As designers working in a team with others, we know that a fair chunk of our time will be spent with other people – gathering information, generating ideas and debating problems – in forums like meetings, workshops or sprints.
With that in mind, I always think it’s crazy how we spend so much time learning about our design craft, yet when it comes to learning about how to negotiate the often tricky world of meetings, workshops, sprints or even informal catchups with our colleagues, we are often left firmly in the dark, and having to just ‘learn on the job’.
As ‘creatives’, we’re often thought of as messy or disorganised. There is something about the concept of creativity that intuitively feels weird to bind up with order and structure. A cursory google backs up this idea, with plenty of articles intertwining creativity and disorder like strawberries and cream.
Picture the scene. I’m sitting at my kitchen table at home, trying to unenthusiastically spear a piece of chicken with my fork. I’m mid-impassioned rant to my girlfriend, fork now waving wildly in the air;
“And I didn’t even get a thank you!! Not even a tiny, measly thank you, after all the work I put into that. They just don’t care at all. I can’t take this anymore.”
Rewind a few hours. I had worked like crazy all week to deliver designs for an important presentation. I had poured every ounce of effort into making sure we hit the deadline, suffered through numerous changes as strategies leading up to the presentation shifted, and had one unhappy girlfriend who had been forced into living with a extremely grumpy zombie.
The presentation was now over, and though it had gone well, I was left feeling pretty upset. We’d delivered, well against the odds, a really important, time-intensive piece of work, yet nobody at work took the time to thank us for our efforts. In fact, the converse had happened – our manager had gotten all the credit and didn’t bat an eyelid.
The sad thing is, that I bet most of you can relate to this story. Feeling under-appreciated or not recognised for your efforts by your team, manager or wider company is a common theme that I hear again and again, and that I’ve personally experienced in multiple companies.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught my recent announcement that I had some big personal news!
To recap: after three and a bit years working at the wonderful BBC, I’m stepping down as Creative Director for BBC Weather to embrace a new exciting opportunity to join the team at Facebook.
I have a huge swirl of emotions as I write this. Leaving the BBC, where I’ve been working for over 3 years, is definitely bittersweet. I’ve absolutely loved my time working at the BBC, thanks to the incredible team of people that Colin Burns, Chief Design Officer, has built out.
That’s just not some words. The quality and calibre of UX + design talent that you’ll find at the BBC is absolutely immense, and is paired with a design team culture thats friendly, open, collaborative and always looking to improve. Working with such smart, dedicated and passionate people day in day out has made me a better designer, manager and person.
I’d like to specifically call out Tamar Gur and Steve Gibbons (Heads of UX and Design) for being incredible mentors and role models for me, and the entire Weather team for being a fantastic group of people to work with. You’ve made the last few years a real joy.
The other thing I will really miss about the BBC is the types of projects and challenges that I’ve been privileged to work on. It’s a huge honour to be able to work on such an iconic British institution like BBC Weather. It’s been so exciting to be working in a product space that is so sewn into the fabric of our national identity and that very much affects the lives of millions of people in the UK (and abroad).
But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I’m keen to never get too comfortable in a job role and to continually explore and grow in my skills. And in this case, that meant a complete change.
Beginning this new chapter in my life with Facebook is something I’m very much looking forward to. I know that I’ll be learning and growing exponentially again, and that I’ll be exposed to new situations, people and challenges that I’ll have to get to grips with quickly.
And not only is this any old change, I’ll be joining a hugely exciting team and set of big challenges at Facebook. I was seriously impressed with the depth of ambition, scope of challenge and team culture that I was exposed to during my recruitment process at Facebook and I really can’t wait to get started!
So what does this all mean for I Am Not My Pixels?
A couple of people have asked whether I’ll still be continuing with this blog and updating my social media with behind the scenes looks into the life and practises of a design team. The answer to this is yes of course! In fact, I’m really excited to bring you guys along with me as my design processes and toolkits expand with exposure to a brand new team. So there is lots to look forward to!
Here’s to an exciting 2018! Let the wild ride commence!