employees

How Vulnerable Should You Be in the Workplace?

by Jenny Szakonyi
Sr. Recruiter, projekt202

Jenny

When you think of how the generations have changed, we went from a very silent generation, to now a very open and “share everything” generation. So how do we determine the best candidates for our company?

Social media has opened up a whole new light to what we reveal in our personal and professional lives, but when is it too much?

This leads me to the topic of vulnerability. Is being vulnerable “being too open?” Or putting yourself out there “too much?” Let’s look at this in terms of the workplace.

Brene’ Brown’s article in Forbes -- “How Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better” -- talks about the challenges of measuring this vulnerability and the fears that people often face thinking about this in its true form. What’s more important, and why I write this article, is, what about vulnerability in our professional life? We may often hear things like, to be loved you must give love, or love with risk, or a great relationship comes from true vulnerability, but what about how it affects us at work? Is it a good idea to be vulnerable in the workplace and, if so, how much?

There are many myths about vulnerability that have been reported on this topic, such as vulnerability means weakness, vulnerability means to air all of our dirty laundry or being vulnerable means you get to opt out.

So let’s think about the real definition of this word. Vulnerability is showing up and being seen, and not fearing what the results will be or how others will respond. It doesn’t mean we hurt or offend others, but rather we have the courage to act, and we take risk by being true to ourselves and our own character.

Is this a good idea in the workplace?

As a corporate recruiter, one thing I have learned is to stop looking for the “perfect” candidate. When I first started my career as a recruiter, I was often told I would get “candidate crushes” as I talked them up to my hiring managers. I would reveal a long list of things that this candidate did or qualities they had in an effort to “sell” this candidate based on their credentials.

But as I grew into my role, I began to see that it was the imperfections, or the “vulnerability,” in the candidate that made them an even better consideration. It doesn’t mean I hire someone who has several flaws, but it means I am more interested in the candidate who isn’t afraid to share their challenges or their struggles, and how they overcame them.

We have to be willing to be vulnerable ourselves in order to get it on the receiving end. Here are some of the qualities that vulnerability births:

  • Courage
  • Empathy
  • Trust
  • Change
  • Communication
  • Accountability
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Problem solving
  • Feedback
  • Joy
  • A sense of belonging

As hiring managers, if we aren’t vulnerable in our own approach, we won’t recruit candidates who are more likely to have these qualities. These are all qualities we want in our company from our top performers.

So how do we as recruiters and hiring managers find these people, and how do we as candidates ensure we’re being as vulnerable as we can in our interviewing process?

We have to be willing to take a risk and we have to be willing to fail. There is zero innovation without failure. Top performers in companies most often have stories of failures. Many of them had to struggle in order to get where they are. As a company, we want to allow “opportunity” for these failures in order to find the qualities that make top performers. We identify that these struggles and challenges often are talent that is transformed to becoming resilient, self-reliant, with great purpose, very driven, incredibly dedicated, and problem solvers.

Once we begin to weed through the “perfect” resumes, or perfect credentials, we no longer risk overlooking qualified candidates who are vulnerable enough to show their struggles and true selves. It doesn’t mean we look for people who often make mistakes and forget about the good folks; it just means we get “real” and look at who people are, and not only about what they’ve done.

A personal experience I’ll share about my own vulnerability was how I became a recruiter. I was working part-time in a completely different role and one day decided I wanted more hours. The budget wasn’t there and I didn’t have any experience in most of the other roles available, so I didn’t see much option. When I saw that our HR department needed assistance, I thought perhaps I could increase my hours by offering my time there. It took me a while to ask because I was actually afraid I’d get turned down. I feared, since I knew absolutely nothing about HR at the time, that I may fail at it. I wasn’t sure I should take the risk of putting myself out there.

Instead, I decided to be vulnerable and honest about what I wanted. I stepped out, showed up, and told it how it was: “I don’t know anything about HR yet or if I’ll be any good at it, but I’d love to have the additional hours to help the company more.” That opened up the opportunity to take on HR tasks. A year later, I moved into full-time recruiting.

Without stepping out there, I would not be doing what I am today. Without the company being willing to take a risk, I would not have had that opportunity.

