Imagine for a moment that life is not a road but a set of bridges leading from one destination to another. Now, envision yourself standing in front of one of these suspension bridges. This particular one symbolizes your career transition to UX Design.
Before you unfolds a journey that, despite its beauties, is filled with uncertainties, obstacles, and intense emotions. Upon closer inspection, you realize that the bridge lacks handrails to offer you safety during your passage. This scenario might seem lonely and daunting, a vivid representation of how we feel when confronting something new and unknown.
However, as you take a deep breath and decide to move forward, something extraordinary begins to happen. Handrails start to materialize beside you, appearing one by one, providing the necessary safety and support for your crossing and career transition.
These handrails are the tangible representation of your support network. They arise to ensure that, even in the face of adversity's winds or moments of introspection and hesitation, you will never be alone. You'll always be reminded that there are those who will support and guide you.
Drawing on the metaphor, the handrails might manifest as family, friends, colleagues, mentors, or even a community united by a common purpose. Each of these elements plays a vital role, guiding you through the challenges of your journey.
In this content, we invite you to understand and reflect on your support network, especially during the challenging time of transitioning into UX Design. If you've ever wondered if there's any backing in your journey that can provide you with determination and confidence, just like the handrails on a bridge crossing, this material is for you.
The Support Network as Our Compass and Pillar
A career change, regardless of its reasons, is a decision that has profound implications not just professionally but also personally. In this scenario, the presence of a support network becomes not just useful, but essential.
But what exactly constitutes this network?
The Intricate Fabric of the Support Network
Being around people who genuinely support and assist you is crucial at various life moments, from a tumultuous relationship breakup to the loss of a loved one.
Science, in its studies on trauma, often recommends group therapies, highlighting the importance of having people by our side to share, discuss, and overcome adversities.
A support network to assist you in transitioning to UX consists of multiple interlinked elements, each playing a vital role in our lives.
This network goes beyond the idea of mere support. It comprises family, friends, coworkers, and other close interpersonal contacts. It also includes institutions and groups with which we have ties, such as schools, religious institutions, health services, and social assistance.
To visualize the strength of a support network, think of a physical net, made of threads and weaves. The more threads and the better woven it is, the more safety it can provide. It's this intricate set of relationships that support and sustain us through various life phases and challenges.
For instance, when a baby arrives, new parents might feel the turbulence and stress of constant care for the newborn. At this juncture, a solid support network, which does more than merely "babysit," becomes an invaluable asset. It offers knowledge, advice, emotional comfort, and sometimes just the chance for some well-deserved rest.
Specifically, considering a career transition—like someone from the finance sector wanting to become an expert in UX and Product Design—the support network takes on an even deeper meaning.
Family can offer emotional sustenance during moments of doubt, friends can provide encouragement and insights from their experiences, mentors can share valuable professional tips, and educators can guide the technical learning. Meanwhile, the professional community can open doors to job opportunities and internships, connecting people to their professional dream.
The support network is essentially the pillar that balances and sustains our lives, acting as a constant support, helping us navigate the often tumultuous seas of change and challenges.
The Multifaceted Support Network in the Transition to UX
As discussed, a support network consists of various elements centered around people. Initially, it's common to assume a support network is limited to close family, but this isn't the case.
In the context of transitioning to UX Design, the following elements form the support network:
- Family: Often, they witness the journey's ups and downs, offering emotional grounding. Their understanding and support can act as a cushion against inevitable challenges. However, it's also vital to recognize that family members might have concerns, and addressing them empathetically and clearly is crucial.
- Friends: The circle of friends acts as an extension of the family. They often play the role of cheerleaders, celebrating minor wins and reminding the individual of the "why" behind the change, especially in moments of doubt.
- Mentors: They are the professional journey's guides. They provide insights into the profession, help avoid common pitfalls, and offer advice based on personal experience. A well-chosen mentor can significantly speed up the transition process.
- Teachers: When switching careers, the need to gain new skills or deepen knowledge in certain areas is pivotal. Teachers bridge this knowledge gap, and training courses or programs can be the key to gaining required expertise.
