Creating What You Want To Do
SHEROES Mentor Sunandini Basu shares with us the importance of creating the job you want to do and not relying on a mother system or a template that shall make your job easy.
“Early on in my career in UX Design, I was hired as a designer at one of the first startups in north India. It was a small team of incredibly smart creative people, and my first experience of working with non-designers.
These were the days when we didn’t know of the term “startup”, nor did we think we were going to be one. In those early days we had no clear idea what product we would be building, or even how startups worked.
For the first week or so, I wasn’t assigned any work, and I pottered around talking to different people in the team, until I realized that no one had a clue what the designer would be used for.
So, I set about creating my job role. I showed my boss some of my ideas of what we could build, inserted myself into product brainstorms and started whiteboarding the conversations, made quick rough wireframes and high fidelity mockups, visualized user experience ideas overnight and generally made myself into as essential part of the product development process. So much so, that I had to start saying no to more projects and more collaboration, and we eventually hired more designers to build up the team.
Looking back now I realize that unknowingly I had played a role in creating a culture of design in that startup, championed design in the development process, and evangelized the need for design to the product and engineering teams.
Years went by and six years ago, I started working at Adobe as a senior designer. In this organization, There was already a culture of design and collaboration with the other stakeholders, and also a set of expectations every designer had to fulfill; and I followed that list diligently.
Some months ago, I was asked to take on the Design Manager role. Like others of my gender, I hesitated. Could I do it? I had recently become a mother and worried about the work commitments over my family time.
But over those months, that question changed to “Do I want to do it?” and what was “it”, what was that role? Unlike a designer, a Design Manager’s role at Adobe is not that clearly defined.
I looked around at other Design Managers to see what they are doing, and reflected on what I want to do as a design leader. As I grew into the role, I asked questions, observed and learnt from peers, leaders, mentors.
Started getting involved, taking responsibility for my team and their work, jumped in and solved problems, provided backup resources. Identified what needs to be done, whether it’s for the business, for the team or for the company, and gather resources and support to get that done.
Another responsibility that I’ve made my own is to make sure that my designers were matched potential to project and that they stay challenged in the work that they do. That they get the right mentoring which suits their career phase whether it’s from me or someone else.
As earlier I am creating the job that I want to do. Yes it means starting out at from a vulnerable position, and trying new things and making mistakes. But when you have a clear purpose, every failure is a learning experience and a step towards fulfilling your purpose. As they say in the startup world, fail fast and fail often!
M*****she is a great personality .. i have seen her so many times in adobe as we used to share same floor and some common friends ..but we never had a chance to start a conversation . i had always seen her participating in creative things .. always smiling and charming personality .