Jon Wood on Mentorship

Posted on December 30, 2020

Mentorship is a big topic in the design industry, and one should never underestimate the importance of having someone who’s been through it all to give you as unbiased a view as possible. But another knowledge opportunity young designers can often miss out on is leveraging their manager 1-1’s to facilitate career growth. But what’s the best way of doing so?

This is an excerpt from a conversation we had with history teacher-turned-Product Designer Jon Wood:

Keming: How should early-career designers be approaching their 1-1’s or mentorship sessions?

Jon: I’m a daydreamer myself. I’m always thinking about where I want to be 5 years from now when in reality, what’s going to really get me there is not just being passionate but saying hey—this week, I’m going to be incrementally better at visual design, research, user testing, understanding problems, communicating design solution. Big goals need to be broken down into smaller ones in order to be attainable.

What that looks like with your (manager) is saying: ‘I want to improve in this/that way so maybe in this week or the next two weeks, what can I work on to improve my understanding of design systems?’ Being able to just to chip at it, a little bit over a period of time is going to bring you far.

Want to hear the entire interview? Check out our podcast here, where we ask designers about what they do to stand out from other people in their field.