- Professional Community: Beyond learning, a career transition involves entering a new sector or domain. The professional community gives insight into working in the field, industry nuances, and most importantly, can be a source of opportunities. Active participation in forums, discussion groups, and events can open unexpected doors.
The sum of these elements creates a robust framework allowing the individual not just to navigate but also thrive during the transition. However, it's essential to remember that everyone has a unique network, and what works for one may not suit another. The key is identifying and nurturing these supportive relationships throughout the journey.
Family as the Pillar of the Support Network when transitioning to UX Design
Family, in many contexts, is the fundamental core of our existence and our first point of contact with the world. It shapes our values, beliefs, and aspirations.
It's not surprising, therefore, that when significant changes occur in our lives, such as a career transition, the family plays a pivotal role both as support and, at times, as a challenge.
UX Design for the whole family
If transitioning to UX Design is already a significant career achievement, imagine encouraging your two siblings to follow the same path?
Anderson Borges, a student of our Mastering Interface Design program, became interested in UX Design due to the influence of his brothers, André and Alexandre. But the family provided more than just inspiration; the brothers fully funded Anderson's education as a way to support him.
Furthermore, the support from his wife was also crucial. She managed the household finances during a time when Anderson lost his previous job due to the pandemic. Thanks to this support, Anderson was able to focus entirely on his studies and successfully transition to UX Design.
A warm hug during a challenging time
Erivelton faced a rather complicated situation. Working as an Uber driver during the pandemic, he chose to stop working due to the health risks to his elderly parents.
However, Erivelton had big plans to transition to UX Design, but without his income source, how could he organize himself to achieve his dream career change?
He decided to sit down and be honest with his wife, who welcomed him without hesitation. Drawing from a financial reserve, Erivelton felt supported during this challenging time.
Besides the support from his wife, Erivelton also found a safe haven with his parents, in-laws, and friends. Without a doubt, this support network played a crucial role in Erivelton's success story and his transition to UX Design.
Discover this inspiring story:
However, not all stories are so smooth. Many face resistance, misunderstandings, or even direct criticism from loved ones, making the journey even more challenging.
Common Challenges and Solutions
- Fear and Concern: Behind family resistance often lies fear. The fear of the unknown, of instability, or simply of seeing a loved one struggle. It's essential to recognize this fear and address it with empathy.
- Social and Cultural Expectations: In many cultures, certain careers are highly valued. Deviating from these expectations can cause tensions. In these cases, it's crucial to communicate the passion and reasoning behind the choice and seek to find common ground.
- Clarity: Being transparent about your plans, goals, and the reason for the change is essential. An honest conversation can dispel many misunderstandings.
- Involve the Family: If possible, involve the family in the process. This can be through small tasks, requesting feedback, or simply sharing milestones and successes along the way. When the family feels they are part of the journey, they are more likely to offer support.
- Empathy and Patience: Understand that not everyone might see your vision right away. Being empathetic, listening to their concerns, and addressing them with patience can eventually turn skeptics into supporters.
In summary, while family can be the deepest source of support, they can also present unique challenges. However, with effective communication, empathy, and involvement, it's possible to turn even the most resistant into allies in your career transition journey.
The Family We Choose Along the Way
While the family — in the form of parents, grandparents, and uncles — can be our fundamental rock, often it's our friends, mentors, and educators who offer us valuable external perspectives, advice, and additional support.
These figures can be considered the family we choose throughout our lives and provide us with tools, resources, and insights that can be crucial for our career transition.
Friends as Emotional Support
Our friends know us in a way different from our family. Often, we share with them dreams, aspirations, and fears that we don't discuss with anyone else.
The Importance of Encouragement and Validation: The simple act of a friend saying "I believe in you" can be the push needed for someone to pursue their dream. This validation and encouragement can act as a balm, especially during moments of doubt.
Creating Study or Support Groups: Friends who share similar interests or who are undergoing similar changes can form study or support groups. These groups can be safe spaces to share resources, discuss challenges, and celebrate successes.
