For around 10 years I've been working non-stop on the graphic design field with its ups and downs. A few jobs, some cities, and three countries later I was exactly where I feared the most I’d end up: in my comfort zone. Then 2020 kicked my butt. The start of the pandemic (or "end of the world" as I like to call it) left me unemployed along with thousands of people.
After a lot of thinking (and some beers) I decided It was time for me to move on from what was my true love for many years, branding, and choose to change career paths to a whole new world for me: UI/UX. A day after I made this bold decision, a friend of mine told me about a job opening at … yes, you guessed right, Maniak. I was in the recruitment process for two months. Meanwhile, I read two books on the subject, took 3 online courses, watched countless youtube videos, and practiced my ass off to make a new portfolio focusing on UI/UX. In those two months I learned what I thought was the very basics of this discipline only to find out, once I got the job, I knew nothing.
Knowing nothing about something could be the best thing that can happen to you because, if you know nothing, you have everything to learn, practice, and develop.
When I think about other disciplines I could have dedicated my life to, or the professions my close friends practice, I kind of see it this way: An accountant doesn't do spreadsheets for a hobby. A doctor doesn't do surgeries just for fun. But if you're a designer, design will be in every aspect of your life. This makes it harder to draw the line where you stop growing and it stops being exciting.
But not everything's black or white. Being in your comfort zone for a while can have its perks: like having time to focus on non-work related stuff, traveling and watching all of the Netflix catalog (jk). But then, when you start looking back at what you could have accomplished professionally, you'll find out you can do so much more. I'm not saying I regret it, but It was time for me to move on. Everything has its balance and its cycle. Exploring other possibilities can lead to wanting to explore even more. It can give you the boost you were looking for. I guess what I'm trying to say is: once you feel you've accomplished a milestone, don't be afraid to set up a new one. No matter how hard the circumstances may seem, or how much you’re feeling behind on new trends or technologies, the human will to learn doesn't age and doesn't get lost. Sometimes it just hides. You just got to remember it is still there.
I've been working in the design world for so long that I no longer practice my job interviews. I no longer get nervous. I remember pretty well on my call with Maniak’s design team, one of the questions was "Why the hell are you changing from working on branding for so long to UI/UX just like that?" Of course they didn't say those exact words but I like to think that's how I'd ask myself that question. The truth is, my answer has been the same for about 12 years, ever since I had to choose a degree to study at university:
Everything we see and use daily has design thinking behind it and I want to be a part of it.
Circumstances may change. I could change design paths a hundred times, but the context for this answer would never change. This time it just shifted paths towards user interface and experience. I spend the majority of most of my days looking at either my phone or computer and every software I use is made not only to look good but to be functional. So now I stand in front of this big new challenge: to think about how other people think and mix that with my visual skills. Find a balance. What I want is to create something good in every aspect. What I needed was an opportunity. If you find both, the only thing missing is the willingness to do it. I guess this applies to any job, goal or challenge you may have in mind. This not only took me out of my comfort zone, it showed me I can go far and maybe even farther in the future.
Transitioning from branding to UI/UX didn't only give a huge twist to my professional life but my personal life as well. I guess I could say I got lucky to find out about the job position at Maniak at the time I did. I got lucky to be chosen to perform this job. I got lucky to be trusted by my team on learning a new skill. The truth is by the end of the day I didn't just get lucky. I worked my ass off. I studied. I made a bunch of decisions and took a bunch of steps that lead me to be where I am now, all driven by the will of growing, learning and being the best I can be; wishing this desire will never burn out.