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Aug. 20, 2021

E215 - Imposter Syndrome: When and Why You Should Worry?

Recorded live on August 19th, 2021

| Recorded live on August 19th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome & Blake Arnsdorff.

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Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hey what's going on everybody it is episode 215 we're recording this live on 8/19/2021 this is human factors cast I'm your host Nick Rome I'm joined today by another another mail here Mr Blake aren't sure if Hey there Nick. 0 I started off at the top man Hey it's good to see you to Blake before we get into things tonight I just wanna mention community update. I hear for the human factors caste community really there's a. We are always taking applications or whatever you wanna call them they're not really applications but if if you want to get involved with the show there's a way to do that in a pretty powerful way that might improve your resume portfolio anything like that and want to talk about a little later for how to build some of those portfolio things in the it came from section but we do you are always looking for more people to join our digital media lab I don't think I ever really officially welcome to Matteo to the who I have but long time listeners of the show no Matteo by name he's been on here for a couple of recaps he's in the lab now. And he's working on some stuff that hopefully will have out to you soon. But if you are interested in joining the lab and working on some fun things behind the scenes we always have stuff cooking up over here that you can use to boost your portfolio you know let us know any of our social channels it's always a good way to reach us but we know why you all are here and you're here for. Yes that's right it's human factors news this is the part of the show where we search all over the internet to bring you a new story. All from the related field of human factors and our patrons choose this is could be anything from medical privacy security robotics you name it long as it relates to the field of human factors we can talk about it like what we got up this week this week we're talking more about just a study that's come out from and why you titled women early career academics more likely to feel like imposters in disciplines that prize brilliance the researchers from NY you have published a paper based on survey results indicating indicating that not that a more an academic discipline is perceived or require raw talent or brilliance for success the more both women and early career academics feel professionally and adequate or they feel like imposters the results which appear in the journal of education psychology works pressure mounts among women from racial backgrounds and ethnic groups well they were traditionally upper under represented in higher education and academia specifically the researchers stress that while imposter phenomenon is often understood portrayed as a individual flexion the findings here illustrate that instead of impostor experience is might be a function of context that academics can actually understand and try and navigate so in addition regardless of gender career stage race or ethnicity academics who reported a more intense imposter feelings also reported feeling less belong in their field the sense that they felt like they were less connected or accepted by colleagues and this less lessening in confidence. Kind of impacted their ability to feel like they would succeed in the field so that this is a pretty heavy topic for us to talk about in general it's always great to see that this kind of stuff is being researched and looked at an interesting from the objective scientific perspective. But let's get a break this down for everybody you wanna kick it off for us yeah can we do have a disclaimer at the top here we realize that we are 2 men breaking down the issues that impact women and we are sensitive to that. We were early career professionals at we can talk from that perspective but do know that we did do our due diligence and we tried to. Reach out to several people that we know can be on the show and. We we tried we tried everybody but we do have some social thoughts that we're gonna get to here in a little bit we'll we'll be able to bring in some of the stories at least to get that perspective so. Yes let's break this down and before you jump in Dick wicket like also to you this is an episode where like Nick said we're talking about something that we don't have direct experience with outside of being early career professionals but something I would encourage anybody to do this listen to this baby has experiences reach out and let us know about it through either on YouTube where ever you may hear the podcast or see the podcast because we do want the platform to be something that we can use to help you know I don't know either be a platform people can talk about this kind of stuff for you know help others kind of figure out ways around it but anyway Nick take yeah yeah if you're watching live to drop it and chat like Kristin just did. We'll get your comment just a second so yes I think this is. This we've talked about imposter syndrome a lot on the show when it normally comes in the sense of it came from segments and this is the first time we're really seeing it in a story format. And I don't know why that is it might be that our selection process that might be the fact that we've shifted over to our patrons and now they want to hear about this and that's fine I'm just surprised we haven't actually talked about it in this type of setting before so I think. I'm you know what. We should probably start at the top of