I often get asked by several people how I manage my full-time job, masters in mechanical engineering, blogging and personal life.
I never really had an answer until I sat myself down and actually thought about it…
*FAQ’s answered at the end
How did I get into Mechanical Engineering?
My dad is an Engineer (Electrical Engineer to be specific) and my mom works at one of the Fortune 500 companies (involves a lot of ‘business’). Ever since I was a child, I was more inclined towards what dad was doing – even if it was just hammering a nail on the wall or mending some lights. I loved to draw and paint too. I wouldn’t be an adolescent/teenager who’d sit and watch TV, I would instead pick up scrap materials or plaster of Paris and create sculptures, houses, little figurines, 3D cards, face paint, charcoal paint, do nail art and so much more.
With age, my interest in objects, broken items, and scrap materials started to grow (lol). I also always found myself watching ‘How it’s made’ and to conclude, simply loved science or the art of creation. Along with this, I was the volleyball team caption of my school team, learning Karate (I’m now a black belt) and doing my Trinity Examination in Music.
The biggest decision I had to take was right before I stepped into college. Should I take mechanical or architectural engineering? After a lot of research, I figured Mechanical Engineering was the best field for me since it touches all types of engineering. After I graduated, I actually ended up working at one of the Top 20 MEP Engineering Companies in the Middle East (and guess what, I was doing what an architectural AND mechanical engineer does 🙂 )
How did I start blogging?
Post getting my driving license, I started exploring the different desserts available in town while I was pursuing my bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. At that point in time, 2 years back, I did not know blogging was even considered a thing in Dubai. I created my Instagram account and posted everything I ate. That’s how it all started, the key was my undying love for desserts and love for eating! I just wanted everyone to see the amazing desserts I’m indulging in, in a similar fashion how we all would share our vacation/family pictures online.
Within a month or two I started getting invites from several restaurants to try their food and desserts. This way, very quickly, the personal interest and fun in blogging expanded when my number of followers started to increase. I never expected my experience to reach so many.
I’ve been a fan of desserts ever since I was a child (and that kinda grew on me)! As mentioned above, my love for desserts is the main reason I got popular (since I created my own niche in this market). My content was all natural and people could see that. I did not officially start off with the intention of becoming popular too.
Additionally, people, these days aren’t interested in seeing regular salads or proteins, they want to see something crazy and whacky, and that is what I exactly did unknowingly (since that’s what I liked too)!! From the very beginning, I’d post the best cakes, milkshakes, and chocolate shots I’d find.
How did I start doing my Masters in Engineering?
While I was working as a Mechanical Engineer, I found out that an ordinary bachelor’s degree would not help me progress in my career. Thus, I applied for Masters in Energy (that has a lot to do with Mechanical Engineering and the Oil & Gas industry). I wanted to keep every option in my life opened thus went for it. I took up a part-time 2-year course (full time is 1 year).
After a year of working as a Mechanical Engineer and a year of completing my MSc, I got another job as an Associate Consultant. I could not quit my masters half way through, so I decided to continue doing it along with my new job at this reputed company.
How do I manage my personal life amidst all this?
I get several invites daily (and oh boy, do I love to eat 😂). Allll my catch up sessions with my friends, actually happens during these tasting! Killin’ 2 birds with 1 stone, why not 😉
Rizo, my family (and especially mom) get attention from me every other day anyway 😜
My Career Path
I studied the CBSE curriculum until the 10th grade and then opted for science stream while moving to the ISC curriculum for my 11th and 12th grade. I should have taken this decision earlier because moving to ISC was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. What the ISC students would have finished in Grade 9, CBSE would only start in Grade 11. Trust me I was… lost!
I never liked studying in school much since (according to me), school forces you to learn all the subjects (even those you’re not interested in). For e.g. I loved physics and math, economics – not that much. Thus, my aggregate would drop!
After school, I chose to do my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and now I’m doing my Masters in Energy (within Mechanical Engineering). In college, as much as it was tougher than school, I’d get my straight A’s and sometimes even be one of the toppers in class 😉
I don’t mean to brag (but… I’m proud of myself) – while I was answering my final BSc Mech Eng exams, I had 4 job offers in hand (not a very good thing I’d say since you would not give it your best shot during the exam 😂). I still remember I graduated my 4-year course on May 4th and started working on May 10th (barely had a weeks rest from all that studying)!
I worked as a Mechanical Engineer for a year and I am now an IBM’er.
My Day includes
I *try (😂)* waking up by 6:00 AM to go for a quick workout (if I don’t wake up in the morning, I’ll try working out after work hours). Should be noted that I hate gyms and I find them boring. Thus, I try doing crazy, fun and unique workouts all the time to keep me motivated.
I reach work by 8:30 AM and work until ~6:00 PM (sometimes more if there are tight deadlines). After work, I try to work on my blog every day, for at least 30 minutes and then relax, chill with my friends, spend time with my fam, go for a walk with Rizo, attend an event or just go for a tasting!
I love sticky notes and carry them with me most of the time (along with a sharpie). I stick ’em on my wall at home and laptop so I don’t slack off. If I’m watching a show or relaxing aimlessly on my bed, I’m constantly reminded by the stickies ’round me to not laze around all day 🙄
Also, I have a full-time help at home. Thus, I don’t cook for myself.
