Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

I came across a beautiful thread by Julie Zhuo focused on the differences between cultures when it comes to career aspirations.

It got me thinking, sometimes the response when people are asked about their career goals isn’t culturally driven, it’s life circumstance driven. As a single mom in my 20’s when someone asked me what my 5-year plan was, my immediate, truthful internal response was, “to survive”.

At that time in my life, finishing my degree, working 2 part-time jobs, and caring for my toddler while fighting to make ends meet encompassed the only things that fit on my plate. Did I expect the rest of my life to be the same? No. Is looking forward to your brighter future a healthy, helpful thing to do? Absolutely. But sometimes, you need to take a step back, because looking that far into the future can make you feel like you’ll never survive your current situation long enough to get there. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” wasn’t a question that I could even wrap my head around at that point. …


I never create New Year’s resolutions. Instead I focus on revelations I’ve uncovered about myself and what’s most important to me vs. things that aren’t adding value and joy to my life.

2020 Revelations

  1. Leaving my phone on the night stand and not touching it until after I’ve had my coffee makes for a significantly better start to the day.
  2. Being forced to slow down made me realize that rushing around trying to pack a million things into each day doesn’t add joy or happiness to my life, it creates stress.
  3. I really need to improve focusing on self care and taking time to do things I enjoy. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Two years ago I wrote a blog post about my daughter having her first ever epileptic seizure. Prior to that terrifying experience, I hadn’t truly understood what standing by completely helpless as your child turns blue could possibly feel like.

Once the convulsing is over, you’d think that would mean the worst part is behind you. But for parents of epileptic kids, the worst part is what follows.

My daughter is taking 3 AP classes. It’s her senior year, and she’s kicking ass with top grades in AP Calc, AP Chem and AP Psych.

Her neurologist decided to wean her off her seizure meds last month because she hadn’t had a single seizure in two years. She thought that it may have been a one and done, and felt that shifting off the medication would be beneficial. …


A robot playing a keyboard
A robot playing a keyboard

Creative inspiration can stem from anything in the universe. Some people are inspired by the texture of an orange peel, a shadow through a slatted window, 17th century architecture, remnants of a dream, the flecks of color in a partner’s eye — the source of material is limitless.

The design industry is massive. There are subcategories distributed across digital and physical products. Architectural design, home interior design, industrial organizational design, graphic design, interaction design, animation design, product design — the list goes on.

Every area of design, though very different, has a common thread. They all impact the person using or viewing the design on both a conscious and subconscious level. …


A series of vibrantly colored graphics from InVision that all contain the text “Shape The Future” in a variety of designs.
A series of vibrantly colored graphics from InVision that all contain the text “Shape The Future” in a variety of designs.
Credit: InVision

It’s been six months in a global pandemic during which we’ve also experienced civil unrest, the all-too-real effects of climate change, and an unprecedented economic downturn. Living through this time period has understandably left many feeling like their lives are completely out of control. So let’s talk about something that IS within our control.

As designers, engineers, UX professionals, and product team members, we have the power to use our skillsets to change the world right from our living rooms. Right now, at this very moment, people across the nation are deciding who to vote for in November’s election. This is not just a U.S. citizen-focused event. …


I’m 5 years into my fully remote work life, and there are 3 budget friendly items that I couldn’t live without.

Ring Light

Cost: $26

I am not a YouTube star, I didn’t need a monstrously huge ring light, I just needed something that kept me from looking like I was in witness protection during Zoom calls. This little guy does the job. It clamps to your desk, and can either be powered by plugging the USB into your laptop, or you can plug it in to the wall. It’s only 6 inches and can be positioned in any direction. …


Photo of a path lined with fall beautiful bright colored leaves, cutting through a wooded area.
Photo of a path lined with fall beautiful bright colored leaves, cutting through a wooded area.
Photo by John Mccann on Unsplash

The last few months have, let’s be honest, been a dumpster fire on pretty much every level.

The economy crashed and recovered and is teetering on the edge again. Friends and family members have lost their jobs, and some their homes.

People who were living comfortably, pay check to pay check, are now in line at food banks, trying to feed their families.

The world is on fire. Social injustices are getting the air time they SHOULD have gotten for the last 200 years, because people are at home and have time to actually deeply think about how terrible we’ve let things become. …


A woman with black hair sitting at a table holding her hand against her head looking stressed, reflected in a window.
A woman with black hair sitting at a table holding her hand against her head looking stressed, reflected in a window.
Photo by Arif Riyanto on Unsplash

I was chatting with a friend tonight, checking in to see how he is doing during all of the current goings on. He’s one of the most kind hearted, empathetic people I’ve ever met.

I’ve had managers in the past tell me that my level of empathy for customers is a benefit to the business, but that they worry that I may take my work home with me and continuously brainstorm solutions to problems without stopping. (They’re right.)

Empathy can be a beautiful super power. For those in the design and UX fields it’s especially impactful—you genuinely feel what your customers and clients feel, and it allows you to craft exceptional experiences as a result. …


Photo of a fist wearing a ring that says, “I am badass.”
Photo of a fist wearing a ring that says, “I am badass.”
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Why is accepting compliments so difficult?

I was in a 1:1 with my mentor Stephen Gates this afternoon, and he complimented my work on a recent project. I immediately deflected and launched into a compliment about a project that HE is working on and mentioned how many more people he was impacting at once. He rolled his eyes and said, “It’s not a competition!”

Twenty minutes later he complimented another project result and I immediately changed the subject.

He called me out and said, “In the years we’ve known each other I don’t think you’ve ever just accepted a compliment. You deflect or return one or change the subject every single time. …


A person wearing a hoodie in a shadow, standing on a boardwalk at night.
A person wearing a hoodie in a shadow, standing on a boardwalk at night.
Photo by Paul Garaizar on Unsplash

I had an amazing conversation with some incredible tech industry professionals this morning during a “Career Conversations: Combating Imposter Syndrome” InVision event I hosted. So many exceptionally talented people have been laid off in the past several months due to the pandemic. It’s absolutely heart breaking.

I read a story this afternoon, and it got me thinking. Going with your gut instinct can be important in so many situations, including those concerning your career.

My Friend’s Dog Hates Murderers

A friend I used to work with had the most gentle, sweet dog on earth. He took her for a walk one night and she happily greeted the few passersby that they came across. Then all of a sudden, she completely lost it, teeth barred, snapping like a hungry wolf at a guy who got close to them going the opposite direction. My friend was obviously mortified because she had never EVER done anything like that before. He started apologizing profusely, holding her back with force, and then really looked at the guy. He said he got this creeping feeling down his spine, and loosened his grip on her a little so there was a bit more distance between them. …

About

Jennifer Aldrich

UX Blogger ~ Product Designer ~ Sr Mgr of Design Community Partnerships @InVisionApp Opinions are my own ❤ (© 2014–2019 Jennifer Aldrich)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store