• Sridhar Rajendran

Day 22 - Changing my outlook on the perfect job

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

Sometimes we don’t get what we desire and it’s alright

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I have always worked in big MNCs that are market leaders and have existed for decades. I like the stability, the routine and I even enjoy the boring processes. It is just a part of my personality. I do not have a particular affinity for chaos or adrenaline that comes from working in a startup. When I applied for jobs as a UX designer, my dream companies were the behemoths who had established design process and teams. We would play with legos all week and sing songs on Friday afternoon before clocking out early for the weekend. And then there is the reality.

The things I like about the big companies also work against me. Most of them recruited from only top-tier design colleges and hire only designers who had a prior experience. Classic chicken and egg problem. As for the ones the that were not strict on educational qualifications, let’s just say they were way out of my league. I might have the passion and dedication but my skills were not yet refined.

It took me a couple of months and several canned rejection mails each day to accept the harsh reality. My version of the ideal workplace is not within my grasp at the moment. I have read several times that success is not a linear path, so I decided to zig when others zagged. I decided to start applying for startups. I think the Dowager totally gets how I felt.

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AngelList became my favorite job board replacing LinkedIn. Like a schoolboy in love, I never dropped LinkedIn completely but just spent less time on it. UX is a vast field and I was always interested in interaction design. A lot of people do not understand the difference between UX and UI. This was a huge concern for me while applying for jobs, especially at a startup. When resources are scarce, everyone needs to wear multiple hats. I get it but my heart wasn’t in it completely. Damn you, feelings!

Initially, I applied to almost every job posting that typically involved doing UX/UI and being a ninja/unicorn/rockstar designer all at the same time. Writing a cover letter for each one was exhausting. There is only so much enthusiasm you can fake. So I started filtering companies based on the job posting and spent more time on a few selected ones. This strategy gave better results. When I give a damn about what the company does, it shows in my cover letter.

With an updated resume and my strategy of tracking down recruiters through email, I was having a better response from startups. I guess my story of leaving a cushy job and starting at the bottom of the pyramid resonated well with startups. The big companies wish me well and prayed I come to my senses soon.