The internet is just a reflection of our modern society. Just like in real life, you have stores, places for entertainment, places to learn new things and places to just hang out with others who may have the same hobbies as you.
Also, like in society, there are both positive people and negative people.
In this story, I’ll be telling you about a positive person that changed my life, forever, that I’ve never met in-person.
Let’s start back in 2012, where I had a stable job working at a corporate office where I was doing some fun projects. My director at the time was pretty much hands-off and would let me have creative freedom over my designs. But obviously he would reign me back in whenever it seemed necessary. As for my other co-workers, they were really cool. Some were quirky and some were really nice to talk to. Also, at the time, I was planning for my wedding.
Things were going pretty great.
Then, around spring of 2013, our director decided to leave the company since he’s been there for 7 or 8 years. I was happy for him and thought that he deserved it. When the new director stepped in, things ran as usual. Nothing really changed.
In the summer of 2013, I found out about Webflow at a web design conference and was quickly hooked on it. At that time, I decided to help people on the Webflow forums on my free time. It was so fun to talk to and hang out online with people that also enjoyed building sites using Webflow.
Then towards the end of 2013, there was a huge project that needed to be done and ready by the beginning of January and I was in charge of designing and coding up the new homepage launch for a new product. I love challenges and worked my butt off to design, code and launch it. Others on the team had other things to update around the site and some of us, including myself, had to give up our holiday break (except for Christmas day) to get the project done.
After the project was launched, I felt proud to have helped build and launch something awesome. However, towards the summer of 2014 things started to change at work. Deadlines were coming in faster and designing for stakeholders became more of a priority than designing for the people who would actually use the website. This really chipped away at my soul because I would always design with the user in mind.
As time went on, I became more and more stressed working on projects that were no longer creative. Work was no longer something I could put my whole heart into.
Work just became… work. I used to go into work with a huge smile everyday, but then my smiles turned into confusion, then finally frustration.
In order to relieve some stress I would go on the Webflow forums. To me, that community actually cared about web design, UX and each other. Each night, I would find some new question to answer on the forum or try something new to do on the platform. Web design has always been my hobby since I was 13 and Webflow helped spark that love of web design in me since I first started using it.
During the last quarter of 2014, I was tasked to help with a major redesign of a section of the site. At first it started off as a very straightforward task, but as time went on the project got bigger and bigger and bigger. I became so stressed about the project and how I was just creating a page, just to create a page with no real thought behind it. The UX didn’t make sense and there were so many stakeholders telling us what to do.
To get the project done, I then decided to just close myself off from all my co-workers and work from a small meeting room with the door closed, so I could focus and work on the project. I worked from that small room for a month and only talked to my co-workers if I really needed to. I even made my own Kanban board with post-it notes in the room to keep track of my own progress.
During the end of 2014, I was the only one to work through the holiday break (except for Christmas) and my love for web design died after that project was completed. I started to look for another job and felt trapped as each job opportunity closed its door on me. Every night, I would go home crying and yelling to my wife about my work life. I even stopped helping people on the Webflow forums.
It got to the point where we both decided that I needed to see a therapist. After a couple of sessions I felt a bit better and gained the courage to keep working and not give up on my job search. I still didn’t like my that current job, but I still showed up.
Then one day, I got an email from the Webflow forums. It was a notification that I was mentioned in a thread.
It was because of that forum post, I decided to come back to the community and help others. Each solution I gave, each smile emoji and "thank you" response I received helped me through the days.
One month later, I get an email from Vlad (CEO of Webflow) and well, the rest is history :)
I want to thank Daniel for asking about me. I’ve never met the guy and have only seen him online, but if I ever get the chance to meet him in person, you bet that drinks will be on me.
If it wasn’t for his forum post, I don’t think I would have came back to the Webflow community, which then helped me get the job I’m at right now. That simple message showed that I was appreciated and cared about by someone, even if it was a random stranger.
Since I’ve been employed at Webflow, I’ve been doing everything I can to show that same appreciation and care for each Webflow community member I meet. I also hope that my actions help inspire others to care for someone as well.
Everyone at any given moment is dealing with something negative. Show one person you care about them everyday. A simple “hello”, “how are you?”, or “hope you’re doing well” can make a huge difference.
When you care for someone, even just for a little bit, who knows what huge positive impacts you may have on their lives.