The skills that weren’t lost after a career change.

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A year ago, I shared how I made the leap from engineering to experience design. This career change was such a profound moment in my life, it wasn’t until the adrenaline settled that I did feel some resentment for spending 8 years of my life studying and practicing engineering. It felt like such a waste striving towards a goal that in the end didn’t suit or fulfill me.

After I announced my career change, many people reached out saying they too were thinking of a change. They also worried about starting at 0 again after being so invested in their…


It’s not the screen that’s harmful, it’s how you use it that matters.

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This article is part 1 of 3 in explaining the design process of developing a kid’s digital play experience.

I remember when I was 7 years old I clutched a small, bright red, egg-shaped key chain while walking single file in a line of other 7 years old on our way to recess. More than half the class were also holding Tamagotchis, creating a rainbow of small dots across the playground. We would run around “connecting” our Tamagotchis with one another, frantically making sure we kept our little creature alive. …


And how it can be applied to management styles.

a group of 3 young professionals looking at a white board with sticky notes
a group of 3 young professionals looking at a white board with sticky notes
Photo by Marília Castelli on Unsplash

I spent the majority of my last semester of undergrad interviewing for jobs. After 24 interviews and 13 companies, I left with some interesting experiences. One interview was a two-day long event with 24 interviewees competing for 10 spots. Part of the interview involved doing “team-building” activities for 4 hours…while blindfolded. The purpose of this was so we could only use our voices to communicate (I am now traumatized by blindfolds.)

But there was one interview question I will always remember. I didn’t even make it past the first round. The question was:

“If you were managing a team and…


From realizing I needed a change, to how I got there.

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I walk into work with my eyes still half-closed. I make my way to my cubicle and sit down at my computer. By mid-morning, a light pressure creeps into my chest. An aching headache slowly forms a band around my temples. I should’ve gotten more sleep last night, I think to myself. I stare at the CAD and multiple spreadsheets open on my computer. By the afternoon, the feeling in my chest has turned into a deep throbbing pressure. I get up and take a lap around the office. The pressure grows for days. Weeks. Months. …


How to have these hard conversations.

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There’s no doubt that the last few weeks have been extraordinary. We have arguably seen the most collective vigor and support ever generated for a movement since the Civil Rights era.

I know many others, like myself, have started diving into books about the history and experiences of Blacks in this country. I know many Blacks (rightfully so) are angry that this response didn’t come sooner.

Until recently, Black people have had the burden of explaining race to their friends and colleagues. It’s time we share that burden with them.

The past few years, I had the privilege of working…


Advice to avoid while navigating your 20s

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I received a lot of advice in the first few years of my career. For the most part, it was beneficial — coming from older co-workers who had seen at all.

But between the good, there was a lot of bad advice.

I learned how to sift through the advice as I navigated my early 20s. Just like many recent college grads, I was lost and trying to figure out what to do with my life. It’s common to experience some level of depression. You’re out of your comfortable community. You may be in a different city than most of…


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When I graduated college in 2016, I started making New Year’s Resolutions. It was a good way to keep track of life after college now that I didn’t have academic years as checkpoints for my growth. Every lesson learned led to a new goal for the next year. As I ventured into adulthood, these are some of the biggest lessons I learned every year.

Year 0 out of college. This year was full of learning. I learned how to adult: meal prepping once a week, arguing with apartment landlords, making a real budget, paying off student loans. I also learned…


Photo by Matthew Kwong on Unsplash

When I was 24 I decided I wanted to get into coffee. At that point the only coffee I was drinking was Starbucks peppermint mochas. Usually coffee gave me a rush of caffeine so great I could run a marathon. Not wishing to be constantly pumping with adrenaline, I decided coffee drinking wouldn’t be a day to day activity for me. But then life hit and I realized: I needed coffee.

I decided if I had to drink coffee, I wanted to enjoy it. I went to a co-worker who had a coffee roasting side business and bought a light/medium/dark…


“College is the best 4 years of your life”

It was hard to believe that life was supposed to go downhill after college. I loved my time in college but I was also swamped with engineering school work, crying after tests, pulling all nighters, trying to keep it together when no one understood the math on tomorrow’s exam. (Once you got to senior year you replaced that stress with drinking and that’s how we got through our capstone). Why did post-grad life not have the same level of happiness? What was it about college that was “better”? Was it the…

Elle Marcus

Mechanical Engineer turned Designer. Learning to navigate life and career. ENFP.

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