Over the last 3 years, I tried building novel sensing instruments at the company where I was previously employed but could not deliver the final product due to many challenges. The work required expertise in many fronts- engineering, physics, magneto-optics, biology and medicine. One day the company’s CEO came to my office and said that it’s time to postpone the project. I felt bad as it was my passion and I was hoping that the project would be successful if I had more time. That was a year ago. Now looking back, I see that it was the best thing to happen to me.
When I was an employee in a company, I had to follow the company rules as set out by the company and like every body else, and be there on time, report the progress every week, set a meeting with the CEO, and so on. Navigating the company structure, some of the company decisions misaligned with my ethics and values, and a lack of team effort hindered my progress.
So, after I left the company and began applying for jobs, I realised I was offering much more than what the management was looking for and this might have been seen as a negative thing. Also, in some cases the company had a very specific need, whereas I had a multitude of expertise.
As an engineering student, I always wanted to build my own company, which I tried to do earlier but was unsuccessful. While being a researcher and not having a degree in management might be a factor, I was not a good planner. I decided that it was time for me to establish my own company and do some thing good for society, with an aim to innovate new devices.
I knew that one needed to combine many dissimilar material and ideas in order to innovate. Since I already had expertise on magnetics, photonics, chemistry and interest in biology, I found this perfect for me to develop new instruments that combine all these 4 fields. While its complexity was daunting, I was ready to move forward with this system after all, developing a new technique or new device requires to go beyond normal practices.
So, I hired employees and built a small team of people working from home-lab office solutions. Fast forward to 2020, COVID19 emerged, staff were laid off, company activities decreased, but despite of it all, I was still determined to work on the project. I out-sourced work, worked online with the staff where possible, looked out for funding through banks, and secured loans too. With freedom and hard work, I achieved a lot of work within the short period of a year and have now entered the stage of prototyping. Having built a good network with the university research centers and researchers, I’m hoping to collaborate. Just like me, you may also have a lot of potential hidden within you, you just need to take a chance on yourself.
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