a positive sign that my content is useful and needed. So I’m definitely looking forward to producing more in 2019 🙂 I’m hoping that in the coming year, I’ll be able to focus a lot more on doing that.
Some of my favourite things I’ve shared this year include:
- A guest post from Anja Mayr on how to boost the tried-and-tested Hopes and Fears exercise using Lego!
- My fledgling series on how to organise, attend and facilitate (coming soon!) better meetings.
- My 3 quick thoughts on improving your student portfolio
- Bruno Maag talking about the importance of Execution
- Doing the simple thing first
- The Research Museum
- The User Research Maturity Model, from the peeps at GDS
- Why thicker pens are the best for sketching
- The only right way to take post-its off the block
Shipping a redesigned BBC Weather experience
A big highlight for me in 2018 was seeing the biggest project of my career to date finally go live – the redesign of BBC Weather across responsive web and across the iOS + Android apps, as well as on TV.
This project was an absolute monster, taking over two years to go live, and involving a ton of constraints, screens and teams, as well as a healthy dose of euphoria, frustration, excitement and anticipation.
Working on this project together with an amazing team was a dream come true, and the icing on the cake was seeing people in the wild use our product that we’d put so much time and consideration into.
I’m working on a series of case studies from this project and I’m looking forward to sharing these with you in 2019 so you can get a behind-the-scenes look into what went into this mammoth real-life project.
Onwards to 2019!
I like the idea of picking a word or phrase that encapsulates a theme for your year. If I had to go back and label 2018, I’d say my theme was Growth Through Discomfort. For 2019, I’ve chosen the word Explode.
For me this represents a desire to unleash my powers – both at work and on my side projects, and to wildly accelerate my growth.
I’m so excited about the year to come, and I hope that 2019 brings us all health, happiness, and all the success we deserve 🙂
Happy new year!