what imposter syndrome is right I think what's operationally defined it up front so that way as we talk about this we all have a common understanding rights imposter syndrome is basically feeling like you are not adequate. That you are at it here the the operation definition for the study is a feeling of intellectual and add an adequacy despite evidence of competence and success is manifested in. We're sorry that's that's the explanation here but that's that's kind of the bit that is important right feeling of inadequacy intellectual inadequacy despite evidence of competence or success. I'm. Yeah that's that's where I want to start Blake have you ever felt imposter syndrome let's start there have. Yeah I mean we talked about this a bunch and then again it does often come in the later portion the show in it in the end came from section but yeah I think it's it's kind of expressly early career it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people feel that way I mean Nick I've had conversations both on and off the podcast like I feel like that all the time I don't think I've ever truly gotten over the idea that I am I am adequate for the job that I'm doing. That that's you know is what it is because there's definitely I've I've seen evidence of you know by success or whatever may be but for me it's often been like a driving marker and I feel like for a lot of people in academia or people that you know work in stem fields that can be something that they're continually chasing like what's the next thing that I can learn or what's the next kind of like marker that shows that I'm continually being successful so what I think it often becomes like a almost like a mechanism used to drive yourself but in some ways it can have you know detrimental benefits if you don't feel like you're ever going to be successful in your field or or you don't feel like you're respected by colleagues so there definitely can be you know 2 sides the imposter syndrome coined but Nick have you really come across this before I mean is this something you felt in your early career had to get over it personally I think we answered it on the quote on the podcast couple weeks ago I started a podcast because I felt like I couldn't I think was actually last week there's a there's a really great question and I can't remember exactly what the question was but I do remember that there was this massive feeling of incompetence on my part when. Compared to some of the other individuals that I was working with at the time because I felt like they were brilliant and we will get to what brilliance is here in a minute but it's it's a little hard to define but I think we I think we got it. And so yes when you think about imposter syndrome yes I've experienced it especially in my early career feeling a little bit better now. Even in new positions that I take. I feel like that goes away but again we're both male. But we're both men were were both white dudes so I mean like you know I feel like race and ethnicity could have another big impact on this as well I think they actually highlight this in another study that they did as well from July of last year again we can talk about that but yeah huge disclaimer this 2 white dudes talking about our experience. Mmhm what's with Blake do you want to break down the study and and talk about actually how they got this result. Yes so let's break it down a little bit like I mentioned at the top this is really focused on kind of survey responses from a large net of people so you're we're looking at 5000 academics blight difference levels of faculty in terms of it within academia. I'm even like postdocs medical residents so you're getting a wide array of different fields but like likely all related very much to stem fields so very science tech in math all that kind of good stuff. And so really what the survey was focused on was asking people to rate their level of experience of imposter syndrome so this like going back to the top for example here sometimes I feel like I'm afraid others will discover how much knowledge or ability I really lack I feel like I ask myself that question all the time. And then check compound that to really get at the brilliant side of things which Nick and I had an interesting conversation before the show started about kind of trying to figure out how to define what brilliant says but the way that the survey tackled it is they're looking at the field as a whole with the person works and so the medical field you know aviation whatever it may be and or whatever they're focused on in academia. UP there that fields brilliance orientation so how that's measured so personally I feel that being on top of a a top scholar in my discipline of choice requires a special aptitude that just can't be taught so something you feel like it's much more intimate it's not necessarily something you're going to gain through training experience anything like that so these 2 things are pretty powerful markers like I want I don't feel adequate into I don't feel like I can become adequate because it's not something I can just learn. So that's really where the focus was here was answering come a bunch of these survey questions really focus on these 2 kind of poor ideas and seeing from overall they found that most people were. That were in the field the base Dave themselves for for perceived require raw talent or a lot of brilliance to be successful in. More often women in that early career academics actually saw that they felt like they were definitely imposters or they were a porting they felt that way more so than maybe men who were you know later in their career or people who are not in the early career. Yeah I think that's a great breakdown of it and