Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA and Volunteering

This months UXPA event was a career fair. Held in the Ticketmaster offices, about 20 companies looking for UX designers and researchers filled the kitchen area, while downstairs CV and portfolio workshops were being held by Futureheads and Zebra People and Sam from General Assembly gave a talk on 'Hacks to getting hired'.

Although I am not looking for a new job right now I was still more than happy to volunteer for this event. I volunteer for many things and am happy to give my time to good causes, after all without volunteers many of the things I enjoy would not happen.

  • The races I enjoy training for and running would not happen without those marshals who get up really early to get the route marked out before I get there, then keep us safe during the race, and tidy up after.
  • The UX events I enjoy and that help me learn and network would not happen without those people who organise them and agree to speak.
  • The writers group which encouraged me to keep writing would not have run without someone to book the room and set the homework.

By giving my time I can actually see what I am doing to improve the world I live in. Something I find is missing when I just give money.

Here are a couple of examples of things I do:

Cheering on the runners for Race for Life was amazing as I marshalled the course in 2015. There were the runners at the front finding it easy, but the ladies I admired most were the ones coming in later. The ladies who do not normally run, but want to raise money for something close to their heart. The ladies who you could see were hurting. The ladies who were walking. They were the ones who needed my shout of "nearly there" or "you can do it" or "love your wings!".

"By giving my time I can actually see what I am doing to improve the world I live in."

Volunteering at UXPA every month helps make the UX community in London even greater. At these events I always learn something even if it is only confirmation of something I had read about. For an extra half an hour, to be there early to help set up, I get to meet loads of lovely people who are all as interested in UX as me. This is so important for helping me realise that I am not the only one dealing with these design problems as I chat with other designers.

At my old job I chaired the Lunchtime Creative Writers Group who meet once a month. When the lady who ran it before me decided to step down no one wanted to run it in her place, but I loved the group and I did not want it to stop so I took over. After all how hard can it be?

I loved it. It was so good to encourage someone to keep writing and see them improve as they did more. I was always so impressed by the work they bought to the group, some of it so much better than some of the published stories I have read.

Without my time some of these things would not have happened and all those runners or writers would not have been able to do something they loved or needed to do. What I love most is knowing I have helped someone achieve something. I guess that is why I am a UX Designer.

I have written in more detail about my volunteering here.

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