I came to Seattle a few years ago, completely burnt out on the idea of being a designer.
In fact, when Amazon recruited me, I was freelancing to make ends meet but was saving up to go to med school. I got the call to come in for an interview, and eventually got an offer, and so I took it. I figured that this was going to be my one last shot I would give design, as a profession, before I swore it off completely. I rationalized with myself that I could always quit if I still found it awful or boring. I didn’t know a soul, and I figured that it was half of the fun of coming to a new city. I flew in the night before I was slated to start my job, overslept, and nearly missed my new hire orientation the next day. I think I drove to the office that morning and forgot what parking lot I had parked in, and spent the better part of that evening checking all of the underground parking lots in South Lake Union.
After my first week in Seattle, I knew that I had finally found somewhere that I belonged. Over the course of the next few years, I learned a lot about myself and what it meant to me to be a designer. Each quarter, as I reviewed my professional goals at work, I always made it a point to list out a few personal goals for my own edification. They included things like, “move on from the boyfriend who doesn’t treat me the way I deserve,” “go back to grad school and finish the damn degree,” “solve real problems,” etc.
I’ve spent the better part of three years in Seattle deconstructing my identity and rebuilding it in the image of the person that I thought I’d grow up to be: someone who would put others above herself, someone who would give back more than she took, and someone who prioritized people over artificial/created problems. I can say with a clear conscience that I unabashedly gave myself to my work, my craft, and my tribe.
A lot of people have asked me about what my greatest accomplishment was during my time here. I had launched quite a few products and helped on projects across a lot of different teams. It’s easy to define yourself by the traditional markers of success — what you launched, how much you made, etc — but for me, success is a little different. What I consider my biggest successes are the three people I helped mentor in to new roles and positions. Of all the projects I worked on across all of the different parts of the company, I found that helping these three specific people achieve their goals was singlehandedly the most important thing I could’ve ever done over these past three years.
I leave Seattle knowing that I’ve done my best, in all aspects. I left no stone unturned. I’m looking forward to coming back to what I’ve already dubbed as my forever-home in the near future. Until then…
Looking forward to what’s next!