you're right we did have an interesting discussion of what brilliance is. And so. I just I don't know how to approach this. From a systematic perspective right it's obviously a societal thing where. Historically women have been marginalized 2 men. And people of color have been marginalized. And I think a lot of that historical aspect. At least in western industrialized cultures. Have a huge impact on how. They perceive their worth especially in a work environment. Because if you think about it you know not even what's like 7 years ago or something women weren't commonplace in the workplace it was still like. You know we're we're still come in around on that even today with equal pay and really equal treatment and so we have these lasting effects from history that are now playing. That are now having an impact on on the way that people not only. Not only how other people perceive them but how they perceive themselves with this imposter phenomenon right so there's a lot to break down here I think. I think. I want to jump into brilliance a little bit more because there's another study that came out of the same lab I think that looked at. Up. Basically race and ethnicity and how that was affected by brilliance as well. And they they did this they use this method called the implicit association test. Where. You know we're we're looking at may it male female brilliance and we're looking at terms right measure it so this test kind of overlaps that agree between these concepts. Without explicitly asking them whether or not they hold stereo type views so it's it's important to mention that this is kind of to get at those stereo types. It's basically a speed sorting task right so so they're looking at the stimuli such as a picture of a woman or the word brilliant on a computer screen there ask them to sort them into 2 different categories. And then you know they they were basically. Countersigned counter balanced with male or female coming first or other words coming first all that stuff basically you know the the logic here is that if brilliant is more associated with male then with female in people's minds and participants will be faster to sort that stimuli when brilliant and mail come up on the screen as opposed to the same response key. As opposed to female and brilliant. Because they just go together. And I'm doing that in air quotes for those listening so. Basically you know that they they have this study that came out that that's come out and it's actually a series of 5 studies here they're looking at girls and boys aged 9 and 10 men and will women from 78 other countries and what's been consistent across all these demographics is that there's an implicit stereotypes associating brilliance with men more than women. I'm. And it's not just that there's a stereotype to begin with it says that the magnitude is is large as well so it was similar in strength to the implicit stereo type that associates men more than women with careers which was basically another study that they did so. And women basically that that if you think about the pairing right men careers women family that would be the pairing and it's that same strength men brilliance. Verses women brilliant so there is some implicit stereo typing when you think about the word brilliant. And this is this is all historical study leading up to this one that we're talking about today about posture syndrome so this is kind of the next step. You know that thinking about that there's precedent here for thinking that men are more brilliant as a stereo type and now. You know you have added on to that how do you feel about your discipline requiring a special aptitude that just can't be taught and that's how they do operationally ants in this in this example and it turns out surprise surprise. Women who again from previous studies. Worden stereotype to not be paired with brilliant. Felt like. They didn't feel like they were a part of it so that's kind of the history behind it I'm gonna pause there Blake anything I missed. No I don't think you missed anything I think what is interesting about the study is we're using a lot of like implicit understanding of people sick previous experience and how they're kind of mapping that to to either what they experience in the world or you know how they would do something with the task and then extrapolating interesting findings based off of something that's not supposedly directly related hence the implicit tasking. But I'd like to the the study there I guess I like the intent of this particular analysis that's been done for this research study mainly because of the the finding is that Hey this is some kind of issue that we're the people experience across you know women for guard lists of ethnicity or gender carps are enough 0 race. What can we really do that's kind of the next thing that the researchers are really looking at is like what does that mean for an academic to have to navigate this and are there effective strategies people can use to do so. Because like academic the academic world is a tough world to be end I I would be really interested to know how this compares in the tech world and if there is the same level of you know discrepancy between men and women or not I'm not really sure what the outcome would be but this is like it's a it's cool to see the history of where this is all coming from but the the actual application of what comes next I think is what I'm most interested in as my guess is continues to be studied more to really kind of understand that underlying you know what maybe is leading to you don't feel like you have brilliance or you don't like qualify for it which again is something I've struggled with trying to understand wrap my head around but