A Friend to Lift You Up
Giulia was going through a complex time. With a newborn child and confined at home due to the pandemic, she couldn't establish a perfect routine to study and transition her career to UX Design.
However, a friend and peer from the Mastering Interface Design student community added her to a group with other girls who supported each other, not just in their studies but also with morale boosts and motivation.
Giulia attributes her first opportunity in this field to this friend and the study group and support network she participated in during her journey to transition to UX. Today, she recognizes how important this support was when her energy was low or her insecurity was high.
Learn about the story and journey of our student Giulia Pignati:
Mentors and Teachers as Guides in Transitioning to UX
Unlike friends, mentors and educators have a deep and often practical understanding of the professional field one wishes to enter. They can provide advice, direction, and even opportunities.
The Crucial Role of Mentors: A good mentor doesn't just offer advice but also challenges, instigates reflection, and helps plot clear paths for professional growth. They can provide a realistic view of the industry, point out pitfalls to avoid, and suggest methods for improvement.
Learning from the Experienced: Teachers are the professionals qualified to teach you the concepts, theories, and practical process necessary to transition to UX Design. However, beware of impostors. Good teachers are those with extensive market experience, with years working on projects for major products and companies. These teachers will be the functional elements of your support network in transitioning to UX Design; with them, you'll move forward and cross the bridge towards career transition.
While family is the fundamental pillar of support, friends, mentors, and educators complement that support, each in their way. Combining the family foundation with the expertise and encouragement of this second group, individuals in career transition have a robust network that can maximize their chances of success.
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone
Diego was a designer who was in a comfort zone that prevented him from taking the next step in evolving his career.
Thanks to a process of self-awareness and reflection, Diego began to regain his determination and motivation to achieve his career goals.
More than that, Diego sought help from Aela's mentors and teachers, who supported him in various ways. Felipe, the founder of Aela, provided support and advised Diego on his career planning, offering him peace of mind and direction.
Rick, one of the mentors of the Mastering Interface Design, was the one who made Diego think about the value of his own work when he advised him on how much to charge for a freelance project.
Thanks to the support from highly experienced professionals in the field, Diego not only managed to transition to UX Design but also greatly evolved as a professional in the market.
Networking: Taking the UX Design Support Network to the Next Level
In a world where connections are increasingly facilitated by technology, understanding and mastering the art of networking has never been more critical. These connections not only provide insights but are often the gateway to unexpected and valuable opportunities.
In terms of career transition, a well-built network can be the difference between remaining stagnant or confidently advancing in a new field.
Building Valuable Connections
Networking isn't just about collecting business cards or expanding your contact list on a professional social network. It's about building genuine and mutually beneficial relationships.
The Art of Effective Networking: Successful networking is less about talking and more about listening. It's about understanding the needs of others and seeing where your skills and aspirations can fit. It's a game of give and take.
Networking for the First Opportunity in UX Design
Alyson knows firsthand how essential networking is for a career in UX Design. Even before becoming a student of Mastering Interface Design, Alyson was already attending various entrepreneurship and Design events, enabling him to make contacts with professionals.
The power of networking was instrumental in Alyson getting his first opportunity in UX Design. At Design and entrepreneurship events, Alyson established valuable connections, and thanks to one of those contacts, he was referred for a position at the startup Alfred Delivery.
The familiarity he already had with the CEO, due to their interactions at previous events, facilitated the dialogue during the interview. Although he was at the start of his career and still building his portfolio, the trust generated through his connections was decisive for his hiring.
Check out Alyson's complete story:
Strategies for Effective Networking
- Attending Events and Workshops: Seminars, talks, and workshops are perfect places to meet people with similar interests. Besides learning, it's an opportunity to start conversations, discuss ideas, and possibly discover or create new opportunities.
- Using Digital Platforms: Websites like LinkedIn, Behance for designers, and other industry-specific professional forums are excellent tools for building and maintaining connections. The key is to be active, share insights, comment on relevant posts, and, of course, keep the profile up to date.
