Taking charge, and dealing with vulnerability when you no longer get to work with the best boss in the world.

If you are reading this, then you most likely have worked for a kick-ass manager, and you know exactly where this article is heading. We’ll begin with a personal story to set the context, followed by actions you could take, and end with the impact it can potentially have in your work life.

Photo by Muhmed El-Bank on Unsplash

Part 1: Context

The tech industry has been my work place for close to a decade now. And, during this time, I’ve had the opportunity to work with different managers who had their unique styles of leadership and how they dealt with teams (for better or for worse). It was…


How my Design Manager inspired me to become better at my craft.

A designer patting his brown dog that is seated next to his desk.
A designer patting his brown dog that is seated next to his desk.
Photo by DEVN on Unsplash

It’s been about a year since I started working at Atlassian. And, it took me almost a decade to meet a design manager I’d finally call, my most favorite!

Ash Sterzenbach (who now no longer works at our organization) is some one who is super passionate about her practice, genuinely cares about the team, is kick-ass at her craft, used to be a brilliant IC (Individual Contributor) during her early days, and most importantly, knows her sh*t! …


Ways to organize your calendar and reclaim your ‘Focus-Time’

‘Zoom fatigue’ is a term that isn’t alien to today’s remote world and there are numerous articles published on the internet on how to battle it effectively. With this essay we will be focusing on ways to organize our calendars better as individuals and teams so that we aren’t overwhelmed with those endless meetings in the form of stand up calls, team retros, 1:1s, design critiques, leadership meetings etc, and find time to actually focus on doing hands-on work.

Photo by Josh Duke on Unsplash

The teams at my organization are distributed across geographies and time zones just like any other global tech firm. …


How a simple act of opening up your calendar, can contribute towards a more friendlier design community.

Youngster wearing a hat and headphones wrapped around his neck, is in deep thoughts.
Youngster wearing a hat and headphones wrapped around his neck, is in deep thoughts.
Photo by Eduardo Vázquez on Unsplash

Final year design graduates were impacted in a big way during the early days of the COVID pandemic, and they still are. Students were loosing internship opportunities, job offers were being cancelled, promising startups were shutting shop, grads were not having industry mentors to guide them with their final year projects, students who were supposed to be traveling abroad for higher education were in a soup.. there was a lot of uncertainty in the air!

I never was a ‘LinkedIn person’ until then. And being well aware of the fact that I can’t give people jobs either, I began my…


Ways to deal with the skepticism of giving up the studio space and moving in with your project teams.

3 people having a discussion at one of their work desks.
3 people having a discussion at one of their work desks.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Design, in the world of tech, has only matured over the years. From being mere ‘pixel pushers’ or ‘people who beautify screens’.. to becoming that elite group that works out of a fancy studio space and constantly keeps emphasising on why design thinking is important while building products.. to a point where some organisations have reached a certain level of ‘design maturity’ that their design teams are embedded with their engineering and product management counterparts to foster better cross-functional collaboration, speed and agility. Different models work for different contexts, and our world has seen it all!

As exciting as this…


Tips to deal with the nerve wrecking experience of calculating your bank balance endlessly as a student

Three ladies smiling and having a chat while sitting in a flower garden
Three ladies smiling and having a chat while sitting in a flower garden
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The decision to study abroad is a big one. Sure, moving to a new country can be overwhelming especially if it’s your first time traveling abroad. Anxiety a.k.a excitement during your first month is a given!

Have I invested in the right course? Is my faculty going to be any good?.. Should I have chosen the shared apartment that was a few miles away for a cheaper rate than this student accommodation?.. What kind of people am I going to meet in class?.. Am I going to experience any kind of racism in this city?..

There are a lot of…


Here’s why you shouldn’t take rejections or offers too seriously.

Young man looking up at the blue sky
Young man looking up at the blue sky
Photo by Matese Fields on Unsplash

With the industry going through a rough patch, and design students having a lot of anxiety about securing a job or taking up higher education at a foreign university etc, I thought I should share a story about one of my big rejections as a newbie in the world of design. There have been several rejections in the past, but this ones ingrained in time.

It was the year 2009, and I decided to try a hand at Design. I had no mentors.. was pursuing an undergraduate degree that was super irrelevant to what I wanted to do in life…


The realization that every individual is as vulnerable and human as our very own selves.

An office set up where a young man is looking over a colleague’s desktop while she is explaining her work to him.
An office set up where a young man is looking over a colleague’s desktop while she is explaining her work to him.
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

This isn’t another “Tips on working remotely” or “How to manage your time better while working from home” sort of an article. There is more than enough content out there, and a lot more people have started sharing Zoom-screenshots on how awesome their teams are functioning today. Hence, we wont be discussing any of that.

It’s been a little over three weeks ever since organizations around the world decided to go remote. My personal realization during this tenure has been about how we’ve failed to see the human side of our colleagues at the workplace all these years. And, this…


Staying ahead of the pack

This essay is targeted mostly towards design graduates, those that are new to the industry or basically anybody who wants to give their job applications an edge above the rest of the pack.

Image of a young man wearing black wireless headphones and is deeply focused on his macbook that is in front of him.
Image of a young man wearing black wireless headphones and is deeply focused on his macbook that is in front of him.
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Grad-hiring usually happens in two ways:

  1. Apply via job portals like LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc; or directly on the company’s websites just like any other job aspirant.
  2. Campus placements / Job Fairs — A system where students, approximately about a 100 of them share their interest to a certain company(s) from the ones their college is associated with. The Design Leads along with the Design Manager then evaluate…


To every newbie out there clicking on that ‘Apply’ button a thousand times.

Photo by Dmitriy Frantsev on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered what was happening to your application? Why are companies just not calling back? The purpose of this article is to give you a basic understanding of the recruitment process and hopefully help you prepare better. So, what really happens once you click that “Apply” button?

This essay is intentionally crafted to be super basic since it is dedicated to all you freshers and graduates in the design world who are hoping to land their first jobs.

Note: This might not necessarily be what all organizations follow, but majority of them follow processes in similar lines. Having…

Kasinatha Rao

Senior Designer at Atlassian. I write about design and the role of a designer in the tech industry.

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