Anojan and Vöxtur came in touch rather serendipitously. He volunteered to buy Nate a book he needed for law school, Nate accepted, and then asked him to do this interview. Enjoy learning about his interesting and inspiring story!!
What is the current role/passion/project you find yourself in and where can our readers find you?
I’m a User Experience Designer based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In other words I just design digital products (e.g. mobile apps & websites) for a living. If you wanna find me on the internet, Twitter is the right place @anojan_10. I do have accounts on other social media platforms but Twitter is the only one I use regularly and my DM is open to anyone.
How did you come to be where you are now?
In 2014 Google I/O (Google’s developer conference) they introduced a new design language system across their products. Seeing the livestream of that event sparked my curiosity to learn more about designing apps and websites. After reading books, articles and forums about design It was clear to me that I can make a career out of this without even going to college.
In 2016 I graduated from high school and I set a goal to myself to get into the design industry without a college degree. I started practicing some design skills and prepared my portfolio while working an odd job. Four months after graduating from high school I got an internship at a local design firm as a UX Designer. At the end of my internship they offered me a full time position and I happily accepted it. I learned a lot while working there and I’m still thankful to my personal manager who helped me so much in my ups and downs. Unfortunately almost a year and a half later that company nearly went bankrupt so I had to move to a different company. I moved to a different design firm and luckily I got a great team and a manger just like before. It’s been almost an year since I moved and things are going pretty smooth and I’m happy with where I am right now.
Looking back three years I didn’t even imagine all these things would happen and it’s a miracle that all these things happened. It’s luck that I got some amazing parents who were able to buy me the tools that I needed, It’s luck that got me an internship at an amazing design firm, It’s luck that I got some amazing coworkers to work with. Although I had to do some hard work here and there to prove myself worth the promotion and a pay rise, it’s luck that brought me to where I am today.
What are your goals/hopes/plans for the future?
I live in a 3rd world country where everything is unpredictable. Last month we faced a terror attack and the peace and the economy of the entire country completely collapsed. So my main goal right now or for the future is to move to a different country. It’s easier to be said that done because most of the 3rd world countries’ passports are not that powerful.
Time slows down when you try new things, so I would like to slow down time in my mid 30s by switching to a completely different career. I don’t have an idea about what I’d do but I’m pretty sure that I can figure it out before I hit my mid 30s.
Is there a book, podcast, movie, etc. that has been particularly impactful on your journey?
The Fault In Our Stars (a movie and a book) changed the way I look at things and people in life. From the moment I watched the movie, I became a more calm and mature man. It was like a power boost for my introverted soul. It’s a story about a girl who is diagnosed with a cancer finding the love of her life. Even though it’s not a true story It taught me that there are so many people out here counting their remaining days on earth and it made me look at people and life in a different perspective.
In an alternate dimension, every job pays the same. With that in mind, what career would you pursue?
I would work as a barista. Even though I’m an introvert I like to talk/interact with complete strangers and observe what other does. I think barista is the perfect job for that.
What do you do to take care of yourself?
I don’t have a proper self care routine but having a clear boundary between work and personal life helps me maintain my mental health. You might love your work but the work will never love you back. I never touch any work related stuff after work hours or on weekends. Also you can’t do good work If you don’t feel good, so I try to get at-least 7-8 hours of sleep everyday and I workout 3 days a week.
If you have nothing on your schedule or an unexpected quiet moment, how do you choose to use your time?
With a full time job and part time studies having nothing on my schedule is very rare but when there’s a free time I would use that to recharge myself by going on a long drive or reading books. I think everyone should do what makes them happy in their free time. It could be reading books, playing a game or just listening to their favourite band. Keeping your inner soul happy is what matters for a healthy life.
How do you overcome obstacles?
“I try not to get too high when things are going well, so that I don’t get too low when things are going badly. I try to keep an even keel” – Barack Obama.
When life gets hard I remind myself that there’s always a way out of everything. To keep my self motivated I always set a goal for each phase of my life. For an example, when I was 17 I set a goal to get a good paying job without a degree before turning 20. Once I reached that goal I set another goal which is to move out of my country before I turn 24. Just keeping that goal in my mind and working towards that helps me overcome most of the obstacles.
What’s one thing you haven’t done yet, but will do before you die?
Skinny dipping 😄. I still haven’t found the right group of people to do with.
What piece of advice or request do you have for our readers before you leave?
Help others along the way. When you’re feeling happy try to treat someone else instead of treating yourself.