Brittany’s story is one that I know many of you will relate to. After getting into the workplace, she realized she had taken the path she thought was right, only to find that her passion for UI/UX design was still present. She made the jump after a few months in a job that was not fulfilling and not giving her any transferable skills and I applaud her for finding that job now - and sharing her journey with us! Brittany and I go way back and actually worked together on a few school organizations at Furman. I always knew she would thrive after school but I am happy to see it come to life now!
Brittany Crawn is a UI/UX Interaction Design Consultant at Accenture Federal Services. Creating unique and captivating digital experiences in the federal landscape in Washington, DC was definitely not on her radar when graduating college, but is the best thing she could ask for. Brittany loves being able to intertwine design, technology, and people, and this is her [current] dream role, but it took a couple of steps backward and forward to get there. After graduating from Furman University, she pursued her Master's in Management and took a role in Raleigh as a Business Analyst. If you need some motivation to switch roles, feel complacent in the role you are in now or need to just hear about a journey overcoming fears and doubts, keep on reading. She walks through her journey to her current role and touches on some key advice she learned along the way.
My Journey to Now
I knew I wasn’t ready for the ‘real world’ after graduating from Furman. I received my BS in Communication Studies and Computer Science but didn’t feel fulfilled-- I wanted to learn more about business, so I attended Wake Forest School of Business and received my MS in Management. Honestly, after taking business courses like Marketing and Data Analytics, I was even more confused about what I wanted to do. I felt like a jack of all trades and a master of none. I knew I still had a passion for UI/UX design but I felt out of touch with it, so honestly, my doubt took over, and I didn’t pursue any jobs with that title. I focused more on marketing and business data roles and accepted an offer as a Business Analyst in Raleigh, NC.
To sum that story up...I hated it. I was about 4 months in, my trainer left--it was all in my hands, and I was considered their SME…..LOL. I was also in a position where all my training was so specific to the company, and I wasn’t learning any transferable skills. I felt like I was being underutilized--there was zero creativity in this role and no way to make an impact. My coworkers even disliked the role, but they were content with their routine. They were making decent pay, could work remote Fridays, and never really had to work overtime, so they didn’t do anything about it. Well...I did. I was scared of what people would say if I left before a year, but I pushed that aside and knew that I was worth more and my future was worth more-- I needed to be solving problems creatively.
I created my portfolio, pushed aside my doubts, and rode with confidence as I applied to design roles. The worst they could say is no. Eventually, I accepted the offer for the role I have now, and moved to DC! And the best thing yet, everyone was proud-- even my previous manager, who I was nervous to tell I was leaving. She said, “Brittany, I knew this role wasn’t challenging or exciting for you, so I’m so happy for you to pursue your passion. They are lucky to have you.” Let that be a lesson here: don’t let your doubts or fears consume you, especially those made-up stories in your head about what people will think. Most people who know you, know your worth and will celebrate you when you are given the opportunity to shine. Now, I’m in my dream role (for now) at 24, and I couldn’t be happier. I get to solve problems creatively, interact with people daily, and use my design and technology skills I honed throughout my education.
My biggest takeaways I want to share with you:
1. Don’t be complacent.
You always hear: “Stay for at least a year, then look for a new role.” Why? If you aren’t learning or growing in your current role, you shouldn’t waste your time or theirs. There shouldn’t be this stigma around changing jobs so early. I’m not saying find a new job every year, but you shouldn’t feel pressured into staying in a role that isn’t helping you progress your career. And maybe you don’t realize you aren’t progressing because it’s so routine-- you’re content and making good money. Well, take a minute and ask yourself these questions:
● Do you feel like you are continuously learning in your role, or is your learning stagnant?
● Are you able to make an impact beyond your role/team at the company?
● Are you fulfilled? Do you check all your boxes? (i.e. creativity, problem-solving, coding, data analysis, people interaction, etc)
● Is there anything missing in your day-to-day?
● Why are you still in this role? For the enjoyment of it? The money? The convenience? The people?
Reflect on your answers. Do any stand out to you? If you realize that you are no longer learning in your role, you have no opportunities to make an impact at the company, and/or you aren’t fulfilled, then maybe it’s time to have a reality check and figure out what you really want to be doing to keep yourself moving forward.
2. Don’t let your doubts and fears stop you from pursuing a passion or making a change.
If you resonate with being complacent or just know you want to make a change, don’t be scared! Seriously, I had so many doubts: that my portfolio wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have enough design experience, my manager and team would be mad I was leaving them behind so soon, etc. You know what? All of those were so wrong, it was laughable. We tend to create these stories based on fear in our heads and hold on to them as if they were true, but all they do hold us back. I don’t have much to say here except, just let them go. The worst that can happen is someone can say no. And what’s that? That’s maybe a couple of tears, but really it’s just a push in another direction. If you know in your heart it is time to pursue a passion, switch jobs, leave a company, etc, then do it, and do it with confidence.
3. Walk, run, ride, sprint, etc. with confidence.
Now you’ve set aside your doubts and fears, so you can move forward with confidence. You really need to be okay with hearing ‘no’ and SAYING ‘no’ from here on out. Know your worth, speak your worth, and be ready for what’s to come. Be confident in yourself, so when you do hear ‘no,’ you know that it means what you’re meant to do is still on its way. Be confident that you’re an adult now...literally no longer a kid or a student, you’re a freaking adult who can choose their own path to live, and that’s what you’re doing. [Side note: ‘Choose’ is actually my word of the year-- every second, you are actively choosing to do something over something else. Choose wisely.] Be confident in your talents and your passions, and with some hard work (and patience), you will find a role where you can not just talk about them, but immerse yourself in them daily, and everyone around you will be so proud.
4. Your people are your biggest cheerleaders.
This goes along with all of the above. Don’t be doubtful, be confident, and your people will cheer you on! Those crazy stories you make up about your friends or coworkers or managers being mad or disappointed usually are just that: crazy stories. I know I can’t speak for all people in your life, but most of them will celebrate you and your successes, even if it’s a big or unexpected change. Definitely lean on your people when you are pursuing something new, and have confidence when sharing that news, don’t be regretful or apologetic. You are making the choice to grow professionally and personally, and you should be proud and excited, and so should your people. Lean on them, and let them celebrate you!
Connect with the Author here: Brittany Crawn