• Philip WeberPhilip Weber, 4 years ago

    I was leading a team of 4 designers. We all got laid off a year ago. It's a complicated story of startup politics. It ended abruptly, and I blamed myself. It was the darkest working experience I've had by far.

    The first thing I did was focus on our now defunct team and the friends we left behind at the company that were still in a bad situation (they all were eventually laid off, too). Is everyone ok? Does anyone need help finding work? Recommendations? Feedback on portfolios? Just venting and making sense of it all?

    Next I found something that I enjoyed that I could throw myself into. Something intentionally useless. Something that wasn't design or career building or money making. Fallout 4 had just come out and I let myself "waste time" with it to my heart's content. I really needed that.

    After that I picked up photography for first time. It opened up an entirely new world of creativity for me to learn about. Unlike interactive design, which I'd been doing for a decade already, I didn't even know the most basic principles, and, maybe more importantly, I could make photographs just for the sake of doing it. They didn't have to solve a problem. I could just enjoy making things.

    Eventually my interest in design came back, but now with more direction, perspective, and sense of purpose.

    13 points
    • , 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Philip. Really great of you to look out for the team.

      While you decided to waste time, did you keep getting thoughts of guilt? That you should be working and not wasting time although it was intentional. If yes, then how did you overcome the guilt ?

      1 point
      • Philip WeberPhilip Weber, 4 years ago (edited 4 years ago )

        The experience ended so abruptly that it was like a speeding car coming to an immediate stop. The design problems I thought I'd spend years working on stopped being my responsibility in an instant.

        I didn't want to jump to the next available design job just to keep busy. After ten years of being a workaholic, I wanted to force myself to take time off and think deeply about the meaning and direction of what I spend my efforts on.

        Doing fun things that felt to my brain like work kept me sane.

        As far as guilt goes, everyone on the team who needed work was able to find it quickly, so I struggled more with self doubt than with guilt.

        1 point