yeah it's it's at the same time like it so it's awesome psychological research because it just reveals kind of implicit bias that people have and try to understand how do we change it possibly already mitigate it but the hard part is you don't want a bunch of people that are highly educated. I feel like they're not worthy of the job they have they can't succeed in the field there and. On a large scale this isn't limited to a university this is a very large scale so that's the the part that kind of makes me a bit sad here yeah me too I I want to bring up so you you mentioned you wondered what this is like in the tech field and we'll get to that kind of a social thoughts we did ask you know all over social sphere earlier today as soon as we knew what the story was going to be we have a couple thoughts there but I didn't want to kind of recap I actually reach out to a couple of women in our lab and. You know I I'll I'll kind of paraphrase this conversation but there is a. There's a member of our lab who feels uncomfortable applying to or or worried I shouldn't say uncomfortable worried about their aptitude when it comes to seeking jobs that. Traditionally engineering background folks may apply to write so that difference between human factors engineering. Background you know especially even if they you know even if there's this like. You fit the description right is is kind of what I'm understanding so. I'm. There's this worry potentially about. But you know not having an engineering background. And having to fight harder to show your worth. Because you're trained in human factors as opposed to. Engineering right and so it's like. Where does the worry for being under qualified or you know basically where does the question of qualifications. End and where does the imposter syndrome question began are they related do they tie an. And then. How do you worry about you know performing once you get on the job I play do you have any thoughts on that. I feel good I would have to tread a little bit careful here but I'm probably not going to do it is there this is this is probably a well founded fear right because there is a need. There's there's a I don't I don't know the right word to use there is tension between human factors psychologist versus being a human factors engineer and that's in the same field so there's definitely tension between the I'm gonna hire an engineer or my gonna hire a psychologist for this job. That's it for better or worse that's reality so you do have to work very hard as a human factor psychology yes from one person's perspective to prove your worth in an engineering field I think there's a lot of ways to do that and it it does take a lot of effort on your part nope being good at interviewing that having good references that kind of stuff in your early career can be very very helpful but if I would be surprised if it did not feel intimidating one thing that I fell early on in my career and again like I said this we're both men white men in a traditionally white man's field I. S.. But even in my early career I was not respected as a psychologist when I when working with other engineers it took a long time even having my first job to really build rapport with other engineering leads or people that wrote code or any of that stuff I mean that's really probably what shaped the way I went about my career but. At the same time you can't really let it get in your way as easy as that is to say. If it's something you want and feel like you would have a lot of impact and but it's it's definitely not unfounded you know feeling to have because like I said there there's existing tensions on top of the fact that you know you're new to a field. So that's that's really that's even harder to get over I think then you know just the study we're talking about here alone. Yeah I agree I do want to get into some of these other. Thought so we've we've been posting the social bots every Thursday morning so you know since we know what it is let us let us know your thoughts for the story of that night. We'd love to hear from you in the future we got a couple here I do want to get to Kristen's comment from chat basically saying that you know as college is becoming more necessary and competitive imposter syndrome is becoming more prevalent that's their observation when you think about that Blake have you have you noticed that. Do you feel like we've seen an uptick in imposter syndrome questions on the it came from segment as college is becoming more more necessary. I I'm not gonna be able to Kuwait to the college side but one thing I have seen a large struggle with with people that I work with through the boot camp that I teach for an 80 P. list as well. Is a lot of people have a hard time accepting that they are going to do something new but. Being being aware that they're already doing the job they just haven't gotten a job yet so it it is something I feel like I see all the time where people are super afraid to you know removed from linked in that their **** firing your axes einer actually say they are a U. acts designer for instance alright I do find it's pretty prevalent in our culture in general it it's it's interesting to hear that as as schools becoming a much more prevalent requirement for jobs or whatever it may be that it it that. Person seeing a kind of appear a bit more across people but we definitely talk a lot about on the show definitely the it came from reddit section because like you mention is first time we'd like to see a study on it yeah I mean from your perspective have you noticed more and more imposter syndrome either in people you worked with or you know things you do yes I think there is it's it's quite prevalent you know I 8. You get