Yes, you read that well.. a mechanical engineer is currently Uniplaces’ content quality controller. I know that doesn’t make much sense, so let me enlighten you as to how I came upon this position.
Born and raised in a British and Portuguese family, and having attended an International school from the tender age of five, all the way through to university, English was always an integral part of my life. It was at this school (CLIP) that I met, and grew up with, Miguel (Uniplaces’ Co-Founder) and Francisco (Uniplaces’ Senior Editor). After 13 years at this school, it was time to begin my adventure at university, and so I moved to Oxford.
At university, I partied too hard for too long, so failed my first year. However, there was one huge positive to take from this year: I started going out with my current girlfriend, Patrícia, albeit living apart as she was studying in Kingston, in southwest London. It was also about this time that I realised that most British people don’t actually write English that well – ultimately leading to me helping both colleagues and tutors alike by proof-reading their work. Eventually, I finally graduated, but was growing increasingly tired of the UK. The awful weather, along with Patrícia having moved back to Porto to start her own fashion label, PPDC weighed heavily in my decision to return home in search of a job.
Asides from some pressure to find work in Engineering since completing my degree, I felt that, other than in R&D, this wasn’t a career path I wanted to follow. I still gave it a try, and had a brief 6-month spell at a Portuguese manufacturing company, but alas, it wasn’t for me. I then had a short stint at my old school as a teacher assistant and monitor to the kindergarten kids – something I thoroughly enjoyed, but that was not challenging enough.
And so we come to my induction into Uniplaces. The young startup had just expanded to Porto and needed native English speakers who were also up for doing some sales and visiting the houses for verification purposes. As soon as I heard about this, I jumped at the opportunity. My interest was music to Francisco and Miguel’s ears, so it was a perfect match for everyone! I started two days later. However, just over a month later, Uniplaces decided Porto had been launched at the wrong time, so they were putting the brakes on the whole thing. Having impressed in my first month, they asked me if I was willing to move to the company’s headquarters in Lisbon.
I must admit that at first, the prospect of moving to Lisbon was quite daunting, but in my then-current state of affairs, I had to go where there was work. Leaving my girlfriend behind yet again was fairly bothersome, but we’d been through this before, so I figured we’d cope. Initially, it was only supposed to be for six months… but that was over a year ago.
Coming to Lisbon opened up several doors for me, which would’ve remained closed had I stayed in Porto. Less than a month after I arrived, I had someone try to coax me away from Uniplaces – at Miguel’s birthday party of all places. Dedicated to this project, I respectfully declined and carried on partying.
Since then, I have grown with the company, and have embarked on another side project – Ship. Ship’s aim is to increase awareness and divulge what’s going on in the Portuguese startup ecosystem, and my contribution to it is the same as my daily job: proof-read and embellish the written content.
And that’s the story of an engineer who ended up essentially proof-reading everyone’s work for a living… and I love it!
Guys, whatever you study, don’t feel obliged to follow that career path after you graduate. Just go with what you feel is right, and lead a happy life. Have fun, and love the life you live – you never know what’s around the corner 🙂
What did you think about Daniel’s blogpost about working at Uniplaces? Just drop us a line in the comment section below!
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