After a run of almost 3 years, this is my final day at Paylocity. As I was chatting with one of my squads about the transition last week, someone noted that I’ve always been the team optimist. To avoid getting choked up, I asked, “Do you know what the plural of y’all is?” I knew that nobody in that group was from the South, so I let the pause linger for a moment and then replied, “I’m going to miss all y’all.”
What an amazing ride it’s been! The photo at the top of this post was taken at our UX Summit in September of 2018. I had joined 3 months earlier as a remote designer for our Benefits Administration products, and this was the first time I’d met any of my colleagues in-person.
That seemed noteworthy at the time, but I’m grateful to have joined a team with an established remote culture before the pandemic. At Paylocity, that culture starts with the shared values that drive us forward:
- earn it, every day
- growth fuels opportunity
- think next generation
- live the reputation
- be unbeatable together
earn it every day
When I started, I could barely tell you the difference between a PPO and a HDHP, so the learning curve of designing solutions for benefits administrators was pretty steep. Luckily, I was paired with two of the best product owners I’ve ever worked with. Together with an amazing product category team, I had the opportunity to define some dream-big concepts that helped guide our short-term priorities. I drove out to the Lake Mary office to learn more about implementation, reached out to sales to learn how benefits was presented to potential clients, and found creative ways to recruit users to test our ideas with. In less than a year, I was promoted to UX Team Lead for the Benefits category.
growth fuels opportunity
That transition to UX Team Lead wasn’t the first time I found myself in a formal management role, but embracing the Radical Candor philosophy of challenging directly while caring personally helped me to become a better servant leader. Over the last 2 years, I’ve really come to love supporting product designers. I still enjoy diving into some deep product design problems myself from time to time, but designing through others is so much more rewarding.
Another aspect of my role that I really enjoyed was ramping up and improving our design hiring process. Working closely with the same amazing talent team member who interviewed me, I reviewed candidates and interviewed most of the product designers that Paylocity has hired over the last 2 years. I consider the diversity that I helped bring to the UX org to be one of my greatest accomplishments.
think next generation
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from over 11 years now in the SaaS product world, it’s that you have to develop a vision for the product(s) you’re designing for. If you’re always reacting to present needs, you’ll lose control of future direction. Having space to be proactive and find that present/future balance is what led to my success as an individual contributor, and it’s baked into the competencies that define career growth for product designers at Paylocity. We’re all UX generalists, we all wear whatever hats are necessary to improve the experience for our products, and we’re all working together to ensure consistency across Paylocity’s product suite.
live the reputation
From DOOW to TGIT, and DGL to CoP, there are so many Paylocity-isms that get blank stares when I try to explain them to family and even friends in the tech industry. What really matters most about Paylocity though is that the company culture is one of integrity and inclusion.
Even as a remote employee, I felt like I was contributing to something bigger than just an enterprise SaaS platform. There were so many opportunities for in-person interactions before COVID. I really enjoyed traveling to Schaumburg for our annual product and tech gathering, getting to meet face-to-face with users at our annual client conference, and representing Paylocity at a local Corporate 5k and a meal packing event for Feeding Children Everywhere.
be unbeatable together
While I’m excited about my next challenge, I’m going to miss my PCTY family. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside and share life with here. To Dan, Kyra, and my fellow UXTLs, you are all amazing leaders, mentors, and friends.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to all the amazing humans that I’ve had the privilege of serving as a manager for over the last 2 years. Stump, Jake, Kri, Craig, Brian, Ian, Ron, Jenifer, Lorraine, Aminah, Simon, Elliot—I’ve learned so much from each of you.
There are so many others who I’ve worked with over the years that have inspired and challenged me. I will never forget the lessons I’ve learned and the shared values I’ve come to live by.
Thank you, Paylocity!