DEVeloping as an Artist, Creator, Person

Reflection

Ramona Park

Designer

Writing has always been draining for me ever since I submitted my college application essay that was nothing short of 17 years of emotional trauma crammed onto a simple 500-word document. However today, I’m writing with a much lighter heart, as this blog post is one of the final things I’ll be doing before I officially depart DEV, and I’m excited to look back on how much DEV has helped me grow, and share it with you all.

When I first joined HSA, I was shallow-minded, and my expectations of how the company functioned contained in a one-dimensional box. I thought I’d work as a “corporate” designer in a regular 9 to 5, taking on ordinary projects, almost like a math formula. You get a client, chug out what they want, get your pay, and continue about your day. Unlike the creative glorification and freedom of a “side hustle” you’re truly passionate about, a corporate design job functions as something you do to do it.

Or, at least that’s what I thought until it was quickly shown to me how much thought the DEV management puts into connecting with clients and assigning us projects for the term time. It’s not just a formula where you clock in and clock out each day, it’s a collaborative, detailed effort to create a harmonious product between the company and client.

DEV has made work meaningful by continuously teaching me to question the “why.”

Whether it’s the “why” behind your design decisions, or the “why” behind the client’s entire product, we are never left doing work we don’t stand for and care about. In addition, DEV has shown me that we make an effort to work with clients who have a positive “why.” Their products are often their passion projects and dreams that we are helping become a reality, so you get invested in the story and create a product with life.

During my time at DEV, asking myself and being asked “why” not only made my designs more intentional and thus significantly better, but I got to connect with clients on a personal level as well. Listening to their “why” made me care about the project so much so to the point where the level of emotional investment in the app I was designing this summer was scary. If the project and I “DTRed” (“Determined The Relationship”) we’d most definitely be eloping soon or engaged.

Ironically, though, questioning my “why” is what lead to my departure from DEV. Asking “why” so much lead me to be on a non-stop hold on the “1-800-Existential-Crisis” hotline, and I finally realized that my “why” for working for DEV was ingenuine from the start. I was not serious about helping the company grow, rather I was merely just doing what I thought I had to—build my resume, make a few things and leave. Thankfully throughout my time DEV was able to grow on me and change that mentality leading me to produce what I hoped was good work, but I still couldn’t help asking myself:

“Was DEV truly what I really wanted to do? Was it in line with my “why?”

DEV was an irreplaceable experience—the caring senior management who took time out of their own day and funding out of their own pockets to help the team bond remotely, learning about so many different design resources, and everything in between.

Although I have regretted leaving many of the friends I made with both co-workers and clients behind, I think, DEV, if anything has taught me to search for the “why.”

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