people to confide in you and. You basically have them confessed that they feel like they don't know what they're doing or get a gut check to make sure that they're not. A crazy. Or you know kind of that reassurance that we all need from time to time that says yeah you're doing the right thing you're you're doing a great job you did you know so I I you know from from a mid career professionals perspective I would say there's. You know the directly involved in the hiring process. Be involved with training in that type of thing I think the the thing that mid career professionals or or people that manage others you can do is to provide that encouragement. Even if it's unsolicited because I think especially when it comes to people who are more green because I think it it does it really does kind of reinforce that you're meant to be here. Yeah we chose you for a reason and I think we say that like every time we talk about the imposter syndrome question on it came from if they chose you for a reason. It's okay if you feel this way no that it gets better. You know any kind of making sure that you as somebody who is managing them are working with them are actively doing our part to make sure that they feel more comfortable because soon as they're up to speed and they feel like they're competent in their role then you know you'll fly that's that's kind of my opinion there but if you wanna get into some of the social thoughts so. We we talk about Kristen's comment this is our berry Kirby on Twitter. You know they're experiencing imposter syndrome to like do they need to pick me what if I can't deliver they also say it's it's fundamental that men are more likely to put themselves forward for a job or project on the off chance that when it whereas women tend to not unless they're absolutely sure they can do it I don't know how true that is. But you know that I think that's the perception. And so. Even having that perception that men are go getters and women are kind of like a sure thing you know less risky risk taking behaviors I think that in itself says a lot about the stereotypes you I wonder if you know that's something that comes up in one of those. One of those. Card sorting tasks as well I do have another one here they asked to remain anonymous. They say as a first Gen college student this is from a a woman here so this is the perspective that we're looking here for for me as a first Gen college students striving for a higher college education is is probably the most intimidating thing I've ever done even though I am well within even though I'm doing well with my classes and helping professors with research I constantly feel like a fraud if I don't know what I'm really talking about obviously I'm not expected to know everything but it's hard for me to be confident in my current skills so imposter syndrome sneaks up on me very easily. And then you know there's also the. The worry about qualifications here. I always question the qualifications when I look at job descriptions I usually worry about how all end up performing once I get the job this could be a mix of imposter syndrome and lack of experience in industry jobs the only jobs I've had have been in fast food chains so. You can see that this is impacting women who are those early career professionals that are you know just starting to get out in the field to it's it's kind of insane how you know that is a. Is a pretty. Pretty what with the confirmation bias confirmation bias right here. So you know I don't know what do you do you have any thoughts on that lake. But not any great ones man so one thing I thought that was interesting based off of. Arby's responses something that in this this is the entire thing for me it it it really comes down to a lot of influences in your life and kind of the the impact they have on you because I don't know if it's true of most men will be receding or not or they're more likely to but I'll tell you the one thing that my old man is always said is you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take or if you don't buy the take you'll never win the lottery and I I do that behavior right I have throughout my entire life just taking shots and hoping something works out however the part so it do to pull back the curtain little bit when Nick and I were trying to figure out like what we gonna do for the show I felt really kind of in a in a rock and a hard place because I just didn't think that my opinion really was the right one for this particular show and the reason is is my entire life is shaped by really from my perspective absolutely brilliant women and so I I have a very hard time with this concept at all because I maybe it's just the life that I ended up living or whatever it may be but I was influenced heavily by some of the most brilliant women and people I've ever met I mean the only reason I'm in human factors is because of my you know advisor or whatever you want to call her in graduate school or undergraduate school. That for the first time out of all of the you know perspective. Advisors or whatever it may be maybe feel like I did belong in psychology and then I you know had stuff to contribute and without like her insights into my personality I never would have gone into human factors then I attribute to I attribute a lot of my success in the field to her mentor ship so it's it is hard for me to try and figure out like what what really can we provide here but I think from the imposter syndrome perspective is that may never go away but the biggest thing that I guess keep in the back your mind is there's a reason you've got to wherever you are and it probably doesn't have anything to do with lock so just take the things that you're afraid of or you're