Work In Progress Podcast

WIPp 025 Malak Sharaf: From Engineer to Movement Teacher & Business Owner

July 15, 2020 Dana & Angela
Work In Progress Podcast
WIPp 025 Malak Sharaf: From Engineer to Movement Teacher & Business Owner
Show Notes Transcript

Resources


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Malak worked as an engineer and project manager in Egypt and Dubai. She was disheartened by the culture and discrimination she experienced when she challenged the authority, she was punished for doing what she thought was right. Malak immigrated to Canada alone in search of a better life and decided to never return to corporate again. She doesn't see value in devoting most of time to a corporation that doesn't value you; time should be spent in bettering ourselves and others. 

Today she teaches yoga/pilates with pre/postnatal specialty and her online store features activewear that proudly showcase Egyptian/Muslim culture and the Arabic language. 


 
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Malak :

It's not an easy decision to say peace out and just start an adventure. But I mean, why are you here? Why are we alive? Like as human beings? Why are we here? Is it just here to wake up, go to work, hustling, go chasing after materialistic stuff. And at the end of the day, we're not happy. That's not it. We're here to better ourselves, improve ourselves and help others and make the world a better place to leave it better than what we came in.

Dana :

Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening, wherever you are. Thank you for joining us at the working progress podcast. Today we're talking to Malik Malik was an engineer and she worked in several different countries worked on different projects at different companies, and she eventually made it to Canada. She worked as a makeup artist for a while and now she's teaching yoga and has her own online shop. We are very excited to have her on today and really excited to be asking her a bunch of questions. So without further ado, let's get started.

Malak :

Hi, my name is Malak and my background is Egyptian and I've been in Canada for seven winters now. I used to work in corporate as you mentioned, and I quit eight years ago right now I teach a movement teacher, I teach yoga below the bar, and with a specialty with post and pre Natal as well. And I have, as you mentioned, I'm a small business owner or like entrepreneur, I have an online shop for active in streetwear, and some accessories with Arabic twists. So basically, bringing my Egyptian background, my Muslim background as well, and sharing it with everyone in this side of the world, let's say to let people know more because I noticed that people don't know much about the other side of the world. And since I moved here, I used to have lots of questions from my friends and people I meet about Egypt about Islam about this than they could have you seen the pyramid like is it true This, this happens in Islam and like there is this rule and stuff. So all of that with my drive to share and like were actually what I want to wear. So that pushed me to start my online shop, in addition to my teaching business.

Dana :

Before you were a teacher, or you worked in corporate. Tell us a little bit about that.

Malak :

Okay, so I basically followed the usual traditional path for anyone really, I went to university, I'm an engineer, Electronics and Communication I graduated got a good job as everyone's goal is to have a good job. I worked in the field as a field engineer for three years in Schlumberger, if you've heard of it is an oilfield services company, and, and that for three years, it was an interesting experience and then I work five years And it company. It's EMC. Now it's Dell EMC. I worked as a Senior Project Manager for five years, I managed projects all around Africa, Middle East to key Pakistan. It was, of course, again, another good experience. But when I was working in the office at that corporate culture, and I was working in Dubai, so it's even what's the word like very, it's a mixture of two hardcore cultures, the American corporate plus the flavor of the Arab girls, you know, a mixture of different nationalities and stuff. And it was it was intense like you breed. You eat, you drink work, like you go out to talk about work at work. You are spending eight to 10 hours a day at work. I was dreaming about my project. Always. Yeah, insomnia, everything like it's it makes Your life basically in that corporate setting revolves around work. Nothing else. You don't even have the time to read or educate yourself about stuff or even really stay up to date with what's going on because you're already in so much stress so much issues and stuff. You're dealing with the way your brain no I can, I don't like I just want fun stuff. So, yes, it was challenging. Yes, it was the great feeling when you complete a project and all is good and everyone is happy. The rush of starting a new project and traveling, meeting the customers and all of that. But the culture is just work, work, work, work, work, pressure, pressure, pressure, we can after hours, and there is no real appreciation. And there was no real investment in tackling the real problems that we are facing. No, just deal with it. How'd you get Remembering stuff right now is I don't know why they think this stuff. But mainly Yes, there are perks, traveling around the companies paying for your phone, you get the salary, the benefits, you meet people like, I'm so grateful for all the people that I met from different and different types of different parts of the world. And right now because we all moved in everywhere, like everyone went somewhere or did something. So you actually have a good network of friends all over the world. Amazing. But the state of work itself. And there was again another part of me that didn't like where I'm part of snooping on people collecting that. Doing all of that I, like, you know, and get into conflict, sometimes even working in oil fields. Like when you get in depth, I can speak lots of positive when you get in depth on how the contracts are at one in different countries and what you really part of it's not cool. It's desferal you working all the time like you can, I was never disconnected. The weekends doesn't matter. I'm on travel, even though I have someone standing for me during my week or two weeks off, for example. But I'm still connected and I'm still people expect expect me to respond to emails or they get me through the times of blackberry BBM. I don't believe that this is how we're supposed to be working. And the other thing you're working for someone that sometimes you will meet in big meetings if you're part of the people invited to let's say, team meetings or conferences for the whole region and stuff, but they really at the end of the day, you just the number for this organization. At any time, they can replace you with five people, not just one, five, willing to take your salary, all of them like taking portions of your salary. So you're expendable, you know important Even if you were key to the company, you're still replaceable, nothing special whatsoever. And there was stuff regarding being a woman not paid equally. And all of that, that as what I didn't appreciate, and I didn't understand why, like I traveled to Africa, like every other man travels to Africa, I do the same work. So why am I not paid equally? How can you justify that?

