Who am I?
Let’s go back to the summer of 2008 for a moment. I had just completed high school, full of big dreams and an even bigger lack of direction. As that summer ended, and I headed into my first year of post-secondary, I came to an immediate realization. My lack of direction left me with an impossible disconnect between my dreams and my current reality. I dreamt of a career built off of personal passions, but I no longer knew what my passion was, or meant to me.
After 2 years of general studies, reality sat on my dreams and sent them home crying.
I spent the following years working retail at a hockey shop and teaching ice skating lessons. They were jobs I could create a routine for. I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to think about my passion, my goals, or my dreams. It just kind of worked at the time.
Fast forward 5 years, to the winter of 2015. The routine became monotonous. The monotony reintroduced thoughts about the future. Passion and dreams are hard to ignore when thinking about the future. All I could think about was my lack of them.
I didn’t look for it, but it found me.
During the 5 years of complacent, monotonous routine, I dabbled in photoshop and cartoons. At the time I considered them to be messing around. Little did I realize, that messing around can be a very indirect way of finding your passions.
Photoshop sparked my interest in the Graphic Design world. I had no clue what it was, but I was determined to find out. That spark of curiosity ripped me from my mundane routine and took me on the rollercoaster of events I currently find myself on today.
I started with a Graphic Design program at BCIT. I followed that with freelance work before heading to RED Academy to learn about User Experience. A few Graphic Design contracts later, I found my way to Element IQ.
How I found Element IQ.
After RED Academy, the school kept me (and other students), interconnected through social platforms such as Facebook. It was in this RED Academy Facebook group that I found the job posting. The poster (Joseph L), stated that their Digital Marketing Agency was looking for a Graphic Designer and a Developer. I was curious about the position and immediately reached out to Joseph. After meeting with a few of the staff, and then the CEO (Sam A), I was convinced that this was the right place for me.
Thankfully, they agreed.
They offered me an internship position, and I eagerly accepted.
Day 1: Orientation - Mar 12, 2018
The day started at 10 am at CMPNY’s Spacekraft co-working space in Burnaby. We had the luxury of 3 interns with different skillsets starting on the same day (Kevin: Developer, Sagar: Account Management, Me: Graphic Design). Led by Joseph, the day consisted of Element IQ orientation. A quick tour of the workspace, lunch (courtesy of Sam), and a whole lot of onboarding of programs and apps.
The tone of the day revolved around the company culture. There was a strong emphasis on self-improvement, self-motivation, and transparency in communication. Work hard, learn lots, enjoy.
“What you put into life is what you get out of it.”
Excited, eager to learn and grow while working with new people in a new environment. Initially, there were some nerves with meeting new people, but those quickly went away. I found it easy to connect well with everyone I had met.
Day 2: Company Lesson - Mar 13, 2018
Every morning at 9 am, EIQ (Element IQ) host a huddle amongst their staff. The huddle focuses on discussion of any Wins (positive work/personal things), blockers (tasks that require an action outside of the owner of the task to move forwards), and big rocks (large tasks for the day). Huddles are meant to be short and to the point (15 minutes).
Communicate what everyone is doing for the day to avoid inefficient workflow.
After our first huddle, we spent the rest of the morning getting a brief history of Digital Marketing. Led by Lincoln C, we learned about EIQ’s origins, what they specialize on now, and where they plan on heading. It was a nice way to get everyone inline with the company’s goals and mentality.
The afternoon was spent auditing the EIQ website with Joseph. The exercise/task allowed for all 3 of us interns to get a sense of how working with one another would be.
Day 3: 1st Remote Work Day - Mar 14, 2018
At EIQ we get 2 remote work days (Wednesday & Friday). We are allowed to work from wherever we please, so long as we stay within digital communication with the rest of the team.
Day 3 marked the first day that I had Graphic Design related tasks. My task was to redo the iconography for the EIQ homepage (a task created from our group audit the previous day). I was also tasked with learning more about a brand that I would be working on a logo for (with Joseph) down the road.
The day was smooth sailing. Nothing notable. I worked on my couch, avoided waves of sleepy comfort, and had a great day working from home.
Day 4: Party in CMPNY Coquitlam - Mar 15, 2018
CMPNY, the organization that runs the co-working space EIQ works out of in Burnaby, also has a location in Coquitlam. Their Coquitlam location happened to be turning 1 year old on this day. As a result, we were headed to CMPNY Coquitlam for Day 4. I was not, and still am not very familiar with Coquitlam, but I heard the space was super cool and was very excited to see it.
My transit time to Coquitlam was 1 hour and 15 minutes. A far cry from the luxury of my usual 15 minute bike ride to the Burnaby location. However, the longer commute was worth it. The space was beautiful.
Coquitlam had Foosball, Ping Pong (Burnaby has one as well), large meeting rooms, a coffee/espresso machine that rivaled R2D2, and a pretty nice view. We spent most of the day discussing File Sharing procedures, and finishing tasks from the previous day.
Low key let down of the day - Coffee robots do not guarantee enjoyable coffee. Just the idea of an enjoyable experience with it.
Sam, came by for a one on one with each of the interns to check in with how our first week was going. I told him how my week had been a great experience so far, and that I was excited to begin/continue working on upcoming projects.
Lincoln then led a deep dive, where each of the team members discussed a certain topic. The topic was passion. Each of us shared what we were passionate about, where we wanted to head career-wise (and somewhat personal wise), as well as little snippets of our past leading up to this point.
When we finished, the party began. I ate a sandwich, drank some drink, and then we headed home.
Day 4 theme = Your team at EIQ genuinely cares about you.
Day 5: Remote Work Day (Return of the Couch) - Mar 16, 2018
Day 5 marked the first full day of individual Graphic Design work. The big task of the day was to create a concept homepage for The Hive: Bouldering Gym that would combine their current websites (they have 3, one per location). Using an early concept (Joseph started the prior day), I spent the day working on refining a concept.
By the end of the day, I had completed a polished concept of the homepage. The completion of the task caused me to come to this conclusion: Remote work days are prime for individual tasks.
I also came to another conclusion on Day 5. Remember to eat. I usually bring a lunch to work. I don't usually bring a lunch to remote work at home. Making lunch mid-workflow is easy to forget. Remember to be hungry.
“Remember to Eat”
- Gregory Ma
Week 1 Final Impression
Week 1 flew by. The team at EIQ, evidently a tight-knit one. The laughs, the struggles, and the bonding all paint a wonderful picture for the future (in a short sample size).
My first Week at EIQ has peaked my interest for a future with this company. I'm excited to be a part of this group, to see where my growth and career take me, and to see where this company's upward trajectory takes it.
Learn more about ElementIQ's Internship Program