This week I gave my notice to the best job I ever had. It’s been around 15 months since I first joined UXPin, but my last day will be on September 2nd. For the following four and a half months, I’ll be traveling all over Asia – a trip I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts, in high school.
Coming to this decision was incredibly difficult. I noticed that people who do these kinds of trips usually hate their jobs. I, on the other hand, quite enjoyed working for UXPin. I have never come across a company that treated its employees so well. I absolutely loved the problem we were trying to solve and the people I was solving it with. I was learning so much from the VP of Product and the CEO, both of whom I consider to be close mentors. With that said, I was faced with the decision of either moving back up to Mountain View for at least another year or going abroad. I picked the latter.
While I’ll explain the details for my trip on another post, I want to take this time to thank everyone at UXPin.
People don’t usually believe me when I tell them I got this job without an interview, or even a phone call. Considering how much time I spent during and immediately after college on interview prep, it’s ironic that I managed to get a job without it. Marcin Treder, the CEO, asked if I wanted to be an intern for the Summer of 2015 after a “brief” exchange on Twitter, of all places. He was looking for someone to mentor and I was looking to get my UX career off the ground. So I remember I packed everything in a small suitcase, quit my current job, and moved up to Silicon Valley on a Sunday. I reported to work that following Monday.
Some of you already know I spent my first 8 months in Silicon Valley living in a “Hacker Hostel” with 7 other dudes crammed into a really small 2-Bed apartment. While that sounds terrible (and I certainly have some stories), I remember back on it fondly. Plus, I was spending 70-80 hours a week at UXPin, simply enamored with this new challenge and grateful for the opportunity. Not many companies allow their Interns to work on real projects right from the start, but thankfully Marcin just let me do my thing. I gave my designs, he critiqued it, and it was live on the website in just a few months. After just 2 months, I was brought on as a full-time employee.
Funny enough, my perception of Poland and Polish people will forever be influenced by my time at UXPin (the company was founded in Poland and the Polish office houses most of the employees). Never have I worked with such an interesting, funny, committed, and talented group of people before. Soon after I was hired full-time, Marcin asked if I wanted to go to Poland. These were the days when we first raised our Series A, so it was an all-expenses-paid trip I simply couldn’t refuse.
And my 3 weeks in Poland was an experience I’ll never forget. The sheer number of pierogis and beets I consumed during that time period will last me a life time. I loved hanging out with my Polish counterparts, constantly taking foosball breaks and weekly basketball games. Hearing Sebastian’s cursing echo throughout the entire room always made for a good laugh. It was a kind of team-family atmosphere that seems like a luxury these days.
UXPin wasn’t perfect. Yes, there were times I was so frustrated that I felt like pulling my hair out. I even interviewed elsewhere (though I’m glad the Nielsen Norman Group didn’t work out). But the stresses of the work vanished through the jokes made in the Marketing Room or just letting Jerry talk about anything. I can say that I enjoyed coming into work every single day. I will miss making light of Ryan’s youth and joking about the endless Ben and Ben puns. I will miss #jerry-quotes. I will miss trying to throw trash into Brian’s bin, only to miss 80% of the time and suffer through his snickering. I will miss bothering Melissa about the smallest HR details. I will miss the 6am meetings with my Polish counterparts. I will miss the Product Team. And I will miss Eat Club and the never-ending snacks.
I have every bit of faith that UXPin will become extremely successful, especially after the hire of Sunita, the VP of Product and a world-class product person. I think I learned quite a lot from both Marcin and Sunita in such a small time frame. I truly wish them, and everyone else at UXPin, nothing but the best.
Thank you always to Marcin for hiring me and believing in me – if I am ever successful in this field, you can take most of the credit. Thank you to Sunita for guiding me on how to think about product and for being a great boss. Thank you to my coworkers for all the laughs.
Thanks for all the memories, I’ll visit soon.
– B. Kim