Dana :

Yeah, I really like so many of the things that you touched on, like the working culture and gender equality in terms of pay. And I really appreciate that you stood up for yourself and obviously for, for our gender to ask the very important question. I really appreciate that. And you are the first. I guess the first person we interviewed that worked in, I guess, across all these countries that we've never spoken to before because usually our people that we interview are inactive ARCA and sometimes in Europe, but not in, say Dubai. And I think there was another country that you mentioned.

Malak :

Yeah, I worked. So I never worked in an office setup in Egypt. I worked in the field. So I worked between agriculture area for a year. And then I worked a half, six months in the western desert of Egypt, Libya and Egypt borders. And then my last year I went even a half I worked on UAE Saudi borders. The desert was very tough over there, even though it's still a desert, but the Egyptian desert so much different than the Saudi UAE desert. And then my last assignment was in Kuwait. You know, key Kuwaiti borders. So I have like the field experience at different countries, which I have to say if you compare Finn to office, I prefer the feed. And yes, I was working on the rotation where I was spending seven weeks at the crew In the field, and two weeks off, or six and three depends, but you see the true colors of the people you are working with. Like we wake up we eat, we go to work we eat together at dinner. If you go to the bar of gonna have like a movie night to Quizlet or whatever, so the person who backstab you and he's backstabbing you in front of you, office culture, solo solo, and of course I'm sure I'm as I'm sure you have the same concept. See ya cover us. Hundred percent all the time, document document document, send emails just to confirm so that you are protected and still, you know, protect it as a as a project manager anyways. So I had two experiences, the office setup and hardcore corporate and the field. And yes, I would choose defeat Yes, it's it's difficult. Like I did it for three years. I don't know how I met people in this job where they been doing it for 20 and 30 years. I did it for three years. And again, I left because the politics promoting waste of lives. And I was like, Wow, you're just you know, and I learned again and I learned as well in this job. The other concept can I? I don't know can is it? The conflict is fuck up, move up. So basically, yeah, I learned I learned that concept to at my first job. And when you leave early observe around you, you will see it being applied all the time. It's just fascinating to how Okay, cool. So this is your solution so that no more fuck ups. It's just yeah, put them out. promote them. Cool. So, so it was Yeah. So you have like either the UAE, Kuwait and the crew. It's a field level, it's all let's say most the same, just different cultures or different people you at the office, you have this especially in a place like Dubai, it's very diverse. You have literally people from everywhere, east, west, north, south, everywhere. And most concentrations for Arabic from Arabic Kurds, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, some golf, but like most and they have groups and they have like camps. You know, like the Egyptians together the Lebanese together the Jordanian together, they used to call it mafias and who's connected the more will help their you know, their fellow mafiosos, let's say. So it was not based on how much you work and if you work efficiently, oh, you're perceived as you're not working like you have to. You have to spend eight to 10 hours at work. I hate that. I cannot stay eight hours at my spot. Cuz I can get my work done. You basically right now can get your work done from anywhere at the time like eight years ago I wanna quit and before that are working from home was such a No. Why? Why I wasn't. And you said that you're happy that I stood up for myself and stuff that was not something accepted or taken lightly at all. I was there I let say what's the word I kind of was punished for me telling the truth and not being a broken girl who doesn't ask or who doesn't have an I was told on several occasions you always have something to say. You always talk and say stuff. I said you always have an opinion when I'm a human being. And this is me. Yeah, I have an opinion. Like, what did you hire me to send it? I don't know. So can you imagine that you will put on a probation Just because your manager told you that. Oh, you always have something to say. You were put on probation. Yeah, my manager was Egyptian but he didn't like that I was in a gyptian strong woman who talks in the excess stuff and because I was coming from the feed like, Are you kidding? I was the one girl on 500 men of course I have to be strong Of course I have to be aggressive. Of course I have to earn respect. You have to listen to me. How would they make hundred men listen to someone like music and they never understood that whether American or Egyptian, like it doesn't matter what the where the men are from, like this cliche of it's only Arab men. Doesn't matter. Any and from anywhere around the world. If they see you strong, and standing up for yourself and for others. Oh, you're aggressive. Oh, it's such a bitch. Oh, why do you talk that much. I'm sorry. If I'm using like if Please let me know if I don't say any bad words.

