Closing a Chapter and a Lesson on Complacency

Being complacent is kind of like a video game with only side quests. You’re still leveling up, but you’re not actually getting anywhere.

I’ve always had one big fear in life

In 2017, I quit my job and dropped out of college to pursue a career in web development. While my decision to attend a code bootcamp left me financially unstable (like, living off of credit cards unstable), it wasn’t the uncertainty that scared me. Instead, I feared what would have happened if I continued down a path that I knew wasn’t meant for me–and to be okay with it.

Since my graduation from bootcamp, I’ve had opportunities that I could have only dreamed of back then. From live-streaming with Adobe to traveling to different tech conferences and becoming a part of the community—I’ve learned more in the past three years than I could have ever hoped.

So, I’ve lived these past few years with the mentality to be embrace change and new beginnings. But, what happens when you’re not sure if you’re complacent or impatient?

The Chapter of MindTouch

A huge part of that growth came from being part of the team at MindTouch—my first company job out of bootcamp. I remember touring MindTouch while I was still in bootcamp, and I left that day thinking that one day—maybe if I work really hard—I’d get the opportunity to work there, or somewhere similar.

In fact, I sat right there in that blue chair on the right when I first started the dream. The workplace and energy were infectious, and all I wanted was to be a part of it.

To make a long story short, I ended up being offered a position not too long after I graduated! The tale of being interviewed for a developer position vs. being hired on as a designer is a story for another time.

Over the years at MindTouch, I’ve grown in visual design and recently made the switch to the Product team to pursue Product Design.

Visual Design -> Product Design

Product design taught me a lot about myself and what I want in a career. While I enjoyed the new challenges, I began to realize that I was only getting to visually design maybe 10% of the time. Granted, I knew this when I accepted the position. I thought that it would be good for me to specialize in the business and research side of design. Though, as the months waned on, I realized that I felt stagnant because I was no longer growing in the direction that I wanted to.

I was learning, growing, and I had the privilege of being employed during the pandemic—what was there to complain about? I felt guilty for longing for something else. How could I be so selfish as to want to leave only to work on projects that I’m genuinely passionate about?

I started taking on more side projects outside of work to fill that void. But, eight months later, I still had the same feeling of being stuck. So, I knew something had to change.

Complacency isn’t always easy to see

Being complacent is kind of like a video game with only side quests. You’re still leveling up, but you’re not actually getting anywhere.

That’s exactly what was happening to me—I guess I just really enjoyed grinding for a while. MindTouch had given me the opportunity to sharpen my skills and grow in the direction that I needed (and wanted to) since my employment began. And these skills were 100% needed to open the next door. So grinding isn’t all that bad.

Being young in my career, I realized that I may be limiting myself in the long run if I stayed longer. Loyalty and perseverance are important in your career; so this isn’t me advising to jump around a lot. But knowing when to recognize that it’s time to grow and explore is pivotal.

Here are some questions that I asked myself when making the decision:

  1. Is what you’re looking for something that your current company can provide?

  2. How would the decision to leave help you be closer to where you want to be in 3-5 years?

  3. Is the other company better aligned with your goals, values, and beliefs? Will this help you work towards the person you want to be?

  4. Let’s fast forward 50 years. How would you tell this part of your story? Would you be proud to tell it?

  5. What’s the worst-case scenario of staying vs leaving? Which of the two is actually worse?

Saying goodbye is always hard. And taking the necessary steps to get there is challenging. Though, I’m proud to say that I’ve now gathered the strength and courage to open the next door.

So what’s next?

So glad you asked. Next up, I’ll be joining the wonderful team at Webstacks as their UI/UX Designer! Here, I’ll get to design specifically for the web, which is where my heart is. Tomorrow’s my first day, so I don’t have much for you yet. So stay tuned.

Thanks for kicking it with me, and if you’re in a similar position of hesitance, my DMs are always open!