not sure you can do like one step at a time and that you'll likely find yourself in a place where you if you look back you'll not even believe how you got there. That's really all I to sense I have wow I can't even think of a better way to end the segment so brilliant women everywhere you can do it. We believe in you and if you don't believe in yourself reach out to us we'll talk it out. About that. You can do it all right well thank you to our patients are choosing this story this week and thank you to our friends over at New York University for the story if you want to follow along during office hours are Mondays where I find these new stories and we do post links to all the original articles and weekly roundups on our blog you know so join us on a slack or discord for more discussion on the stories we'd love to hear from you if you have any stories about imposter syndrome and how it's affecting your ability to either get a job or performing the job let us know we're gonna take a quick break we'll be back to see what's going on in the human factors community right after that human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us pledges start at just $1 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that that's right what is it or what's one that you've done Blake or do you know I didn't write or something and it comes up in my most of those for me you're like what is that okay cool this is great let's see if I can figure out how to use this anywhere that entices you go check it out over there and consider supporting the show that way like I said helps us keep the lights on and allows us to do some really fun things you know if we get a show sponsor we can actually go to more conferences we know conference coverage is a big. A big favorite of all the all of our listeners so anyway let's go ahead and switch gears and get into this next part of the show we like to call came. Right this week it's all part of the show research all over the internet to bring you topics the communities talking about. We got 3 this week Blake and I'm I I think these are some really good questions here they're all from the sub reddit but those those questions are often applicable to human factors as well so let's get into him. This one here is how do you build you acts are human factors awareness in your company this is by Yafei M. V.. Yeah from the I don't know hi all I've been reading posts in various articles on the impact of U. X. research on companies I notice that there are very few articles on the subject from the eyes of the stakeholders how they see you X. research what they think and feel about it proper disclosure I come with a technological background and most of my professional life I've been dealing with code and treat myself to solve complex technological problems rather than people's problems I wonder I'm one of those who made I'm still unsubstantiated assumptions about users and then fought over them fiercely it's too simple solution and not good enough for our users today I see things a little differently and I'd like to think that user experience research doesn't reach its full potential and there is much more to go we're a new start up trying to tackle this problem from the stakeholder's perspective we built a platform for you X. researchers to generate. And share video clips insights from user interviews. Basically to keep updated with personalized content that finds them. As a user experience researchers experts I'd love to hear your thoughts experiences and difficulties on you X. awareness in your company Blake how do you I mean have you ever worked in a company that had a lack of insight as to what you X. research could do not only for the users but for the company and how did you yeah for sure so one interesting thing and I think it still happens to some degree but a couple of years ago is very common for human factors people to get hired or you extra fashionable to get hired and it was more so like Hey we know we need to but don't know what to do you just you're gonna have to you know tell us what you need to do and go do it and rarely was that actually the case so a lot of times you would get hired and try and you know implement a research process or design process or start you know we have to bring me into doing kind of like impromptu you acts are work and sometimes stakeholders would be there and you know get involved and pushed back on a lot of things maybe trying to do so it can be very tough especially in like an early growth start up stayed with somebody I have a lot of experience with in my prior life but one thing that I think is really important is to definitely get your stakeholders involved in ways that you need to that can be very very hard to do in very tricky it does sound like you know you've got like clips and insights and all that kind of good stuff which is great. But I'll tell you one thing most angel investors or CO level people they don't have very much time for that kind of stuff they're not going to be watching a video they're gonna be going to you and asking you Hey what are you doing what impact you having can you actually demonstrate that to me in the product we've built into one way that we kind of worked around this was actually having angel investors when they cut came in. See some of the things that we are working on and actually watch you know user interviews or having people do impromptu you you know cognitive walkthroughs and things like that and seeing how we were on covering issues. Because although it's great that it's great both for the team's perspective and you know potential you know you know marketing material you can create for investment. There's nothing like seeing things first hand and