I currently work as a UX/UI designer and my boss (a back-end developer) doesn’t trust my decisions and acts as if he needs a Production Artist

I find myself in need of some career advice. I work in a small, purposefully-secluded web development department inside a larger company. Everyone else on the team is a front-end or back-end developer and profess themselves misanthropes who don’t know a lick about design. Yet, when I try to do my job (design customer interactions with the site, address their reported pain points, research better solutions, address business performance issues, just generally make the site easier on the eyes) I’m fought at every turn. I’ll present my boss with research (from data-driven places like http://www.nngroup.com/) have him agree with me, and then overhear him the next day approving fundamental changes a developer wants to make to make it easier to code. I’ve talked to him in private, walked through research articles and google analytic with him but nothing ever changes, no matter how many time he agrees. He also Photoshops my mock-ups and draws (frankly, stupid) wire-frames and expects me to “make them pretty”, getting frustrated when I don’t create “What he had in mind”.

The environment is also toxic. I’ve been yelled and cursed at (My boss only addressed the issue after I got HR involved). Co-workers are hostile to one-another and insult and argue with each other (for fun?). I’ve had co-workers watch videos of people being shot to death on max volume (with racist commentary). On top of that, I am the newest, the youngest, and the only woman in the department.

My question is this: This is my first UX job, a field in which I am quite interested. I have only been there 8 months. Should I stick it out for the “minimum” year or should I move on? My previous jobs were mostly college temp jobs and I don’t want to look like a jumper, but nothing I design actually gets implemented and I can’t put any of my pre-ruined work up from this job because it’s proprietary. What should I do?

Answer

Some push-back from clients is a common frustration for a designer. But there are several things that aren’t normal about this environment:

  • It’s not normal for a company to be run by developers, for developers. Your boss would not normally be a developer, the person making the call about your designers would normally be a project manager or “product owner” whose job is to balance business, marketing, logistical, UI and aesthetics considerations.
  • Every work environment sits somewhere on a scale from cooperative to combative – this sounds like it’s at the extreme end of combative. It sounds like everyone is expected to fight their corner, which suits some people and not others. It also sounds like there’s a cultural bias which means that for designer to flourish there, they’d need to be naturally combative, very thick skinned, and very good at “thinking like a developer” and pitching ideas to a developer.
  • And the “racist murder videos at top volume during work hours” thing… Yeah, that’d be a sackable offense anywhere I’ve worked.

Based on this, I’d say Vicki’s comment has it spot on. Work on your portfolio – and don’t be afraid to include rejected designs. Look for places to work that suit you better – which will be 99% of workplaces.

And before you leave, consider it a “baptism of fire” helping you develop the important designer skill of being thick-skinned and handling tough criticism professionally. Keep basing your designs on user research – 99% of workplaces will value that.

I would say, if you can stick it out until you find something better, do. A few months’ somewhere and you’re still there will be asked about in an interview, but won’t necessarily look bad and will give you an edge over graduates with less experience. A job that only lasted a couple of months will look bad at first – though if your portfolio is good you should still get the chance to explain in an interview.

When explaining, it’s generally not a good idea to badmouth your last employer, even when they’re this bad. For example, even though any reasonable human could understand you walking out of the “racist murder video” office, it’s so extreme it risks eclipsing your skills – you wanted to be remembered as “excellent designs based on user research lady”, not “racist murder video office lady”.

Stick to the positives – you want to work somewhere where user-centered design is valued and where user research is factored into decisions. You want to work in cooperative workplace with high standards of professionalism at all times. For most modern employers, that’ll be exactly what they want to hear.

–,

In the short term, something that often helps with difficult clients is presenting several alternate options, even for simple jobs. This makes it easier for them to give some constructive feedback. It will also be helpful for portfolio building and for improving your skills despite the lack of quality feedback – if your boss isn’t helping you push yourself to create better and better designs, compete with yourself. For each job, come up with a concept, develop it, then try to best it.

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Source : Link , Question Author : Elle Kelsheimer , Answer Author : user56reinstatemonica8

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