So how vulnerable should we be in the workplace? There are boundaries and it isn’t necessary to be a victim, but we need to be vulnerable enough to allow our true character to shine. Vulnerability creates a natural desire for striving, but not for the purpose of perfectionism or for the sake of others, but for the sake of self-improvement.

We as both employers and employees have to figure out what’s keeping us out of the arena, what do we fear about it, and why do we fear it?

We are quick to critique others on their weaknesses, but the critic is usually the one who won’t step into the arena. As a vulnerable person, you must be “all in,” and you must embrace both victory and defeat. It’s the only thing I believe will promote the top performers we want in the workplace.

So, for every recruiter or hiring manager, open up the doors for vulnerability. For candidates looking for opportunity, be willing to reveal your greatest challenges and struggles, and step into the arena and be seen.

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projekt202's Thought Leaders Provide Direction on UX, Strategy and More

Some of projekt202's Thought Leaders -- representing key areas such as User Experience (UX) Design, Technology, and Experience Strategy, among many others -- broadcast their expertise in solving complex challenges facing today's businesses. Their presentations were recorded this week as part of projekt202's new Thought Leadership series. The videos showcase the experts behind projekt202's methodology and holistic approach to experience-driven application development.

Solutions Architect Ben Bays hits his mark for his recording session, as Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson looks on.
Solutions Architect Ben Bays hits his mark for his recording session, as Vice President of Customer Experience Jeremy Johnson looks on.
Senior Experience Strategist Shannon Graf is one of the Thought Leaders in projekt202's new video series.
Senior Experience Strategist Shannon Graf is one of the Thought Leaders in projekt202's new video series.
Bringing focus to the ways projekt202 leads in experience-driven application development.
Bringing focus to the ways projekt202 leads in experience-driven application development.
Assembling a great design isn't child's play. Senior UX Designer Josh Christopher, UX Designer Anne Grundhoefer and Solutions Architect Drew Loomer share their creativity in helping companies deliver better solutions for customers.
Assembling a great design isn't child's play. Senior UX Designer Josh Christopher, UX Designer Anne Grundhoefer and Solutions Architect Drew Loomer share their creativity in helping companies deliver better solutions for customers.

Learn more about what we do at projekt202.

Career Growth: Investing in Employee Success

A key reason for projekt202's standing as a Top Place to Work is the recognition of our team members' strengths, talents and career interests.

projekt202 Project Coordinator Carly Lord
projekt202 Project Coordinator Carly Lord

Project Coordinator Carly Lord describes her career path and responsibilities at projekt202:

I started at projekt202 as the Dallas Office Manager. From there, I became involved in the Experience Strategy and Insight (ESI) practice by assisting in the creation and operation of our Usability Lab in Dallas.

Exposure to projects that came through the lab led me to recognize an opportunity within the Project Management practice. Leveraging my skill set and background, I was promoted to a Project Coordinator, where I have been busy every hour of every day since.

In any of the roles I've held at projekt202, I've worked very hard to be the person that people come to in order to solve miscellaneous problems. When you are mortar and not so much a brick, you end up with a wide range of responsibilities that puts you in the face of many diverse challenges.

To be successful, you have to be transparent, kind and proactive. If you do all those things, there is no such thing as a challenge.

projekt202 has invested in me with trainings, certification classes and mentorship opportunities. They have put their belief in me to be accountable for the success of a client's investment and satisfaction with their experience at projekt202. That kind of investment and confidence is something I'm grateful for every day.

Leverage your skills and talents as part of our team. See projekt202's opportunities in Seattle, Austin and Dallas.

Career Growth: Making the Move with projekt202

 

"I knew that moving to projekt202 was the right move for my career. What I didn't know at the time, though, was how impactful the job was going to be for me."

projekt202 has been a moving experience for Senior UX Designer Jerehmie Cannon.

projekt202 Senior UX Designer Jerehmie Cannon
projekt202 Senior UX Designer Jerehmie Cannon

Jerehmie headed in a new direction -- northwest, to be exact -- with the opening of projekt202's Seattle office in 2013.

"The relocation was great and everyone in the Seattle office -- four people at the time -- really went out of their way to make sure I was set up with everything I needed on a personal level," he said. "The move to Seattle was seamless and now I'm fortunate enough to learn how to grow a fledgling office."