seeing the impact it can have on a on a a person like an operator or user so that was one big thing for us for sure but it's always kind of a difficult balance because I was having this conversation with a colleague recently when you start doing that you do run the risk of involving a you know an objective party somebody who's either you know highly invested in the technology that you're working on and or an engineer who once center Jack like this is how you should be able to solve the problem or the set we designed it and you can you know get user data ends up getting thrown out or interrupted you don't get the full experience because somebody feels like they're attacking a designer attacking our product so it's definitely a careful balance with stakeholders again just to summarize bring him into the process but kind of set very clear boundaries for them which can be very hard to do in the startup world with when you're bringing in people that have a lot of money and they're going to be investing in your product but that's kind of the approach I would take Nick you've had a lot of experience as a like a human factors researcher at U. acts are what kind of things have you done in the past to help get stakeholders up to speed with the value you bring yeah this is okay this is a difficult question to answer but I'm going to try my best and I hate the answer itself so. I'm. Here's what I'll say. I think your role as a user experience researcher human factors practitioner in an embedded team. Where you are working with a multi disciplinary team on something you're trying to basically you're the only person there that's in human factors or one of the few people there I think your job then becomes much harder if that work culture doesn't respect know what you do because then you have to switch to sales and its sales sales sales internally you have to sell what you're doing internally and I hate that. I'm. People call it a vandalizing sometimes about what you do and it's true right people often won't understand the impact that you have until you can show return investments or you know the value that you bring to a product and so a lot of it is over explaining I find myself doing that which is also why I'm on a podcast is because I over explain things a lot and talk a lot and you have to in order to make other people in that company appreciate what you do I think they have the right idea here. There is kind of a set. Presentation that you should give to somebody that you know is a stakeholder that wants to know about your significance on a project. That includes things like return on investment right you you explain what you do you explain what the outcome is and once you can quantify that once you can communicate that to quantify it then they start to see you mean it took users X. amount of time faster it took them they they they completed this task 30 percent faster because of the changes that you did. That's hard to measure. You know user satisfaction yeah it's hard to measure I mean it's it's easy to gather right but it's it's it's one of those easy things to communicate that shows you wow user satisfaction went up after some of these to design changes. I went down when you didn't listen to me. So I you know there's there's things that you can do like that and I think showing them the users struggle on a usability study show them like you know 30 seconds of them just struggling or cussing at the product or something like that is really powerful because then it's not you communicating that message it's you saying look they are really struggling with this and I'm here to make that better so you know I am here to save your **** is basically what you're saying in that moment like. You anyway take that as you well that's my perspective you're all about sales especially in a in a company where there's a lack of awareness as to what you acts of human factors does all right let's get into this next one here this one 's by neurotic Buddha so you ever feel like you're just waiting around. I'm working on a new internal dashboard I've conducted a bunch of user interviews synthesize the research made a bunch of notes but my research has led me to a bit of an impasse where I'm going to need to continue to speak with a few folks in order to sort some things out basically the research that I did invalidated some assumptions that myself and my team made beforehand and now when a pivot the project in another direction in the meantime I'm not really sure what to do I don't really have many other tasks at the moment so I kind of feel like I'm just waiting around to enable to conduct this new round of interviews do any of you feel this way in your in your role ever. I haven't done much real work in the last few days and I'm feeling super guilty about it Blake have you ever experienced this were you just gonna sit around. Not particularly and I think that's because of the way the companies I've worked for structured. Typically having like you know 4 or 5 things always spending for different projects I have had local times in the past and I but this specific instance here where it's talking about we have assumptions that were invalidated we need to pivot as a team I think this is a really good time for some introspection because of course you're you're not an army of 1 it sounds like but it is like a lead person A. you axe role it's a good time to think about like okay the assumptions that we made where did those really come from and where did we route them and what could we have done differently to maybe either moved towards a closer to set of assumptions that would help us to move forward quickly or whatever may be also check out and think about some of the research questions