NOTE: This was originally published as part of a post-course series of emails for the March 2020 cohort.
These are uncertain times and I will be blunt. Even under the best of circumstances, the UX job market is difficult to navigate. This process will likely do its damnedest to chew you up and spit you out. Even more than usual, you will need to gird yourself for a potentially long and draining process that tests your faith in yourself and the world around you.
I believe you will face the following contradiction in the coming weeks and months: you know quite a lot and have built many skills in which you should feel confident. At the same time, you are barely at the beginning of a journey, and will likely feel that way for another year or two. It’s your job to maintain humility about your current capabilities while also showing confidence in your ability to face new challenges with resilience.
While this won’t be easy, there is a built-in advantage that you have: your classmates. Everyone I know who is successful in their work has a tribe—a cohort of peers and mentors who they rely on for support and whom they are always ready to lend guidance or act as a sounding board. Your classmates are your first tribe. Hold onto them like an adopted family, forgive them their faults, and they will forgive yours. Any competition you feel with them is temporary in the big picture.