On the professional level, too, Jerehmie said projekt202 has provided him with exciting new challenges and opportunities:

I've gone from being a Senior Designer with basic delivery responsibilities to completely owning projects from start to finish.

projekt202 is great about figuring out where people fit best. Our leadership has a knack for asking and inferring what each of us really want out of our careers. They foster an environment that is flexible enough to let us figure our own way.

I have been fortunate enough to work with huge clients, but the level of talent at projekt202 is so high that I'm constantly challenged to be a better designer, consultant and professional.

Jerehmie has impressive UX design expertise, but that isn't his only skill. He took center stage with serious musical talents at projekt202's 2016 Employee Appreciation Gala.
Jerehmie has impressive UX design expertise, but that isn't his only skill. He took center stage with serious musical talents at projekt202's 2016 Employee Appreciation Gala.

Ready to make the next move in your career? Find your opportunity to join us in Seattle, Austin or Dallas.

Career Growth: Design Your Opportunities at projekt202

 

"I fully believe leaders aren't chosen -- they're made. projekt202 presents a lot of opportunities and you just have to be willing and persistent enough to go get them."

One of the many perks of working at projekt202 is the ongoing opportunity for advancement. Employees aren't boxed into specific roles; in fact, team members are encouraged to embrace their professional passions and think outside the box when it comes to their career paths and roles.

Senior UX Designer Lan Nguyen shared the career development opportunities she's found at projekt202:

When I started, I was told that I would be given a lot of autonomy, which still holds true today. I've been encouraged to take on more responsibility outside my job title.

projekt202 has been very encouraging for me. I am in two mentorship programs: one with projekt202 leadership and one with (Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer) Peter Eckert, who works specifically with the UX team.

I've been able to grow very fast and far in the 15 months that I've been with the company. It's really all about what you want to do and the impact you'd like to make.

Do you have designs on a new career? See our current opportunities in Seattle, Austin and Dallas.

Career Growth: projekt202's Roadmap for Personal and Professional Success

 

"Engagement. Opportunities. Advancement. Those are three motivational differences that set projekt202 apart."

These significant characteristics have made projekt202 the employer of choice for Solutions Architect Reggie Samuel and our team of talented, dedicated professionals. Reggie shared the ways that projekt202 stands out:

In my nearly three years with projekt202, I have experienced unique opportunities that have grown me professionally and personally. Beginning as a Senior Developer and having since been promoted to Architect, where I now manage a small group of Developers, I have had the opportunity to hone my communication skills and succinctly relate our vision to my team.

projekt202 has a well-laid-out roadmap for its employees to develop their skill sets and build knowledge for career advancement, be engaged in the work they perform, and receive incentives for outstanding employee performance.

With projekt202's Martin Bliss and Karen King, Reggie discussed his work during a recent Career Day in Mesquite.
With projekt202's Martin Bliss and Karen King, Reggie discussed his work during a recent Career Day in Mesquite.

Map out your career as part of the projekt202 team. See our current opportunities in Seattle, Austin and Dallas.

projekt202 Announces Executive Promotions in Austin

Peter Eckert, Michael Blakesley, Dennis Van Huffel and Paul Tidwell
Peter Eckert, Michael Blakesley, Dennis Van Huffel and Paul Tidwell


Fast-growing projekt202 has announced senior leadership promotions on its Austin team.

Michael Blakesley has been named Vice President of User Experience (UX), Dennis Van Huffel is Austin's new Director of UX and Paul Tidwell steps up as Vice President of Technology.

Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer Peter Eckert will take on added responsibilities as projekt202 Ambassador, increasing his industry outreach to actively promote the company's programmatic, observation-based methodology. Peter will drive strategic guidance for clients and present his renowned, industry-defining insights on national and international tech stages.

A Night of StartUp Stand-Up at Digital Dallas Comedy Roast

projekt202 sponsored a standout night of stand-up comedy on April 20.

The Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum was the site for the Digital Dallas StartUp Comedy Roast. Digital Dallas teamed with Launch DFW to host -- and then roast -- five new North Texas companies.

Each of the five Dallas startups had two minutes to impress the crowd. The DCH improv troupe then piped in with its comedic take for a truly unique type of user experience.

