back to HK for 3 months! (Life Updates on Career & Life in General)
I moved to Hong Kong 3 months ago and lots of things have happened since. Reading the blog post I wrote 3 months ago made me realize how much progress I've made just within these few months, especially on my self-esteem. I recently landed a UX Design position and that alone helps a ton. I went from low-key hating myself to thanking myself for all the hard work that I did last year.
(If you want to know more about how I got the job, continue reading.)
A. My UX Design Career
I've grown to be even more passionate about UX Design. I like a lot of things but I rarely commit to any of them. My passion for any given thing usually fades within months. I discovered UX Design in late 2016 and the fact that I became even more passionate about it speaks volume. It really feels like I'm heading to the right direction and I rarely have this feeling.
A New, Exciting Opportunity Emerges
In late May, a software engineer from a local startup reached out to me in an email, suggesting that he was growing his team and really liked my portfolio. We met up for coffee to talk about where I was at: if I was looking for a job, who I am as a designer, where I learnt my design skills, etc. He then brought up this new, exciting UX Design opportunity at his startup.
At first, I was a little hesitant because I wasn't sure what this entailed. The software engineer then arranged two meetings for me to talk to the co-founders of the startup. Not until then did I realize how big of an opportunity it was.
The timing couldn't be better because my contract of my UX Design internship just ended in mid June. After talking to the co-founders I quickly signed the paper.
The UX Internship
I started my UX Design internship at a local design + development agency 3 months ago and it's coming to an end.
As a naturally curious individual, I asked for the feedback from management. To sum up, these are the things I did good and things I need to work on:
- Take more ownership
- Be more proactive in decisions-making
- Being a detailed and proactive thinker
- UI Design components and consistency
- I don't take things off their face values. I ask for the deeper "why"
- I am easy to talk to
- Pick up new concepts quickly
- Eager to learn and listen
- Can draft something up very quickly based on briefs
While I learned a lot from this internship, a part of me feels that I contributed to them a lot more than I took from them. I also felt that I could use a little more system of support. Most people there are very green and are under 25, including one of the founders. I asked one of them to see his thoughts on the team being so young and he believed this could be a good thing. In his view, being young means they are more innovative and experienced teams tend to stay in the status quo. He believes being young and innovative is what clients hire them for. However, he does agree with me that there is a balance to seek.
Overall, the biggest takeaway from this internship is that there is so much more for me learn, especially UI Design. I also learnt as a UX Designer, you're expected to make A LOT of decisions and you better have reasons to back them up. (Message me if you want to know more about more UX & UI Design and what I learnt, design-wise, in my internship.) I am definitely more of a UX Designer rather than a UI Designer, both skill-wise and aptitude-wide.
B. social media
My attitude towards social media also changed. I no longer feel the obligation to create posts. While I still fully intend to land some paid collaborations, it has been a challenge. As such, I stop expecting that because if I were to choose between social media and design, I will choose the latter. And this actually feels like a relief (I will explain below).
In case you don't know, people in Hong Kong call social media influencers "Key Opinion Leaders", or KOLs in short.
I have yet to do any paid collaboration (not just sponsorship) since moving back to Hong Kong. While I was invited to a couple of PR events, those were not paid.
Perhaps it's just that it's very competitive to get paid as an influencer/KOL here, or that companies in Hong Kong don't seem to appreciate influencers as much as companies in Canada.
But I suspect the relatively small e-commerce market in Hong Kong plays a bigger role. I'm not saying it doesn't exist. I'm saying other regions/countries seem to pay more attention to e-commerce than businesses in Hong Kong do.
More Life, Less Curation
To some extents, not having a paid collaboration yet actually feels like a relief. In 2017, I definitely felt the pressure of maintaining a certain image so that I could get more clients or jobs, and I did.
I'll be lying if I say I don't miss that Insta-coin. #timfluencer But since I have yet to do any paid collaboration in HK, I also stop expecting that to happen.
As a result, I no longer feel obligated to post. My relationship with Instagram (sounds dramatic right?) feels very much like 2015 circa, where I simply posted whatever I wanted without any expectations and got a decent amount of attention. And this feels right to me now. It feels easy.
C. Life in general
Perhaps it's the fact that I've been practicing meditation everyday and there's more consistency in my life in general, I've been feeling more grounded. I now have more clarity about what I want to achieve, the short-term goals, and the long term goals.
I feel that the new UX Design opportunity encourages me to be even more motivated to do more side projects to up my design game. I will continue to write on Medium, such as analyzing the design of a digital product, and do the daily UI challenge.
The fact that I have two weeks off between my internship and the new job also means that I have absolutely no excuses to not shoot videos. I've been meaning to do YouTube videos for 4 years and I've yet to do it. This is the time for me to do it.
Plans for canada
While I said before that I intended to go back to Canada next year, there are lots of things that could change that. If I land a really really good job in Hong Kong next year (or get promoted) then perhaps I'd stay. But otherwise, my plan right now is to live and work in Hong Kong for at least a year. Anything that happens after that is not determined. I like to keep my options open.