My Journey (part 5) : The not-so-creative engineer

* See part 4 here  *

Snapshots from my life as an engineer 

The years following my graduation was a major shift. I was mostly focused on doing my job during the week and recovering on the weekend. It was the quintessential 9 to 5 office job. This is where I realize that having a degree in engineering was just the beginning. I was still learning from senior engineers and technicians who had a lot more experience than me. I didn't really draw anything at my job, not even floor plans. My work mostly consisted of plan analysis, computer programming, site visits, attending conferences, taking multiple certification workshops and tests, creating powerpoint presentations and writing reports. Still I managed to find little creative outlets within my work and outside of work to feed my creative side. 


The most creative thing I could do while working as an engineer was to draft the occasional articles for professional magazines and create and design documents for clients, awards, powerpoint presentations and courses for peers. 

During my time there, I co-wrote two articles for the Canadian Consulting Engineer Magazine and two more for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. That was the extent of my creative outlets at work. 

Some of the articles I co-wrote for engineering magazines


I still needed to do something creative outside of work. I tried a couple things to figure out what was missing because although I enjoyed my job and was grateful to finally start earning a decent income, something was missing. So I joined a martial art class and learned Win Chung Kung Fu for a bit. Then transitioned to Dancehall dance classes where we would do shows at the end of the sessions. The most fun part was when I got to participate in the Caribana festival in Montreal. 

Rare sketches made during that period

I dabbled in various creative projects trying to figure out what was missing.  I explored photography for a bit. I attempted to create greeting cards for clients but quickly stopped after a bad deal. I attempted to collaborate on creating a video game that didn't work out. I even thought about going back to school to complete a digital arts degree but the timing didn't aligned. Something was brewing in me to do more and I couldn't figure it out. I was creatively restless.

For some reason, simply drawing was no longer enough. That's probably why I don't have a lot of drawings and sketches from that time period. I had lost part of my creative self while getting into the engineering workforce, and drawing for the sake of drawing didn't feel like a responsible thing for me to do at that stage of my life. If I was going to be drawing, it needed to be practical. 

Eventually I found out about the International School of Design and Technology offering creative degrees for night time students. I thought about enrolling into the graphic design program but settled for the interior design because I thought it would complement my building engineering degree. Since I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid, I figured the average of having a building engineering degree and an interior design degree would be close enough. It was a roundabout way for me to bring art back into my life.

So I enrolled in the 2-year program as a full-time night student. I would work full-time during the day (sometimes bringing work at home at night and on weekends) and I go to school almost every night of the week and proceeded to do homework whenever I could find time late at night and on the weekend.  It was intense but I was determined. Little did I know when I first joined the program, that it was going to get even more intense. This decision was the beginning of a pivotal moment that catapulted me into a completely new direction in life. I was entering a new era.

More about this in the next entry :)