How I went from a planning obsessed Lawyer to an easy-going UX/UI Designer

How I went from a planning obsessed Lawyer to an easy-going UX/UI Designer

How I went from a planning obsessed Lawyer to an easy-going UX/UI Designer

How I went from a planning obsessed Lawyer to an easy-going UX/UI Designer

February, 14 2023

The career change that changed me as a person.

The Planner

I became a “planner” during university. But not the kind of planner with generic plans, with just an idea of what I would do in life. My type of planning was meticulous and obsessive.

I entered law school without really knowing why, after all, what the hell do you know at 17? My only answer to those who asked was: “I hate math, I love to read and I have critical thinking skills, so I ended up in law”, and of course, not going to university wasn’t even an option where I come from, I had to choose a career right then, right there.

Throughout my degree, as I got to know myself better, I discovered some certainties of what I wanted for my future: I wanted to use English in my work, be able to live abroad, and have money to travel the world. And with that, I formulated an action plan. I thoroughly planned all the upcoming years of my life, and it looked something like this:

Nov 2021 - Finish my Law degree.

Jan 2022 - Take courses that would look “impressive” on my resume.

Sept 2023 - Do a Master’s in Europe (with what money? I had no idea. And in what field? Something in demand that would guarantee me a job).

Feb 2024 - Take the lawyer’s qualification test in Ireland.

March 2024 - Get a nice job. I already had a list of all the companies to which I could apply, so I added on LinkedIn all the Brazilians who worked at these companies, hoping that someday my connections would magically land me a job.

And the most important part of the plan? to make money, to visit my family in Brazil, and to travel the world when I had the time.

All of these plans and I hadn’t even graduated yet.

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed my degree, and I’ve never regretted those 5 years, one never loses by learning. But I always knew it wasn’t what I loved doing. So why all these plans?

Changing careers was never on the table. I had chosen law, it was all I knew, and now I had to keep going. And that action plan was the only way to achieve the life I wanted and all the admiration that would come with it.

In my head, I would only be happy and successful if exactly what I had planned, became a reality.

So I obsessed about it for years, spent hours planning, joined several Facebook groups about finding housing in a city I was going to in 3 years. Decided on a master’s, then decided on another one, then another.

Suffered in anticipation of leaving my family, because I knew the future that awaited me meant seeing them once a year. Would I spend my work vacation visiting them or traveling the world?

The Shift

Then May 2022 came around, fresh out of university and working as a Lawyer, unhappy in my profession, but close to starting my big action plan that would solve all my problems, I met someone who showed me a different path, one I never knew existed.

This path would bring together my critical thinking skills and my creativity (something I always felt was missing in Law), while having the opportunity to work remotely, from wherever I wanted and for whoever I wanted ($).

I remember researching on Google “What is UX/UI?” and after that, there was no turning back. I downloaded Figma and started exploring, doing the Daily UI Challenge, having fun while creating fictional projects, and soon after, it was all I wanted to do.

I read books, watched countless videos and I fell more and more in love with UX design. I was also fortunate enough to have an amazing mentor who taught me everything I know, put me on the right path, gave me projects, and corrected my work, which greatly accelerated this learning process.

I lived and breathed design, every day, and the most amazing thing about this journey is how enjoyable and natural it was, something I had never felt with Law.

When I had to make the decision, whether I was going to change the plans I had chosen for myself years before, I naturally went through a small identity crisis. Deleting my lists, my detailed plans in Notion (I swear, they were very detailed), and erasing the life I never got to have, was tough. But I was so happy with my present that it was worth altering my future.

And so, in a few months, I found myself changing careers, working as a UI/UX Designer, with my first client, remotely and earning in dollars. Happy with the possibilities of my future, but with no long-term plans, just taking it one project at a time.

The Realization

I now realize that I didn’t need a strict plan to be happy, but instead to be open to new opportunities. I still have my goals and aspirations, of course, but they are no longer rigid, and I am willing to adapt and change course if necessary.

So, my only advice would be to not be afraid to pivot and change your career if you find yourself unhappy or unfulfilled in your current path. Follow your passions and do what makes you happy, as success and happiness are often intertwined. Keep an open mind and be willing to try new things, and who knows where it may lead you.