Ivanka Majic works in technology. She was Head of Design for Ubuntu, service managed Digital Marketplace through to beta, was acting director of digital for the Labour Party. She lives in Brighton, works mostly on digital transformation projects in London, does a bit of teaching at Sussex University, and works with her husband on projects like restaurantsbrighton.co.uk and the BRAVOs. She has also started a podcast with her friend Michael which you can listen to at grandpodcast.com. Ivanka is a trustee at Brighton Natural Health Centre.
My name is Ivanka Majic.
I am the eldest of three. My mother is English, my late father a Croat from Bosnia and Herzegovina. My parents taught me two and a half languages, two cultures, how to milk a goat, waltz, do magic tricks with maths, make clothes, cook, lay bricks, ‘lefty loosey, righty tighty’, how to laugh and much much more.
Laughing is important.
I was born in Birmingham, UK and lived there until I was eight. We went to live in Yugoslavia in 1982 and left very early one Tuesday morning in 1991. They told me we were going back to the UK on the Saturday night. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. We crossed the border into Austria and my father turned round and blew raspberries at the Yugoslav border. At the lofty age of 16 I was very glad not to be there in a war but I found it very hard as the letters slowly ceased and the war reporting increased.
War changes everything.
My mother spoils me. She is 70 and has travelled around the world. She went overland from London to Singapore, went to Australia, New Zealand and then South America.
I love my mother.
My father died when I was 20. I am not sure if he spoilt me. He put a lot of effort into making sure I would grow up to be independent. I still miss him. He was a massive character in my life.
Death is final.
I admit that, from time to time, I wonder about the what-ifs. What if there hadn’t been a war? What if my parents had never moved to Yugoslavia? What if my father hadn’t died? What if I hadn’t bought that flat with that guy? What if they hadn’t died? What if I hadn’t lost touch with her? What if this guy really was the love of my life and I didn’t know?
‘What ifs’ can be difficult.
I think I am very lucky. I find people and how they interact with the world around them fascinating. Designing user experiences remains rewarding and interesting because technology is always changing, what is ‘normal’ is always changing, and yet, people are fundamentally always the same.
Work can be play.