I think I need a mentor


#1

I’ve previously said that I don’t have any trouble finding mentors along the way but I’ve hit a bit of a drought.

My ‘official’ mentor (given to me when I completed a graduate program) is now my boss…And my other two mentor figures have become two of my closest friends. I love them dearly but they’re too close now to be an objective mentor to me. At least I feel that way.

I moved to a different role 2 weeks ago (same level, same pay, same organization, same floor of the same building) and I’m starting to struggle. Today was very frustrating for me for a number of reasons and I need some help getting back on track.

I don’t know if this was the right place to post this but I’m feeling really lost at the moment.


#2

Sorry to hear that things are getting frustrating with your new role. I do agree that depending on your issues, your boss is not necessarily the best person to be your mentor, and that if you are really close to people it is hard for them to be objective.

I hope that you can find someone to bounce ideas off, and to help out soon! It could be that you are already learning the new way of doing things and just need time to settle in to the change of pattern, but having someone there is always a benefit!

Positive thought for the day: I think that you have a lot of experience and have done amazingly in your current path, give great advice, and I am somewhat in awe of your skills :). You can do it!


#3

Aww thanks Natalie! :slight_smile: I really appreciate that!


#4

Hey Ash,
Sounds frustrating…

Are the issues UX/systems related or do they have more to do with internal politics?


#5

A bit of both I think…

The environment is very different to my last team- don’t get me wrong they are the nicest people ever and I have nothing but respect for them. They’re just not used to having a UX-er in their midst and don’t understand some of my processes. I’m still trying to figure out where I fit.

From an internal politics perspective- I’m someone who has very little time for office politics and I don’t see hierarchical structures as important. I see skills and capabilities- not pay grades. On the overall organizational totem pole I’m a low ranking employee and in my new team I am at the very bottom. I’ve never let this stop me from asking hard questions and taking ownership of work far above my ‘level’. Not everyone I meet agrees with this. People do define me by my level rather than my skill set which I find very disappointing.

Since the original post, things have started to change :slight_smile: I’ve started to find my niche in the team and I’ve been training other staff so they can help me do my work and on friday my boss told me that she’s never learned as much from all her previous bosses as she has from me in less than 2 weeks :slight_smile:

Natalie was right - I just needed time to settle into the new rhythm of things.

I’m getting a lot better at explaining my processes- I’ve got books at my desk that I show people and my close friend/former boss/mentor is only an IM away :slight_smile:


#6

Your post has been very helpful, ASHM. I have also found that the group or team may not understand the process or I’m finding I have to learn more to adapt to what the teams expectations are…sometimes a bit stressful. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Have you found you do much CSS/HTML, Bootstrap, more or less coding than UI/UX visual design?


#7

Thanks Berryred,

I don’t actually know how to code. My skillset is; user research, IA, low fidelity prototyping, usability testing, visual design based. After that all happens, at my organisation, a developer would build from there but I’d still be part of the process just not coding.

My struggles have been around things like explaining why we don’t make assumptions about the user etc. But we’re getting there :slight_smile: They’re learning fast and they’re actually getting something out of the experience :slight_smile:


#8

It sounds like you are being very well utilised and bringing a huge amount of value and experience to the team, which I imagine you’ll find very rewarding! :slight_smile:

I would definitely encourage you to find multiple mentors, regardless of your “drought”, as different people bring different skills and experiences that can help you. I’m in a similar position, and I do in fact have a few folks who I would love to approach to talk about this stuff but haven’t got around to doing so. Unfortunately my hurdle is finding the time (correction: making the time) to re-establish these relationships.

I’ve also been thinking about running a “speed mentoring” night (Luke and I are on the organiser team for UX Melbourne). And partly it would be for selfish reasons (maybe I’ll meet another awesome mentor). But that would take more time to organise. Arrgh!


#9

Ash, I was doing the same. I have been let go from company, given the feedback that there is lack of work and funding, which I know is not the case, but seems they place importance on someone that can code, even if the outcome looks terrible, they feel it is functional. Disappointing. I’m heavily looking to improving my coding skills as I feel this has come up too many times with an expectation to be able to do all.

Thanks so much and I would love to be a part of what becomes of any mentoring here and will be looking into online courses.