It’s Okay to be Nervous

personal, professional

Why are we afraid to be nervous?

As I sat with my 4-year old son at our kitchen table this morning, he eyed me suspiciously.

It’s been almost two years since I’ve worked in an office, and longer still since I was asked to wear anything other than “Design Professional Casual” (read: as long as all your bits are covered in a moderately interesting way, you’re good to go.)

I’m not sure when the last time my son saw me wear a tie to work was.  Truth be told, I’m not actually sure he’s ever seen me wear a tie to work.  But I sat with him as he ate his Cheerios, my crisp, checkered green tie tied neatly around my neck.

And he was deeply untrusting of my new getup.

“You look great, daddy!” he finally said, a smile crossing his face.  It was almost immediately followed by the question “Why?”

“Well,” I said, trying to think of a way to put the feelings of a first day at a new job into his worldview, “today is like my first day of school.  I’m starting a new job today, and I want to look good.”


He’s four, so I’ve gotten used to the follow-up why’s.

“Well, partly because I want my new friends to like me, and partly because I want to look good.”


“I guess I’m a little nervous.  Do you remember your first day of school?”

“Yes!” he said, stuffing his mouth full of another spoonfull of Cheerios, which temporarily muted the rest of his words.  “I waf nerfous toof!”

“Is it okay to be nervous?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Getting nervous is just part of being alive,” I continued.  “You were nervous on your first day of school.  I’m nervous on mine.  I won’t know many people, I won’t know my way around, and I’m just hoping that I’ll do a good job.  Is it okay to be nervous?  What do you think?”

He nodded again, then got up and came around the table.

“It’s okay to be nervous.  You’ll be okay, Daddy,” he said, giving me a big hug.

“Thanks, buddy.”

About an hour later, as I parked my car and prepared to head up to my new office for the first time, I took a deep breath.  I got out the car and remembered.

It’s okay to be nervous.  I’ll be okay.



Doug Collins head shot

Knowledge, Processes, and Dank Memes

personal, professional, ui, ux

Knowledge, Processes, and Dank Memes

Chances are if you’re here reading this, you probably followed me over from Twitter.   Over there I have a following of around 33k users, most of whom follow me for UX advice, conversations, and (let’s be honest here) UX memes.

An image of a statue made of different parts of various superheroes.

Of all the superpowers I could have been given, dank UX memes is what I wound up with.

For those of you who don’t know me, a bit of a primer.

Hi, my name is Doug.

I’m a UX/UI Manager for Western Union, just a couple of days away from moving into my new role as a UX/UI Director for ALC Schools.

I’m finally allowing myself to admit, after years of battling anxiety and Imposter Syndrome, that I might be pretty good at this UX thing.

Maybe.  That’s still up in the air.

The biggest downside of such a large following is that most of you are people who I’ve never met, digitally or otherwise.  According to this random Medium article I just found (because what better source of truth is there in the UX world than random Medium articles?), most people will meet around 10,000 people in their lifetime.

That means I’d have to live a little more than three lifetimes to meet all of you.  Even as a “I’m only a people pleaser if you want me to be” type, I’m comfortable in saying I can’t commit to that.

What I do get from Twitter is a fair amount of UX questions from people all over the world, in different stages of their UX journeys.

What I see so many of you need is an experienced, knowledgeable, approachable UX professional.

You need someone who is willing to answer your UX questions about tools, processes, and strategies.

You want someone who can relate those back to their real-life work, talking about what they do on a daily basis as a UX professional (which will inevitably involve a splash of humor and some super dank memes).

I may only get a chance to be one thing to the UX world.   If I can be all of this for you, this blog will have been worth it.