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    Take a voluntary demotion and renew your energy once in a while

    Jimi Wikman

    As a manager you often work harder than anyone else in the team. Long hours, often after the workday has ended, or even weekdays sometimes, is unfortunately not uncommon. There are conflicts to be resolved and content switching that will make anyone exhausted. This is a sure way to burn yourself out if you let it and this is why it can be a good thing to take a voluntary demotion once in a while.

    This may sound like a terrible idea, but I have found that not only will a voluntary demotion renew your energy, it will reinvigorate your passion for the craft, update you with the latest changes to the craft as well as reconnect with the people you normally lead. It is also incredibly humbling to "step down" and I tend to feel a bit of relief as that fear of not being allowed to fail or loose my position goes away.

    For me I like to dive into the design part of my work. This is because I tend to spend time with test and requirements in my management role any way and I prefer to code with no pressure to deliver. I am also not very good with java script, which you pretty much must know inside and out these days.

    Design on the other hand is diverse and while the tools change over time, the fundamentals does not. The psychology behind stay the same, even if a few new studies may show interesting changes now and again. In no way is it as fast paced as the world of front end development or as complex as the testing the increasingly more complicated infrastructures of businesses today.

    It is also pretty much the opposite of management where you often feel that you have accomplished nothing at the end of the day. This is of course not true, but it's very hard to see concrete evidence of your work when you work with people all day. Design on the other hand is very obvious and it's amazing to see the things you can create using tools like Sketch or Photoshop.

    For me this works wonders to renew my energy and I try to add something like this in once every 2-3 years or so. It's usually short assignments, but that is just the way I like it. I did this for Svenska Färghus Gruppen that was even more amazing since I had two colleagues that were design leads and I was just a simple designer for a change. I learned a ton and had an amazing time, much thanks to my awesome collegues Victor Werning and Camilla Romander that took me under their wings.

    Currently I work  with ChessIT as a digital designer and again I am having a blast. I am diving into Sketch with new eyes as this is a time sensitive assignment so things must be done quickly. Creating dynamic symbols and font styles is key here. It's also locked down as the front end framework is already in place so I have to work within that constraint. It's a challenge and I am just loving the fact that even if it's fast paced I do not get stressed and I love every minute of it.

    As a side effect of taking these design assignments I not only get to be creative for a change, I also stumble upon new tools and work processes which is going to benefit me greatly in future management assignments. It is truly a win-win situation as I get renewed energy, feel happier and also grow my knowledge and understanding of design with hands on experience.

    I also get much needed time to reflect and I recently wrote about being caught in my own mental trap. This is that feeling where you fear loosing income or position because it would somehow make me less successful. It's a silly thought because position or level of income does not define your worth or your level of success. It also paralyze you and make you afraid of failing. As failing is the basis of growth and learning that lock you in a self imposed vacuum, which makes you miserable.

    So, if you have the opportunity to demote yourself then I suggest you take it. Take a step back and relive the passion that once led to the management position in the first place. Let go of your ego, release your fear of failure and once more become the student so you can grow, as a professional as well as an individual.

    I promise it will be worth it.


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