• Karishma Merchant

Thoughts I (and probs you too) have when actually making a career shift

You have passed the “I’m going to think about it” stage, and you are actually sitting in the place where you have the opportunity to take your career in a whole new and exciting direction. No job has been accepted. No income is coming in. It’s just you and your clean whiteboard (because chalk board is old school, and Expo markers are amazing, damnit).

Believe it or not, most of us Millenials have been or will be there during our lifetimes, and it will probably happen multiple times for some of us.

I’m there right now.

Some back story on me:

In May 2014, I graduated from the University of Georgia (Gooo Dawgs!) with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and International Business. I had a job lined up at a consulting firm that fall, an amazing starting salary for being 21, and a sparkle in my eyes. I felt very fortunate because in any economic situation, it can be hard finding a job out of college with minimal experience in business.

But then reality hit. As I entered the workplace and learned about what I was actually going to be doing, I slowly started to see that the consulting job I accepted and the job I was warming a seat up at were totally different! From being on the bench for what seemed like forever to getting my first project at one of the most esteemed companies in the world, I was on a very confusing roller coaster.

While I was getting to meet great people, making connections, and accomplishing work that would look great on my resume, I still felt that I was not reaching my full potential. I became complacent and just felt ‘bleh’. I felt so lazy to apply to other jobs, figure what skills to teach myself, and go through the whole process I did before graduating college. But then it got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out of this if I wanted to get to where I always imagine myself to be in the future.

In March of 2016, I realized that no matter how many soft skills I acquired from my job, if I didn’t have any kind of tech-based skill, I’m obsolete. Obsolete at 23!?!? Oh heck no. I have to master technology. But how?

While Google-ing and stalking my network on LinkedIn to find companies and suggestions on desired skills I should work on, I came across an establishment called General Assembly. I came to find out that they are an education company that specializes in training for in-demand technology, design, and marketing skills. “Hmmm,” I thought, “tech-based bootcamp training that can change your career, huh? Let’s check it out.” So I did.

From literally scouring their website to attending some of their free events and sample classes, I had researched enough to make the decision for what I wanted my career shift to be in.

For those who know me well and also as how I think I am (because your own opinion of yourself matters the most), I could be described with the following adjectives: lively, insightful, practical, genuine, adventurous, sociable, and ambitious for my passion. As I made this evaluation of myself, I came to the conclusion as to what I wanted to pursue as my career…User Experience Design!

This is why:

From what I knew at that point, User Experience Design is all about what kind of experience a user has with a brand via their app, website, product, or service, and if it is a bad experience, how can they fix it? By changing the design of the technology!

Since I decided to pursue a Marketing degree at UGA, I knew that I wanted to interact with people, and I wanted to create solutions that would of course attract more consumers and increase brand affinity. So it seemed to be a great fit for me to get into becoming possibly a User Experience Designer, so I took the leap! I have now happily completed my first week as thinking like a future professional UXer!

As the days have gone by, I am reassured that I made the right decision to pursue learning this career in this direction.

If I can do it, I know for sure that you can too. Get out of the rut, open up your mind, learn something new, and go after what makes you truly happy. Yes material aspects like getting paid enough to survive is super important, but there are always ways you can craft your interests and career path to shape what makes you feel like you are actually living your best life.

Go out there and do what you love!

Check out how my first week as a UXer went! Click here!

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