The decision of working at the academy
by: Juan Mejia
Working at the academy was one of the most important decisions in my professional and personal life. Fourteen years ago, I was finishing my 18-moths bachelor’s thesis while I was looking for a job in Chemical Engineering. By these days, there were not enough job offers because the Colombian economy was very bad. However, I succeeded in a job application at a car brakes company in Bogotá until I had the interview. That was my first and last job application in my life for a company. What was the reason? That morning, I woke up very early in the morning and travelled from Chapinero Alto to Fontibón by bus (a 80 minutes journey), wearing uncomfortable clothing (a suit). I reached the company doors about 20 minutes earlier of the interview appointment so I had to wait outside, as if I were selling something. The interviewer was a very kind woman at her 50’s (I guess). She picked me up and walked me through the company production area. It was a large area with a lot of equipment. The production process was noisy and dusty, and very dangerous, not only because of the machines risks but also for the raw materials used in the process. One of these materials is Asbesto, a well-known cancerous material. I was not excited with the idea of working in that place. In fact, most of chemical, and related industries are similar. Then I realized that I did not want to work at industry. It was a very stressful moment as I thought “I have spent 6 years of my life, just for that?”. I got depressed until I returned to Medellin, when I was hired by a new professor, Dr. Farid Chejne, as research assistant student in a research project related to alternative energy. After 6 months, I noticed that I loved what I was doing and professor Chejne suggested me to study a master in chemical engineering. In that moment, I got excited with the idea of having a professional life doing research and teaching. In summary, a little experience can change a whole life. I agree with the wise expression “nothing is free”.