Born in 1979, I always had the privilege to condescendingly tell my friends who were born after 1980 that they wouldn’t know how life was during the ‘70s. When you are a kid, being grown up is the most important thing in the world, ironically, when you get there, you start yearning for those youthful and carefree years.
I was born and raised in Güzelyalı, İzmir. We have moved 2 times after I was born but all those houses were on the main street about 50 meters apart from each other. Being situated in the same neighborhood for the better part of 40 years, I still shop from the same market where I used to buy chewing gum as a kid.
I went to Hakimiyet-I Milliye elementary school until 5th grade and then entered the exams for middle and high school. The first big turning point in my life was at the age of 11, where my family and me had to choose between Bornova Anatolian High School and American Collegiate Institute. The former was said to have better education for preparation to university exams, and the latter excelled in English education. Well, I chose the latter and I don’t regret it.
After 7 quick years of middle and high school education in a big, green campus full of activities, I could not choose any University lacking that. Even though I wanted to study in İstanbul and despised Ankara, my school trip to Middle East Technical University changed my mind instantly. I was going to endure Ankara, to be able to study at METU. I won Chemical Engineering at METU and started my university years there.
Life in university was much easier than I expected, and Ankara slowly grew on me. I felt like I was born again as an adult from my teenage shell with the freedom to do whatever I want and whenever I want. The hardest challenge was to find the time to study among all the activities that was laid bare before me.
I was planning to do a master’s degree on Biochemistry after I was graduated from Chemical Engineering, but somehow I found myself entering the university exam again and this time going for Computer Science at Haliç University in İstanbul. The second university was quite a different experience as it was not a campus university and it was in the middle of one of the most crowded regions of İstanbul, surrounded by hundreds of thousand people every day. Galatasaray’s stadium being 100-200 meters from the University, we could hear the crowd murmuring and sometimes chanting until the gates of the stadium were opened.
After becoming a chemical engineer and a computer scientist, I completed my military duty as a third-lieutenant of ground to air defense troops in Edirne, at the border of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
After military service I started working but I was not looking for work as a chemical engineer but as a computer scientist. Unfortunately, computer firms were very keen on hiring someone with years of experience and did not have the patience to train a green engineer. I started working at Vestel neither as a chemical engineer nor as a computer scientist, but as a small office manager. I wasn’t happy about this back then, but now that I think of it, it was a good practice to hone my leadership abilities and human relations.
After Vestel, I worked as a production chemical engineer at Daussan Çukurova Kimya. It was nice that I was working as a chemical engineer now, but production was not cut out for me as I was getting bored doing the same thing every day.
Then I applied to Akzo Nobel powder coatings IT department as a computer scientist. The manager of human resources turned out to be my school sister from American Collegiate Institute (when you are a prep student, the school assigns you a senior high school student to teach you the ropes) and she miraculously recognized me. She told me that there is a position at R&D department at Kansai Altan and I listened to her advice.
Here I am, working at Kansai Altan Color R&D department for 9 years, as an assistant manager.
A few years ago, when color studio was founded, I felt great excitement as now I was going to be able to let my imagination run wild and create with no constraints. Going from production engineer to R&D engineer was freeing, but color design was next level. I take great joy in researching upcoming trend topics and come up with different takes on current trends. Design is a field where you can leave a personal imprint on your work, very much like the signature at the bottom of a painting…