The Long Distance Saga: IxD Edition

An Interaction Designer's experience joining us during a global pandemic.

The Long Distance Saga: IxD Edition

By Ronak Mokashi

The moment COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, and slowly the world started going on lockdowns, many were forced to work from home. It’s true — Many of us are privileged to be able to work from the comfort of our own homes. The monotony is welcome if it means we’re actually staying safe.

All those offline office routines were brought online. We were making peace with it, thinking naively that it might only last for a few months. But, boy, were we so wrong about it.

So, I could either continue staying put, or could work on realising my Bangalore dream. The truth is, I’ve always wanted to move to this city. Working in/around big tech companies has been my lifelong dream. I can really see myself learning and growing more in such surroundings. And thus, my quest began.

A blessing in disguise?

I was skeptical about hunting for a job during a pandemic — for obvious reasons. The uncertainty of the job market, the remote processes, etc. As fate had it, I landed an interview with the Gojek Design team. It still blows my mind how the team has scaled up the design for 20+ products and excelled in different disciplines of design.

With this, Bangalore seemed closer than it actually was.

The process

This journey started with portfolio screening, followed by portfolio interviews, a case study round, and a bar raiser round to top it all. The People Partner had explained to me the entire interview experience thoroughly and was vouching for me through all the rounds. (Read more about the interview process here.)

It finally received the call I’d been waiting for — I was going to help build the Gojek Super App!

The IxD journey

I joined Gojek as an Interaction Designer in February 2021. I was a little bit unsure of how the experience would be meeting new colleagues on video calls rather than an actual office setting. Would it be awkward? Would I be left out to figure out how things work in Gojek? I was ready for all the possibilities.

I was wrong. The first introductory call that I had with the team was really fun. We have this unique way of introducing each one of the team members. Instead of giving a self-introduction, we were asked to introduce someone else from the team. Being new to the team, I certainly knew nothing about anyone. I picked one of the teammates randomly and it was comedy of errors!

Gojek also has a buddy program for all the new recruits where you’re assigned a buddy: a fellow team member who will help you in your initial months at Gojek, right from the onboarding phase to getting to know your work.

Even now, my buddy helps me understand certain nitty-gritties of the team and our very own Asphalt Aloha design system. Every day is a new revelation when you’re working with passionate designers.

For the initial few weeks, I was being a “social butterfly”. Listening to all the conversations happening around me, taking some notes here and there. I still remember picking up my first ticket, working on it, and closing it with a feeling of fulfilment. And what’s cool about this ticketing system is that everyone gets a chance to work on all the 20+ products that are in the Gojek ecosystem.

I was also introduced to the concept of streams inside our Interaction Design Team, which contributed to a certain discipline of design. To give you more context, we have 5 streams inside the team itself:

  • Visual Design
  • Prototyping
  • Accessibility
  • Documentation
  • Evangelism

We’re encouraged to join at least a couple of streams and we’re free to choose.

I am an active part of the Prototyping and the Documentation stream. Almost a month had passed by and work had started getting usual for me. My peers were constantly in touch with me through Slack and Zoom calls, making sure that I don’t feel left out. All of my skepticism had passed by this time. I was very well settled in, initiating conversations on my own, helping at the stream’s work, and growing with the team.

It’s been eight months and counting. Now I even know the names of every pet my teammates have. Oh yes, it seems like we’ve been a long distant group that’s known each other for so long and are just waiting to meet each other soon.

With an ecosystem this large, work moves swiftly here and we’re constantly delivering something. I am either working on my tickets or helping other teams to optimise the flow. It’s been a fantastic experience being a part of different streams and projects. Now my only wish for a short term would be things going back to normal and meeting all of my folks at the office!

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