This is a skill that I’ve used in nearly every job I’ve ever had.
It’s paid off both in UX and in life.
This is unconventional, but I thought about it one night as I was falling asleep. I’m proud of myself for following my gut throughout my career and as I get further along I realize more of the themes, I didn’t know when I first started. One of the themes is listening to people. Here’s a list of the projects from old to new that required me to listen.
(PALS) Peer Assistance and Leadership:
In high school, I was part of a select group of students who mentored elementary and middle schoolers and went to an old age home weekly. I spent time listening to the struggles of students' home life, friendships, and school work.
Campus Marketing Representative for Universal:
Listening to audiences' comments during movie sneak peeks.
Community Advisor at Texas Tech:
Listening to my residence's ups and downs of entering college.
Red Raider Orientation Counselor at Texas Tech:
Listening to incoming students and helping them narrow down choices on majors.
Co-Producer/Cinematographer for CSP:
Listening to surrogates telling their stories about their experiences and sharing it with potential surrogates.
Interaction Designer at Ply:
Listening to clients and users.
UX Instructor at GA:
Listening to students go through a career change, make presentations, work in groups, and reflect about their identities.
Senior Product Designer:
Listening to my co-workers, clients, and users.
Listening to people talk about their relationship history all the way back into their childhood experiences.
Listening to what my clients need.
I managed a team of 4 and spent a lot of time in 1 on 1s listening and coaching my team. I also tried to create space for the more introverted individuals to participate and be heard in group settings.
I’m not sure if this activity was fruitless, or if it was more for my own understanding, but that’s 15+ years of professional listening that I can write down on paper. I think if we all learned to listen more, we would all learn more, and the world would be a more peaceful place.