that you have asked so far because it sounds like if you need to do follow ups there may have been another way to approach the problem up front that could have given you more information or something you could have started with an already begin to pivot bolt really if I was in this position I would be sitting kind of thinking and working with various teammates about what the pivot looks like and what that's actually going to mean for the next steps so although like there may be no direct work that needs to be done there's still plenty of like deep thinking you could be doing in between you know maybe your next meeting or the next set of round of interviews is like okay once we do the next step what is everything else look like for the next 36 months I'm in terms of what we've learned where we need to go from here that's kind of how I would approach it otherwise I would be looking to pick up a new skill if I really felt like I had extra time and I couldn't release work on problem solving I'd be thinking about what what where my lacking points as a U. X. researcher designer developer whatever and can I is there something that I can effectively work online at work that's going to benefit my projects are me at my professional growth but Nick for you have you ever gotten a. A feeling of like I'm just hanging around I'm not sure what to do yeah all the time there's there's a there's plenty of moments where. I'm I guess I guess hanging around is is a difficult one to answer because yes there are times where I cannot continue with my work until I get answers from others however I'm always occupying that time with something. But you know it's it's like if I truly am at an impasse and I can't go forward without consulting a stakeholder or a user group or something like that to make improvements then it's you know okay well switch over to a roadmap what's next is there anything that I can work on that's coming down the pipeline I know I need to do like you know a developing survey or you know anything like that or potentially drafting up some design changes or you know and and like you said Blake even enriching your own experience by doing some extracurricular. Class or something to that degree so it's it's always been occupied by other things I think that's kind of the way I'm reading this is I'm I'm stuck I don't know what to do and I don't know how to fill my time and I think a lot of people experience that there there are certainly companies where you are go go go all the time and you there's no down time. There are other companies where you have a ton of downtime and. It's just a matter of how you manage that downtime that I think kind of sets you apart from other that there's always the the approach of like Hey I have really nothing on my plate right now this is a slippery slope I would not recommend doing this Hey I got nothing on my plate is there anything that you think I can work on because then your your you know assigning yourself basically more work that you might not necessarily be. Proficient in let's say that. But. You know if you're if you're really struggling I guess you could always ask your boss it is okay can I work on this thing or you know it usually helps to come with a with the idea in mind for those. Denihan's health else to answer that question all right let's get into this last one here. I'm. Sons how to write portfolio pieces are case studies from immature stifling you X. project this is from Dave styles all these names are great tonight so you have. Basically the the current U. X. process I follow is shut up and do what the business says to do because R. U. X. organization is immature I can't do user research I don't know how to spend this into something I can put on a portfolio. I work in a rather stifling environment where I'm pretty much just told what to build by the business sorry by the research I would answer. I told what to build by the business with very little of my own input we aren't given access to users so I can't do the research I would normally do to determine how I should design my solutions. So what usually ends up happening is the business gives me requirements that are usually incomplete then they just tell me how to change by designs over and over until they're happy when I find a better job in a company with more mature you X. organization but I can't really start job hunting until I build up my portfolio. But I'm also struggling to figure out what to write about since portfolios are all about showcasing the decision making process. In the process I'm short forced to follow I E. do what the business says to do isn't exactly impressive thought about writing how how doing what the business tells you and all the compromises that had to make is building the foundation of a relationship between U. acts in the business and how nurturing this relationship can lead to the bit business trusting you axe to do more than just the wire frame monkeys. I'm not sure if that's a stretch though plus writing about my experience working in an amateur you acts or feels like airing out my company's dirty laundry I'd appreciate any advice on this thank you Blake how do you approach projects prior problems where you can't necessarily how do you how do you perform fully as we can't talk about the project that you work on for one reason or another. Yeah this is a hard one so I would encourage you to face to just write about it first because it's the biggest that's the biggest thing that probably is in your way is just doing the first write up of the portfolio piece whatever it may be because you've obviously done work maybe can't showcase all of it you can talk about the constraints in the stake holders and how you've navigated it