A Realistic Career Pivot Mini-Story

A Former Teacher’s Reflection

Kaila Thomas
3 min readSep 24, 2021
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

It was about this time 4 years ago, a new school year had started and I was already tired (little did I know I’d be pregnant a couple of months later and tired for a whole new reason.)

I loved working with my students and making a difference in their lives. The vibrancy of dealing with little people growing curious about life and navigating their little worlds was invigorating. But I was tired of the stress of balancing between evaluations, writing reports, testing, meetings versus actually teaching and creating engaging lessons. I knew I wanted to get it out of the classroom and move into UX design but I wasn’t sure how.

At A Crossroads

I decided to enroll in an instructional design certificate program thinking it was a good segue into my ultimate goal. It was in this program where I discovered some new affordable graphic design tools and the design passion floodgates were opened! I took these new skills and tools to the classroom, creating visual aids and graphics for my students. Honestly, my graphic design skills weren’t great at the time — color theory and typography being poorly executed–but I kept going because I loved what I was doing. By the end of the school year, I had a whole new reason to keep going in this new direction.

Where Am I

Now, here I am. I started my own business, Eight Nine Design, as a way to help me gain the skills and real-world experience needed to break into UX design. My overall design ability has improved tremendously as I’ve taken course after course and practiced non-stop over these years. I’ve gained a good overall sense of the UX process and have implemented those principles at some level in all of my design projects. I’ve also gained skills in coding. I know HTML basics, quite a bit of CSS and I can implement pre-written JavaScript into a project.

When I first determined that I was going to go into UX design I had this idea of becoming a design/development unicorn and while I can’t say that I am at that stage, I will say that I have a clear understanding of the design and the development cycle and how those two roles work together. That’s something I’m extremely proud of because I did this on my own I did this by myself and I stuck with it after disappointment after rejection after feeling like I’m never going to be the person I want to be. I know a lot more than I did 4 years ago and that’s something to celebrate.

If you’re thinking of pivoting into a different role or in the midst of a pivot and you feel like it’s not going where you want it to go, keep at it! There’s something deep down inside you, a strong desire within you to make a change in your life and that’s not going to go away, but it will take time to start to see it come to fruition and it may not all unfold the way that you anticipate. Enjoy where you are, recognize where you’ve been, where you’re going, and keep looking toward the future.



Kaila Thomas

I’m a Brand + Web Designer helping #mompreneurs elevate their brand through thoughtful design so they feel confident growing their businesses.