Work Perks Up with These Benefits

Recent research from career platform Glassdoor found that more than half (57%) of people said benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job. At projekt202, we recognize and appreciate that our talented professionals have made us their employer of choice.

projekt202 offers great benefits such as:

 

  • Nine paid holidays
  • 18 days of paid time off (PTO) annually (after five years of service, you earn an additional five PTO days)
  • A private “Mom’s Room” for nursing mothers
  • Professional development and training opportunities
  • Monthly face-to-face welcome luncheons for new employees with projekt202 Chairman and CEO David Lancashire and Chief Experience Officer Peter Eckert
  • Casual dress
Our Dallas team gets into the holly jolly spirit for our holiday sweater contest.
Our Dallas team gets into the holly jolly spirit for our holiday sweater contest.
  • Plenty of free food, drinks and refreshments
  • Employee Referral Bonus Program
  • New Business Referral Program
  • Staff appreciation events, such as monthly birthday celebrations and holiday parties
  • Opportunities to attend key professional tech conferences, such as Big Design, SXSW Interactive and the Front Porch Conference

As one of the fastest-growing, Top Places to Work, projekt202 is a great company to share your talents and hone your craft. We need leaders everywhere in our mission to make software make sense and improve the digital experiences that people are having in our ever-connected world.

If you’re passionate about what you do, we’d love to speak with you. Check out our career opportunities in Seattle, Austin and Dallas.

2016 Top Female Executive Awards

Aliza Gold, projekt202's Vice President of Experience Strategy and Insight, was recognized for her nomination to the 2016 Top Female Executive Awards.

Nominees were honored at an awards luncheon on March 2 in Addison.

The Top Female Executive Awards recognize women who conduct outstanding business and positively influence clients, employees and peers.

Vote for Aliza Gold in 2016 Top Female Executive Awards

We're proud to share that projekt202's VP of Experience Strategy and Insight Aliza Gold has been nominated for the 2016 Top Female Executive Awards.

These awards recognize women who conduct outstanding business and positively influence clients, employees and peers. Winners will be announced at the 2016 Top Female Executive Awards Luncheon on March 2, but voting closes Feb. 19.

Please join us in voting for Aliza for this honor.

2016 Party, Part 4: Rockin' the House of Blues

The 2016 all-staff party ended on a great note -- several great notes, in fact. Members of the projekt202 team stepped into the spotlight to share their musical talents at the after-party jam session.

Watch video highlights

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the festivities at the House of Blues and to everyone who has been part of our journey.

2016 Party, Part 1: Red Carpet Arrivals

2016 Party, Part 2: Let the Festivities Begin

2016 Party, Part 3: The Award Goes to ...

2016 Party, Part 3: The Award Goes to ...

12615387_945432932178344_7290576426712965364_oAs the party continued, it came time for projekt202 CEO and Chairman David Lancashire and Chief Experience Officer and Co-Founder Peter Eckert to take the stage for award presentations. The duo recognized employees for outstanding achievements across the full spectrum of projekt202's services and toasted to a successful year ahead.

Watch video highlights

2016 Party, Part 2: Let the Festivities Begin

The festivities were red-hot in the House of Blues. With plenty of delicious food (seriously, the bacon-wrapped dates were heavenly), flowing cocktails and equally flowing conversations, projekt202's annual party was well underway.

Emerald City set the mood and got partygoers jazzed up. Named "Entertainers of the Year" by the Dallas Morning News and D Magazine, Emerald City is renowned for its sound as one of the best live party bands in Dallas.

Naturally, it wasn't long before the projekt202 team decided to show off some sweet moves on the dance floor.

Watch video highlights

2016 Party, Part 1: Red Carpet Arrivals

projekt202 launched 2016 on a stylish note over the weekend.This year’s all-staff party was held at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas. The projekt202 team united to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and look ahead to continued success in 2016.

It was also a time to thank and recognize spouses, partners, family members and significant others. Their support makes a positive impact in propelling the projekt202 team's work.

Before the main festivities, attendees took a stroll down the red carpet. Enjoy this look at some of the talented, fabulous folks who make projekt202 such a fun place to work.