1. Still…. How do you manage to balance everything, Naomi?
The reason I explained my journey above is to show you how passionate I am about every single thing I am doing in my life.
Blogging is really a stress buster for me, it helps me relax and rejuvenate. Most of my weekends are spent tasting different kinds of food. I am sure most of us go out and eat during weekdays or weekends, I do the same, the difference being I publish it in a creative manner to my followers with the intention of making my followers aware and sharing whatever new is available. During the weekdays, I do not get much time, but if I feel like going out to eat, I make sure I post the same on social media. Which is why… this is doable.
I realized very early in life that blogging is something I do not want to do full time too, it is just a stress buster and is not something I want to pursue as a job. I believe each of us needs to have something outside of work that can help us de-stress, and mine is blogging and I continue being a lifestyle influencer.
❝ If you consider blogging as “work” and not “fun” you will never have the time to do it. Food/staycations/lifestyle activities rejuvenates my mind, thus am able to do it as it is what I turn to when I am stressed. Every person needs to follow a passion/activity that will help rejuvenate continuously ❞
Additionally, I consider blogging as “flaunting my talents”. It is my personal portfolio and that is exactly how my blog kicked-off. I represented myself on the page, flaunted my lifestyle and as you do it, you’ll realize it’s actually not that hard. You’re just clicking pictures of what you do every day anyway…
I also never considered blogging as a ticket to heaven/to get free things (yes, we all love gifts, and at times, I do love getting pampered 😇). If that is the mentality, succeeding is highly unlikely. One also needs to remember, that there will always be some who will try to de motivate you and pull you down, but there will be far more who will appreciate you and help you succeed. Learn to see the difference.
Additionally, I use my blog as a platform to improve and change the thinking of many. This is why I upload several articles to help people judge the good from bad in this industry.
2. Did you like your new job as a Consultant?
Believe it or not, I LOVED it!! The best part about being a consultant is, you must always be creative as your role keeps changing with every project. You’re always on the move, coming up with strategies, sketching, and so much more. This triggered my interest in being a consultant and being a part of the iX (Interactive Experience) team. Out of all the projects I’ve worked for, given below are 3 that I loved 🙂
1st project: I was a “Marketing Strategist” at one of the UAE governments organizations. I had to devise strategies that would trigger engagement in their social media, do a lot of market scans, organize events, create storyboards and so much more. Trust me, it was hectic, but so much fun!
2nd project: ‘Twas at one of the leading aluminum plants in the world. I loved it because almost every conversation I had with the client involved a lot of engineering words. Believe it or not, this may sound cliche, but it felt like home… (and back to my roots). We had to use a lot of ‘Design Thinking’, market scans (again) and analyze certain trends to rectify several issues.
3rd project: Was at another government entity. Here I developed several CX Strategies for their Website and Mobile App based on TONS of research (this includes analyzing market trends, market scans, and analytics of several websites and applications pertaining to this company). A UX Transformation this complex and massive was definitely not easy (but oh boy ’twas worth it!!!).
I learn something new every single day by being a consultant!
3. Did you get tired of Mechanical Engineering (MEP)?
Yes, it got monotonous. At one point I stopped learning. I’d use the same formulae/software’s all the time on different blue prints/drawings. But the amount of experience I took from this industry, was insane! Unfortunately now, all the manual labor that was being done by engineers earlier are now being automated.
4. What do you do if an important event clashes with work?
If I’m not on a project or relatively free, I’ll take a day off as I am entitled to xx days of leave, every year.
5. Do I get paid for all my posts?
I barely get paid for my posts. A majority of them are #NotSponsored since chasing money will not build my blog, and, I don’t want to turn down every opportunity I get! I always want to explore and show you guys the Best of Dubai/World!
6. Why don’t I want to do blogging full-time?
I feel the amount of potential and knowledge I have cannot be displayed within blogging, only. I’ve worked my a#% off while studying engineering and I’ve had a countless number of sleepless nights to sharpen my skills and complete tough/complex assignments. At my current company, I got a role that I’ve been dreaming of doing for a very long time,
- I come up with strategies daily, discuss it with professionals and see my ideas coming to life (as explained in Answer #2)
- I get to experience and build my knowledge within several industries (i.e. healthcare, telco, transport, engineering plants, etc)
- I see my work improving the clients and customers workflow.
Additionally, I love analytics and research based work, this is why I love what I do ❤ Being in my shoes, it is not easy to prove to people I am much (much much) more than blogging. I want everyone to know that everyone has a talent, it’s just a matter of showing it the right way. And being talented or popular whether it’s for food, dancing, modeling or singing, it does not make you a dumb bimbo. Trust me, people insult bloggers and influencers left, right and center (especially in Dubai).
The majority consider blogging as a no-brainer. Maybe it is, but not for me.
Looking back at everything I’ve done, I can proudly say, I’m a mechanical engineer, blogger, have a masters degree in engineering, earned a black belt in Karate, passed 4 grades of Trinity Examination in Music, I am featured in the Ahlan! Hot 100 (Top 100 UAE’s biggest influencers), I write for magazines every now and then, I can hold a conversation on CX strategies/designing/marketing/engineering/food/fun or lifestyle activities and so much more.
– Thank you, Mom