Professional crossroads

I am somewhat at a professional crossroads currently, and I don’t particularly know how to approach it.  Actually, I do know how to approach it, it’s just unfortunately I’m realizing that so few out there seem to be able to understand much less comprehend the choices that I’m willing to make in order to change my career path, which leads me to wonder if I’m really that unorthodox in my approach, or if the world around me is too inside the box thinking.

Basically, I am a graphic designer with 20 years of experience in graphic design.  But I’ve grown unhappy with the direction of my general career, and am seeking to pivot my career, preferably into user experience.  However, in spite of the course that I have recently completed where I think I did a pretty good job based on feedback and reception, I have zero years of experience in UX.

In my mind, the most logical thing to do is to try to get in on the ground level of wherever would hire me as in a UX role, and prove my worth and work my way up, and re-build a career in a different discipline.  Frankly, this would be the normal course path of trying to switch to any job outside of what I’ve been doing over the last 20 years, regardless of if it were UX or going into construction or working at a restaurant.

However, there are large camps of people out there whom I speak with that basically make me feel like I’m crazy to be willing to walk away from a managerial position and going into an entry-level position, regardless of the difference in growth potential as well as just career potential in general.  And it’s these conversations that make me feel kind of sad but mostly frustrated and disappointed at the things that I hear, and gives me more reluctance than I should logically feel about the choices that I’m willing to make.

I tell people often that I’ve left a job that paid well and had a great commute, simply because I was miserable at it.  The company hierarchy sucked, and people were playing professional games, and job titles dictated on whether you were right or wrong.  I left the company and went to where I’m currently at, in spite of lower pay and a shitty commute, because I was pursuing sanity and happiness, and I have zero regrets on making that move.

I’m kind of in the same boat all over again, but the difference is that I’m currently in a managerial role, and I’ve been speaking with more people, on account of the delicate circumstances in which I’m working in, and as a result, running into more resistance and questions rather than support and empathy for the simple fact that I’m miserable with my current job, and am wanting to make a change.

When the day is over, I’m going to do whatever I want to do, but my concerns are that the roles and places I apply to in the future, the people that make the hiring decisions, will also be hung up on the narrative that I’m a manager wanting to walk away from management to go into something entry level and then assume some bullshit conclusion and pass on me.

Frankly, I have a hard time understanding what is so hard to comprehend about sometimes needing to go backward in order to move ahead in careers and life in general, and it’s because so many square pegs like this exist in the world that really makes me feel like traversing these professional crossroads is going to be way more difficult than it really should be.

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