Networking, when done with intention and authenticity, can be one of the most powerful tools for those looking to transition careers. Through the right connections, new horizons can open, bringing with them unexpected opportunities that may be the key to a successful transition.
Navigating Without Family Support
Career transition is already a journey filled with challenges and uncertainties. When you add a lack of family support to the equation, these challenges can become even more intense. However, not having the backing of family doesn't mean you're alone on this journey. There are strategies and resources available that can help you navigate this situation with more confidence and determination.
Emotional Challenges and Strategies
A lack of understanding or support from the family can trigger a range of emotions, from doubt and anxiety to loneliness.
Coping with Loneliness and Uncertainty: Feeling isolated in your decision can be disheartening. It's important to recognize these emotions and seek healthy ways to cope with them. Meditation, reflective writing, or even a walk can help clear the mind.
Seek Support Groups and Online Communities: We are not alone in our experiences. There are many support groups and online communities that come together to discuss, share, and support members in career transitions. These platforms can offer the solace of knowing others are or have been in similar situations.
The student community at Aela has an incredible strength to support each other, providing technical, emotional, or motivational assistance for the challenges that may arise during the journey to transition careers.
It's heartening to see how the group sentiment and the desire to strengthen the market and fellow professionals have the capacity to make a difference in the lives of our students.
Maintaining Vision and Resilience
The path may be tougher without family support, but it's not impossible.
The Importance of Revisiting and Adjusting Your Goals: Over time, you might need to reassess your objectives. Perhaps you discover new passions or directions as you progress. Regularly revisit your goals to ensure they align with your vision.
Self-Care and Mental Well-being Strategies: Maintaining a healthy emotional balance is crucial. Whether it's dedicating time to hobbies you love, maintaining a regular exercise routine, meditating, or seeking therapy, it's essential to ensure you're taking care of yourself.
While the lack of family support might seem like an insurmountable mountain, remember that every step you take towards your new career is a step towards your own growth and fulfillment. With the right strategies and mindset, this transition can be not just manageable, but deeply rewarding.
Reading Tip: How To Manage FOMO When Transitioning to UX Design
Dedication: Why Transitioning to UX Requires More than a Support Network
While a support network is a valuable tool in career transition, it is personal dedication that serves as the true engine of this change. It fuels the flame of desire, gives purpose to the journey, and drives the individual to overcome challenges that come their way.
Commitment vs. Desire
There's a striking difference between simply wanting something and being truly committed to achieving it. Wanting can be fleeting, a response to a momentary dissatisfaction or an impulse. However, commitment is a deliberate choice to pursue a goal, regardless of the obstacles.
To illustrate, consider the metaphor of climbing a mountain. Many might look at the peak and wish to be on top, enjoying the view. However, only those truly committed will begin the climb, face adversities, adapt to changing weather, and persist until they reach the summit.
- Setting Clear Goals: Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve provides direction. By setting goals, it becomes easier to measure progress and adjust the course when needed.
- Creating a Study and Development Plan: Career transition often requires acquiring new skills. Developing a structured study and development plan allows for focused and systematic progress.
- Maintaining Consistency and Resilience: Change doesn't happen overnight. There will be days of doubt, setbacks, and challenges. However, consistency in effort and resilience in the face of adversity are key to the longevity and success of the transition.
While the support network provides the necessary structure and encouragement, it is personal dedication that truly moves the needle in the direction of the desired change. They are two sides of the same coin, and both are vital for a successful career transition.
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On our journey through the intricate paths of career transition, it's clear that the journey is neither linear nor free from challenges. If there's one certainty, it's that we will face numerous obstacles on our quest to transition to UX Design.
However, you don't have to go through this journey alone. The role of the support network is precisely to provide the necessary backing to keep motivation alive throughout the journey. Family, friends, mentors, and teachers will offer advice, perspectives, and opportunities to help when you need it.
We hope that you seek to build a solid support network that serves as sturdy handrails for the bridge to UX Design that you are about to cross!