Murphy Update: HPE UX Research Internship

The Intercoastals family, April 2019.

The Intercoastals family, April 2019.

It was around this time in 2016 that I had a crazy idea: what if I had a different career? The signs were all there. I was respected at work, was busy most of the time, paid well, and yet, nonetheless adrift in life. I wrote an extensive piece on this experience a few weeks back, which you can read here. Today, however, we’re not going to talk about what prompted me to change my life. Instead, we’re going to talk – briefly – about what it looks like to have a risk pay off - including what it can cost.

In May of 2016, I was discovering for the first time the world of design, user experience, Gestalt theory, usability testing, and everything else that followed. I knew nothing about what I was looking at. I knew nothing about how to “become” a designer. I didn’t even know what UX was, properly, let alone that there was something called UX Research. All I knew was that I’d found a field and a career that spoke to my creative energies, and I felt hopeful. I’m proud to report that as of last Friday, I’ve received and accepted an offer to be Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s UX Research intern for the summer of 2019. That’s a journey of three years - and I had help.

To say this is an honor, that this is humbling, that I’m excited about it – all of those phrases fall short of how I actually feel. The internship hunt was, in a word, demoralizing. I’ll write about that more extensively at a later date (probably next fall), but for now let’s just say it was incredibly difficult. It forced me to reinvent myself – not once, not twice, but several times. It was difficult for my peers, who were on their own journeys. It was difficult for my family, who had to deal with me getting up early, going to bed late, working on seven-day design challenges, doing back to back video interviews, portfolio critiques, and so on. I’m grateful for the experience the internship hunt provided me. I’d be lying if I said it was fun.

The point of all this is simple: redefining yourself, changing career tracks, upending your life, and chasing a dream is hard. It’s arduous. It’s scary. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. I’ve got one year left at IU after this summer, during which time I hope to grow my research reputation, better visualize and articulate my “brand” as a designer/researcher. It’s probably my last year of school, at least for a while. There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in that.

The HPE UX Research internship is set to start on May 20th in Fort Collins, Colorado. Therefore, Amanda, Gus, Whimsy and I will be heading out west in Mid-May. We could not physically be more excited to travel to such a beautiful state. In the meantime, Amanda will continue working on her own certification from the Flatiron School, and Gus will continue to grow and shine. Our life, it seems, it knitting itself into the tapestry we hoped for, three years ago when we set out on this journey. Let the hiking commence!

-R