On Resilience

On Resilience

Against wind and tide— Photo Credit by Pedro Sanz on Unsplash

With all the massive tech layoffs, I’ve been thinking about what ops people can help—short-term and long-term. 

To people who are affected

To people who are on the job

To the business and teams, we support

On resilience for folks who were affected by the layoffs

It is scary but possible to overcome, starting with Self-reflection. 

Think about what is my next chapter. Do I want to stay in the industry, or do I want to start something new and innovative? 

Layoffs always come as surprises. I was laid off twice in my career. The first time was during the dot com bust. Both my husband and I were laid-off at the same time; we bought a house in the bay area and had a newborn baby. What we decided was to start our own business. We ended up creating an award-winning vegan product focused company. The second time I was laid off from a full-time higher ed teaching post I loved, I took time to reflect and, with help from many people, re-entered the tech industry. Both experiences were challenging; both took a lot of research, planning, and iteration; both took the effort to work out an execution strategy.

Lesson learned from both experiences: I had a lot of people who supported me and helped me review my plans and discuss ideas. All it took was me doing the work and reaching out. 

So how can Designops help?

I always see my flavor of the Designops as the connecter. To help people affected by the layoffs, I’ve seen many design ops folks stand up, connecting folks with job opportunities, creating lists, posting, reposting jobs, offering mentorships, review resumés. Admittedly, it sucks; no matter how many times we’ve experienced it, it never gets easy. What we can do is be there. Help those who reached out to us, provide the support, and support them the way asked for.

On resilience for business and the folks on the job

With all the layoffs around, many folks feel unsafe about our job security. People might be left with a heavier workload, and team psychological safety is at an all-time low. It indeed came across my mind that if I spoke up, I would be the first to lose my job. 

So, as Designops, it is ever more crucial to focus on the following:

  • Leveling up the team skill-wise to help our people to grow and build a solid team culture.
  • Improving processes to ensure delivery efficiency.
  • Prioritize the most impactful work.

With all of the above, we help the team to focus on the most impactful work and demonstrate value. 

Leveling up the team skill-wise to help our people

Focus on the personal and professional growth of our team members.

For design leaders, Designops serve as trusted partners, and facilitate communication among leaders, teams, and partners, ensuring that priorities are understood, and feedback received.

For ICs, Designops serve as a trusted partners and help stabilize workflows and protect capacity. In addition, we foster professional growth for each team member, making sure that practitioners have the tools and skills they need to do their jobs within the business’s capability.

Improving processes to ensure delivery efficiency

Embrace scalable processes and foster healthy work rhythms. 

To deliver the right content at the right time to the right people, DesignOps can strategize and partner with the team to ensure we have the plans, the processes, and the tools to progress, adapt, and pivot in today’s accelerated pace of business and with widely distributed teams.

Continue iterating in our processes to achieve team and business effectiveness and efficiency—partners with design teams, product leadership, and individual contributors.

Prioritize the most impactful work

Focus on feasibility and value, ensuring the design team can deliver. Infuse design team values into every program and investment. Continue to promote design and product experience in the product (design) community.

There is undoubtedly value in product experience. DesignOps is to partners with design teams, design leadership, and individual contributors breaking down silos. DesignOps is to facilitate cross-product conversations and facilitate productive discussions as a whole.

While each of these roles requires unique solutions, DesignOps ensure the shared goal of business needs are met, and the design team is set up for success. 

On resilience overall

As a reminder for ourselves, the three essential points in resilience training defined by Susan Kobasa:  Challenges, Commitment, and Personal Control.

Challenges: Resilient people do not see problems as impossible to overcome but rather as challenges that will help them grow.

Commitment: Resilient people commit to their objectives and do not give up after the first failure but see each challenge as an opportunity to learn.

Personal control: Resilient people do not waste their time trying to change what they have no control over but instead focus on what they can do to affect positively. Personal control allows them to feel more empowered rather than defeated.

Face our challenges, commit to a plan, and focus on what we can change that is within our control. As DesignOps practitioners, we can also help those around us to follow these guidelines.

What are you and your ops team doing?


Here are some resources I’ve seen posted in the past weeks. 
This list created by Vince Teodoro has lots of resources.
(*added) Who is hiring by Ross Pomerantz
To call out a few that are special to me:
Looking for talents?
Google’s Area 120 UXR Lookbook #opentowork 
DesignOps assembly #Hire Me list
Job posting outside of LinkedIn

DesignOps assembly job channel
Rosenfeld media jobs channel
Design Leadership job board
Job search help for H-1Bs who’ve been laid off by Alison Go
Cameron Rout is calling all to consider Layoff Start-Ups.
Need someone to review your resumé?
DesignOps assembly help-me-to-help-you channel
A Designer’s Guide to Interviewing by Tanner Christensen
(*added) The Designers Tool Box by Nick Groeneveld 
A podcast to help job seekers, especially earlier career designers(Created by Ko Nakatsu and Shahrzad Samadzadeh): On being laid off

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