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"It's Okay To Not Do What You Studied" – Architect Finds Happiness Pursuing Art & Design

Despite some calling his career change "a waste", Ariff said he's loving it.

Cover image via @sakushirt (TikTok)

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Meet Ariff Fahdlan Amin

He's a Masters graduate in Architecture who left his conventional job as a university lecturer to pursue his passion in graphic design and he's loving it.

The 33-year-old, who is now a freelance graphic artist and owner of a children's clothing business, recently posted a TikTok video of his educational background

In the clip, he shared that he graduated with a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Adelaide in South Australia about nine years ago, and is now happy designing and making clothes for children.

The video on his business TikTok account has garnered over 125,000 views as of writing

While most netizens congratulated him for finding his way and wished him further success in his life and career, there were some unwelcomed remarks about his career change.

One of the comments said, "What a waste, you're a smart kid."

Another read, "That's a pity, brother. The knowledge and skills that you studied are not being used."

However, unfazed by the criticism, Ariff opined in an interview with mStar, "It doesn't matter what we study or major in, we do not always have to work in the same field after leaving university. If it happens, it's okay."

Initially following the conventional pathway, Ariff said he first found work as an architect after graduation, then became an architecture lecturer at a local private university

However, after about five years of teaching and having a comfortable salaried job, he finally decided it was time to delve into his true personal interest of art and design at the end of 2019.

Speaking to SAYS, the father-of-two said he currently works as a freelance graphic artist.

"I work on various projects such as designing book covers, posters, book layouts, and t-shirt designs, as well as producing illustrations and taking art commissions," he elaborated.

Contrary to public opinion and judgement, Ariff also said, "I still very much love architecture, but I find more comfort and joy with my art and design work compared to doing architectural designs."

The artist added that despite following his heart and changing careers, albeit related to his previous profession, the road to get to where he is was still challenging

"I had a tonne of things to learn as I dived into the art and design industry," he told SAYS, adding that he also had to learn how to become self-employed.

"It's harder than working as an employee."

Ariff said besides working as an artist, he, too, started a clothing business as a side hustle with his wife, where all concepts and designs are done by him.

"I work 24/7 now that I own a business, and I have more work to do. But I'm loving it. I never feel like going on a vacation or look forward to the weekends because I love my job."

As for career change advice, Ariff told SAYS that it is never too late to pursue a passion

"My advice is that if you are passionate about something, make time for it. Work on it until you are confident that it is sustainable, then make the leap to commit to it 100%," he said.

"Career change does not have to happen abruptly, it can happen bit by bit, one step at a time."

These other Malaysians have also proven that it's never too late to leave your job to pursue your passion: