Hacking My Perspective Helped Me Find Work Satisfaction

I was chatting with a close friend recently about our our work lives and she mentioned difficulty finding satisfaction with her work given her lack of control in her work situation. I had come to some realizations about my own sphere of influence and happiness within it, and put together a thread on Twitter.

Here's what I've come to realize about work recently:

My work philosophy has changed over the years, especially recently. I've become a lot more self-assured & clear about what I want to do.

I have had the "Why am I even" crisis many times over the years, prior to all my big moves between private and public.

I decided to change my head because my situation seems to be the same everywhere. It's the nature of the job.

As the business analyst on dev projects or lead UX-er on design, I only have so much control.

I can design the shit out of my projects and they don't get implemented for politics or scope creep or myriad other reasons.

It's like making art. Not everything makes it into a gallery. But that shouldn't stop anyone from making art.

In the end, I can feverishly defend the scope and be angry or I can acknowledge my sphere of influence and excel within it.

So, I'm much happier being really clear about the edges of my sphere and the fights I'll wage to protect those edges.

And the rest, I have decided to let go. Want to meddle with the bigger project? Changing dates? Etc? Uh huh. G'ahead.

I'll just be over here, toiling away, honing my skills, designing the shit out of my stuff and making popcorn.

It's not that I don't care. It's that I care SO MUCH I need to be really defined in how much energy I will expend.

Clear boundaries. Mine. Yours. I'll fight to the death for mine, you do what you want with yours.

It makes my head and my work a much happier place. And FTR, I make LOT of mental popcorn. LOL

It's not a tactic that will work for everyone, but it's done me well and helped my anxiety a ton.

Doesn't mean I'm not passionate (ever talked to me about ANYTHING?) but I manage my stress a lot better than earlier in my career.

The key is you have to do this yourself. It can mean tough convos: You hired me to be a expert in X, so let me run it. You do that.

That's the part where you need a track record and a little ego. Just enough to say, I've got this, trust me, here's proof. Don't meddle.

On my latest project, I said no one messes with the design. It's research-driven, not opinion-based.

Anyone can have an idea but everything gets tested. No exec approvals for interaction or content. That's dumb.

It means I can design user-first for real because we're actually basing it on users, not politics.

That's the one things I'll feverishly defend. The rest, the budget, the dates, etc are defined but

If people start to meddle there, it won't affect the integrity of the design. And that's the edge of my sphere.

Know your boundaries, find the edge of your sphere and then work to defend it. Hone your craft.

You don't have to be in charge to deliver great work. You just have to clearly define which is YOUR work and rock THAT.