It’s been a little over three months since I joined the crew here at Pixelgrade. Doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it does feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of things since I embraced this path.
Making a career change out of the blue is not easy. You have a lot of things to consider: job security, benefits, workplace vibe, schedule, future tasks, etc. And most of the times it’s hard to fairly weigh all of them because there’s another element that comes into play: comfort.
I would say the hardest part is getting out of your comfort zone and taking the risk.
Because a new job also means a whole new learning curve about the company’s products or services, processes and other quirks. For some, it can even mean ditching some of the things you are good at just because they won’t work in another industry.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you are really good at collaborating with the media and you have great connections with local journalists. All great, but the new company works with customers from all over the world. Bye, bye skills for now. You need to acquire new ones, more relevant for the company you are working at the moment.
I went through all of these feelings and I know the struggle.
It “only” took Oana 2 months of emailing & a face‐to‐face discussion with Vlad & George to get me on board. And the only thing holding me back was that this switch implied going from a comfortable and familiar place and jumping onto something that seemed a lot more fun, engaging and suitable to my professional needs but had a great risk attached to it.
Or so I thought.
These perceived risks are different from person to person. Some might not feel like they have the necessary skills for what’s required, others are scared about how their interaction with current employees or the management will be (what if the boss is rude and unreasonable?).
In most cases, these risks are born from past experiences and assumptions and mine were forged from these exact things. I feared financial stability for me and for the company I was going to join.
Until I realised that this “stability” can disappear from one day to the other, so I shouldn’t base my decision on the false assumption that everything will stay the same if I don’t change anything.
The good thing is that if the people who want you by their side are sharing the same values, principles and vision about how a workplace should be, you will make the switch with open arms.
You won’t feel like you’re going to lose something, but rather see everything as an opportunity to gain new skills and develop your career in areas not possible until now. And I’m glad I finally saw that.
Deciding on what to do wasn’t easy, but now that I’m here and I’ve experienced Pixelgrade for the past months, I can say to anyone who might be struggling in the future that everything is as advertised.
Here’s what I found here and what to expect:
Right from the first discussions they shared their insights with me, from what have they done, what are they working on, how they see my role in the company, how will my skills be put to practice and what things worked and what failed until now. I find it valuable because now I can build on top of that.
Everybody knows what the team is working on, how much sales we got this month, week or day and most important, any suggestion is welcome and everyone can make a direct contribution to the company’s growth.
Even though I am new here, I already feel like I’ve done that by getting involved in product development, pricing strategy, branding, customer support and the list continues. As Oana, my marketing comrade says it, the sky’s the limit.
There’s no fixed working schedule or place from where I can work. The key is to do my job and do it right. In case I’m feeling more productive during the evening, I can do so. Or if I’m trying a new sleeping pattern and I want to start working at 6 am (as Radu does — God knows why) I am free to do so.
So far, I kept my schedule pretty regular because for me it’s best to be at the office when everyone is here — I get to know my teammates, start creating a connection with them and work faster since a 5 min discussion can take three times as much on Slack.
No matter the struggles I’m facing while working, there always is someone who can listen and help overcome them. No one is here to judge.
Oana is constantly extending invitations to one‐on‐one discussions where I can express my mind freely and be sure that someone is aware of what I’m experiencing and is ready to provide solutions.
If I were to sum this in a few words, it would be the human touch. I got it here.
The portfolio of themes is constantly growing and with every idea, iteration, and release, the work keeps going. I don’t think I ever had a day that was just like another.
Yes, overall the activities are in the same area but they have different purposes, are aimed at different products or customer personas and on different channels.
For example, we just launched a new theme, Noto, and now I’m involved in spreading the word about it and at the same time I’m helping gather customer insights, improve our pricing strategy and online presence, writing blog articles (such as this one) and so on. I, for one, don’t get bored, that’s for sure.
It might be a beer at the end of the week to celebrate our wins, a game of Fifa during lunch (although not playing for the last 5 years surely doesn’t help me win) or painting IKEA chairs to convey our personality.
Disconnecting from time to time surely helped me be more productive and creative.
These are just a few things that come into mind, but rest assured that there are a lot of other small things that make this place one of the best I’ve worked in. And after 3 months I am happy to say that getting out of my comfort zone was an excellent choice.
What I wish now is to see more companies embrace this model and focus on what counts: caring about their people and understanding that everyone is different and has their own rhythm. And that being involved, open to challenges and self‐driven is what matters when choosing team members.
We’re looking for a designer with a genuine openness to marketing. If you match this requirement, you should read Ilinca’s personal letter to you. Give it a go. Maybe in three months, you’ll be writing about your experiences here.
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