Senior Design Systems Designer • Manchester, UK 🐝

Picking my next UX job based off gut feel, plus my favourite reads and writes of November 2022.

Silohuette of a young man looking up at the night sky; a colourful cosmic cloud with many stars.
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

There’s a meme about the absurdity of an 18-year-old picking a subject to study at University, then turning that into a career until they retire—roughly 45 years later. With so little life experience, you might say their choice is no better than gut feel. The thing is, as crazy as it sounds, I’ve just made a big career decision based off gut feel around 12 years later.

And I think you should, too.

To job or not to job

At this point it’s not a secret that I’ve handed in my notice, and brought my 2-day working week experiment to a close. After five months of grinding and hustling, I have a much better idea of the effort needed to make my own living.

It’s not that I’ve lost confidence or hope that I can do it. I know it’s possible. I’m just not gonna rush myself.

Weighing up everything, using a rational brain, it was clearly time to move on and search for a new role. Worst case scenario, my UX portfolio gets updated, and learn what I really want for myself next.

What could go wrong?

An existential crisis (yep, I know how it sounds)

At one point I had 7 different opportunities I was exploring in a week.


For some people and professions that’s not atypical, but I find design and UX takes a lot of energy and preparation. Particularly in the portfolio presentation rounds. In exchange though, I learned a lot more about what I wanted after each session.

The problem I started to find, however, is that I kept applying for jobs and taking more and more interviews. Not all of them would work out, of course, but I kept adding more into the pipeline. I almost became addicted—or perhaps it was a form of FOMO.

This caused me to go into a sort of, existential crisis. Each job offers something completely different: a new team, a new product, some were hybrid, a few were fully remote. Some had a management component and others none at all. A handful were international.

For each and every role I thought a lot about how it’d affect my life. In the morning I envisaged working for an authentic Spanish e-commerce company, whereas in the afternoon I was chatting with a Hungary based Y-combinator startup.

There’s a fantastic video from The School of Life titled “Dating and Existentialism” that explores this topic further. It’s geared at dating, but it’s just as applicable to jobs. In fact, Simon Sinek and Steve Bartlett discussed how jobs are much like relationships in episode 176 of Diary of a CEO.

Anyway… unlike dating, I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. There’s bills to be paid after all.

What do I want (do I really really want)

At one point I was far enough into the final rounds with a few opportunities where I could genuinely see myself being, but I was having a really hard time deciding. I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar at one point.

With a sensible hat on, I wrote up a comparison table. Assessing the salary, any equity, the team size, responsibilities, growth opportunities… even things like the impact of company name on my perceived prestige. In the end, it was so neck and neck I was really struggling.

What’s a girl to do?

No I’m not a girl, but it sounds better than “what’s a boy to do?”

Lifestyle entrepreneurship

One morning, I woke up and got hooked by a LinkedIn post that really got me thinking. Here’s a snippet:

My friend Tom makes $750k a year working 15 hours a week. But most founders would disapprove...

And that’s totally ok.

He’s a lifestyle entrepreneur. And he’s happy.

Seth Radman via LinkedIn

I know, right? What a dream to achieve that. What Seth shared, reminds me that I might do something unsexy, but it could offer a life of financial freedom. For me, I want to build that up bit-by-bit. In the meantime, I had to weigh up which job gets me closer.

“Enjoy the journey”, as they say.

Listening to gut feel

Since a logical approach failed to help me decide, reflecting on my own life experience was all I had left to rely on. What type of work got me into a flow state, what types of teams did I enjoy working in, and what working arrangement suited me best.

For the case of a job search, here’s some prompts I used.

How did I feel when:

  • I saw the original job ad, or heard through a recruiter?
  • I got that first callback?
  • When I met the team?
  • When they progressed me forward?

Even trying something as simple as saying out loud:

“Hi, I’m a Senior UX Designer at …”?

From there, the answer was clear as day. Nothing else could help me decide, except how I felt about it. I used it for my job search, but you could use it anywhere in your life. Even within tech products, you may have data showing your options are all equally valid.

That’s okay.

Take a guess based off your gut, practice being a decision maker, and navigate what comes your way.


Of all the things I anticipated learning as part of my experiment, I never thought I’d spend time honing my ability to listen to my gut. As a rational and logical thinker, it’s uncomfortable, but also empowering at the same time. Giving yourself a quiet space to tap into how you felt about an experience or process, can give you incredible insight you forgot you had.

At the end of the day, I’m the one that has to live with my choices. Assuming all other things are relatively equal, you might have to rely on gut feel, too.

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Let's jump into the November 2022 round-up.

What I’ve been writing ✍️

A bit of a quieter month, but that’s ok.

Fun facts about Figma, and what I wish I knew before getting into UX
Friends of Figma Manchester event recap #4. Join the official group.

What I’ve been… recording? 🎙️

Yep, that’s right. I’m co-hosting The Diary of Design Thinking, season 2 with Simon Hoang 🎉. Season 2 is focused on transparency in the UX field, so keep your eyes peeled in January 2023 for our first episode centred around these themes:

Bait Jobs, Redundancy, and Difficult Stakeholders.

What I’ve been reading 👀

No, you should not be your team’s “shit umbrella” by Design Dept.
How it hurts you and your team.

“I’ll be honest, my early days of leading and managing for meant being a shit umbrella. But that’s a naive way to see things, and there’s consequences to this approach. Design Dept really hit the nail on the head.”

The power of managing stakeholders by Simon Hoang
Ever been pushed back on ideas? Or being told to go back to the drawing board? Here is how to avoid these situations.

Stakeholder management is such a fluffy term. Simon not only covers the pitfalls and struggles of actually doing it, but shares some actionable strategies you can try yourself.

Who are you designing for? by Krisztina Szerovay
How to define your target audience.

One of the most powerful things we can do as designers is make it clear who we’re designing for. The “false consensus effect” is one I’m sure seasoned designers will read and nod their head at… in frustrated agreement.

Last month’s newsletter

In case you missed it, here’s a link to my roundup up October 2022.

Man stood by a lake of water at dusk, staring into the distance.
Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky / Unsplash

Is a 2-day week really that great?
The truth about a 2-day working week, managing a low income, and who should attempt a shorter working week. Plus, Chuck’s recent work.

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