August 6, 2023
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Redundancy made me better

When I had to leave my position last year, I went through all the stages of grief. Now I can see that there are many ways in which this phase has let me become a better person, both in my professional and private life.

I’ll be the first to admit it. Being let go from a team you felt was more than work sucks to the full extend of the word redundancy.
When I had to leave my position at Homeday amid an economic downturn last year, I went through all the stages of grief—some more than I was willing to admit at the time and others more than once.

Now that a few months have passed, and I have settled in acceptance, I can see that despite the upset, there are many ways in which this phase has let me become a better person both in my professional and private life.

Family first

For the first time I can remember, I truly had the time to focus on the people that matter most. My Family! When I was let go, I very suddenly lost the constant stream of connection to my peers and colleagues at work. As a self-diagnosed workaholic, this left me feeling lonely and disengaged. In a way, I was forced to look elsewhere for belonging. Even if I had claimed to be a family man before, I soon realized how little time I had spent with my kids and my partner.

When I fell, they lovingly welcomed every new moment I spent with them, and I quickly found joy, peace, and calm with them. So much so that I have become very protective of our time, making me much less willing to compromise my “little bit of family balance” for work. While I still enjoy work and know I will always tend to take that extra step, I now know that my value as a father and partner goes way beyond the role of the breadwinner, and I am committed to keeping learning how I can better fill this role.


I always had the perception of my career progression is pretty straightforward and mostly upward. This turned out to be the first serious bump in the road. And while I was looking for anew position to jump back into the race, I found out, the hard way, that some of the jobs out there weren’t a good match for me and vice versa. Suddenly I had to take a good and honest look at what it was I really wanted to do and what things I was really good at. Was I still heading in the right direction? Or was I just keeping the wheels spinning? With the help of my coach, I did some hard reflection work, helping me reevaluate my role in the industry. Finally, realizing, that I was most happy and successful doing the early work of establishing design teams at companies that didn't have a high level of design maturity yet. A job that many of my peers would dread having to do, but that was fully inline with my values and strengths.

Better UX Manager

Coaching and mentoring team members has always been a part of my daily work as a UX manager. Focussing on the people in your team is, and their individual development, is a major factor in building high functioning teams. As UX is often positioned somewhat in a tight spot between product management and engineering, growing personal and communication skills becomes even more important. While I felt comfortable coaching my teams based on my experience, I had also faced a few situations, that made clear to me, that coaching is a craft that one should learn. So instead of sitting around just binging Netflix, I decided, to make the best of my time off and invested in my management skills. I took a deep dive into professionalizing my coaching practice in a 3 months intensive coaching course, preparing me for official ICF certification. It's been incredibly impactful and has changed my coaching style profoundly. Definitely making me a better guide and leader for my colleagues and team members. I can't wait to see how my next team benefits from what I've learned.


I realize, that I write this from an extremely privileged position. The layoff didn’t threaten my family’s well-being as we had enough savings for me to take some time off, and I was given a good severance package to sweeten the bitter pill. Knowing that I have more than 20 years in afield that is generally still in high demand also gives me the piece of mind, that I’ll most likely find a new position with time. Even though my situation is different from that of many people, who were recently laid off and are now struggling to make ends meet, I hope that my thoughts can still be inspiring and helpful.

Written by

Marvin Olukayode Hassan

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