So… I think I kind of figured out who I am, at least who I am right now.
It will probably change in the future,but lets start with the basics about me.
I’m in my thirties and have a family that takes up a lot of my time, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
When I was in my early twenties, for 4-5 years, my life was pretty much at a stand still. I worked at a demanding job which included about 8-10 months of travel a year, and sure, the pay was OK but living out of a suitcase gets old quickly.
So for 4+ years absolutely nothing happened in my life. I worked, ate, worked-out (because when you travel a lot and want a hobby, you have to have a hobby you can take with you) and slept.
That was pretty much it. I formed no knew relationships, I rarely met my family, and I didn’t have a significant other. I mean how could I? When you’re never in one place long enough to form anything more than a passing friendship how should you be able to form anything deeper.
I was in a rut and even though it took me a long time to realise, once I did, I made it my goal to leave it. Fast.
Quite shortly after that I got more or less recruited by a colleague who had gotten a steady job in his home town and the company he worked for was hiring, it seemed really promising at the time, so I jumped on board and suddenly I had a life again. This company turned out to be, lets put it mildly, not the greatest. So since then I have moved on, but I am still thankful for that job because I were able to grow as a person again, and stop treading water. I also wouldn’t have met my girlfriend if it wasn’t for that job, and for that I am very grateful.
I started travelling in my job again after that and I’ve been doing so for the last 3 years, but at my current job the circumstances are a lot better than I had before. It still gets old quickly living out of a suitcase but for now anyway it’s OK. I have also made sure not to get caught in a rut again, there is so much more to being who you want to be than that.
Way, way back I actually attended trade-school to become a welder and sheet-metal worker. I also worked as that for the first couple of years after finishing school. The reason I chose this was because it was the educational programme in my country where there was the least bit of theory. Basically nothing, we had a couple of hours were we learned how to read drawings and that was it. If someone had told me I would go back to school on two separate occasions to study engineering, I would have called them delusional but that’s what I ended up doing.
The first time I went back to school I stayed within the field of welding, It was afte all something I was familiar with. So for two years I studied to become an International Welding Specialist, I didn’t get my diploma at that time for administrative reasons, but I got it a couple of years later.
Other than welding theory we also studied industrial engineering, structural mechanics, mathematics, material science etc. A whole host of other subjects. And it made me hungry for more.
It was after this I got my first travelling job, I got hired as pipe-welder for the oil & gas industry. Even though my training actually enable me to work as a quality controller, welding coordinator, or supervisor, the pay was better and taking the rough-neck practical route seemed more interesting at the time. I met a lot of people, learned some things. I also, to be fair, made a decent amount of money. But like I said in the beginning, my life outside of work was at a stand still.
When my friend called me up one day when I was between jobs and asked if I was interested in a permanent position as a welding coordinator I didn’t hesitate for a minute. This was also the first time I was able to put my more theoretical skills to the test, on the engineering side of things. After doing this for close to three years the company were downsizing and I decided to move on, even though I was offered a position as a team leader in an other location for the same company.
A couple of different factors played a role in my decision to seek opportunity elsewhere.
I had spent 2 years trying to do things by the book, and it was a struggle every single day. Both that I was still young compared to the people I was trying to lead and influence, I wasn’t even 30 yet, and that no one was really interested in having things done by the book. Everyone wanted the papers to look good, all the documents should have the right stamp and numbers filled in, but close to no one cared if the job had been performed in the way the papers said it had. And no one understood that making sure that the documentation and testing was done the right way takes a boat load of time and resources. Of course it might be different in other companies, working in other fields, but not in this one.
This made me fed up with the whole situation. And quite honestly, I was bored with it. For the close to 10 years when I worked with welding, nothing really changed in the way of technology or implementation. I felt like there were no routes of advancement within the field that was interesting to take.
So I completely changed lanes and went back to school, I started studying to become an Automation Engineer instead. I was lucky enough to get a job as a Field Service Engineer at the same time so I was able to work in the field as I studied it, which was awesome.
The name of the site
Apart from the 4+ years when nothing interesting happened in my life I have always liked making stuff. My father was an artisan, he actually supported himself doing crafts and artwork for several years in the 70’s and early 80’s, so I think I inherited the interest from my father. My mother always says i’m just like him anyway. This was all before the “Maker Boom” or whatever you want to call it. When I was young, YouTube didn’t exist, and the only way to learn new things were through the few forums that existed and hobby books or magazines.
After I got my shit together, and stopped travelling for a few years, I picked up my old hobby of making stuff. And it was a whole new field out there. 3D printing had become thing, a whole host of dev kits for micro-controllers where out there, everyone could have a CNC machine in their garage if they wanted to. My interest in making stuff where taken to a new level.
I have never really had the need for the world to hear me so to say, but after some friends and classmates started asking questions on how I programmed stuff and what projects I was up to, an idea started to form. I had actually been wanting to learn how to make a web site for quite a long time so why not put together a web page where I could document my hobby of making stuff. All of this is done in my off hours, and most of it contains some form of engineering.
That is how I came up with the name: Off Hours Engineering. There is a second reason as well, you can read the the purpose of this page to find out which.