It is 12:49am on Tuesday morning. 90 minutes ago I returned from my first night of work at a local warehouse. How much do I want to talk about it?
I’ve missed blogging a bit. Perhaps because my sister has started one. Or maybe I just need to vent. Tell my story. Here’s kind of what’s been going on the last 18 months if you don’t know me.
Quitting the Last Warehouse Job
For almost seven years I worked at the 3M Distribution Center here in DeKalb, IL. When I quit the job before that I said, “No more warehouses, no more third shift,” but then my mom got sick and I took the first job that was available. These things happen.
So I climbed the ladder a bit, moved buildings a few times, picked up more skills. I don’t know if the organization changed all that much or if I just imagined it did. It was a confluence of events that made me decide I didn’t want to be there and that just maybe I wasn’t too old for one more career change. So I decided to take a stab at UX product design. Check out my UX portfolio at jmortonux.com if haven’t already.
Leaps of Faith Are Scary
Everyone gets complacent and comfortable and I’m not much different, but I guess just different enough to do something about it. I quit the job, took out a loan, and attended a UX bootcamp online. I did a lot of research before to determine that this was a course of action that was actually working for people. One of the things that made me feel better about this concept was the fact that the bootcamp offered a money back guarantee if you didn’t have a job in UX within 6-months. But it was still scary. And there was a voice in the back of my head that said, “What if this is like the time you got your real estate license right before the bubble burst?”
6, 12, 18 months Later…
It turns out, it’s a lot like that. My completion of the bootcamp took longer than expected. Around the time I finished, something like 200,000 people were laid off in tech. Also, it turns out that the tuition reimbursement is damn near impossible to claim. I have lots of thoughts on this business model now, but this is not the time for it. Along the way I’ve had some odd jobs and freelance projects, but I got to a point where the money was nearly gone. And so, once again, I’m walking through the doors of a warehouse to clock in every day.
I’m going to keep looking for full-time UX work, but it is Q4 and that is going to be challenging. Some other things I’m doing to occupy my time:
UX Job Seeker’s Huddle: This is kind of a support group for other job seekers. I’ve hosted it pretty regularly since March. I think I’m going to switch to an every other week model, but it’s a great way to meet people and learn from one another’s experiences. It also helps keep me motivated and accountable.
Screen Printing: For 9 years I have wrestled with different visual designs for The Love Poem and I have finally printed a small production run. Right now I’m looking at my options for various online storefronts. I’m leaning towards Big Cartel. It’s affordable, has good features, and doesn’t take a cut of your sales. The biggest downside appears to be SEO. I’m hoping to have that all online soon.
LinkedIn Workshops: One of the things I learned early on in UX education was how important networking was going to be, and that scared the hell out of me. However, at some point I just made myself go for it and I have a pretty respectable footprint on LinkedIn (for someone who isn’t actively trying to be an influencer). My goal is to host a workshop helping people level up their LinkedIn presence through low effort engagement and profile optimization.
I feel like that’s enough for now. I’ve got to go to bed so that I can do a little bit of job searching and whatever tomorrow before another
day night of warehouse work.