Dana :

We appreciate honesty.

Malak :

Okay, so yeah. And I used even like a Muslim as I said, so I used to go pray in the prayer room, and I used to, but I don't cover my hair. So I had someone who comes to me Oh, you pray? Yeah. But you don't cover your head? Uh huh. Yes. Where are we going with it? Who are you even to talk to me about something private? You know, so I used to go, I used to live close to my work. So I used to play at home and combined with anyone, you know, because I just didn't want people to, like, get into my private life. Like why are you guys focus on my private life? And as if because I don't cover my head. Oh, yeah. I'm not a good Muslim. I don't pray or stuff like that. No, it wasn't taken nicely that you're a strong woman and you stand up for yourself. at all, even here, I didn't mention I mentioned that now I teach but before this transition, when I first relocated to Canada, I studied the full makeup artistry program for eight months here in Toronto. And I worked on that for four years as a makeup artist on film and TV. Fun times great. I learned a lot as well because I come from corporate and like other style of jobs, too. Now I'm on a different end. But again, me standing up for the actors or standing up for makeup department or like being adamant on the timing who need because we have a big job like makeup hair or like prosthetics or whatever that was not taking nicely either. Again, Malak is aggressive. What do you mean good? What do you want someone who's a doormat? That's not. So. Yeah. And unfortunately, the culture is so that you don't lose yourself. Job. No, I'm not a doormat, no human being is a human is a doormat. No human being should be discriminated against or mistreated. Just because someone holds the power. Even if you lose your job, I lost jobs, just do something else. And this is what I want you guys to take out of this. Yes, you've been 10 years in your jobs, amazing paying jobs, it's challenging, it's so on. But at the end of the day, think about this. All the effort, all the time you're putting all the energy is for somebody else who doesn't care about at all. Even when they come to meetings or conferences or whatever they don't care about. You're not on there either. at all, why? Because at any point they can get rid of you and bring tend to replace cheaper than you. I learned that from two different jobs and Three or four industries right now. That's it That's the thing so do you want to put all this effort and time for yourself and be in control of your schedule? There are sacrifices at the beginning you might not be making same money hundred men. I'm gonna tell you the what's you guys call it nitty gritty? Okay, yes, I heard it in a song of rock song And ever since it's like my brain nitty gritty I love it. Basically, I did my my move or like my change from corporate steady job benefits, income traveling, buying brands. Oh my god returns me to all of that to now I honestly I have all my brands, shoes and bags than myself. And clothes, I don't even wear them anymore. I look at them like, Oh my god, I used to pay this in a bag in a shoe. So stupid, but this is what corporate does too. Because you look for any fast pleasures, anything that will make you happy and forget the stress. And we're still going through this crazy Life with Living that revolves around the work. Maybe in America is different. I cannot talk of corporate and this site because I came here with my decision. I'm not working in office at all. So I don't know. Some people complain. Some people like it. Some people say it's different. I honestly don't know. But making the move. I was naive. I didn't know really like how much of a change it is. From the path of corporate and office and you can eat and everyone was telling me Oh my god, you're giving up your career and where do you eat and all of that. But I, I was not happy. I was depressed. On my way back from holidays. I was sad already. I was depressed because really, I didn't break them out. Plus insomnia, anxiety, dreaming of my projects, and the resources. And did we book Yeah, I won't make my jeans with just my projects around the world. And, yeah, and this mood of always firefighting, like we're not fixing the blacks. Let's look into the root cause of the problem. That's not really then they tell you that this is not the root cause of the problem.

Dana :

I'm really curious what prompted the move, not just to leave the company, but leave the country or the culture or what was it about Canada?

Malak :

As you know, I'm Egyptian, okay. And this Part of the world like the sadly, my country, my region is, is in very bad place right now. And there is no future, there is no hope there is nothing so the immigration has been on my mind long time ago. And knowing that I have to have a way out or have a backup plan, hundred percent from even before working at the office and all of that. So I applied for immigration to Canada at the beginning it was to just do my masters. and Canada was like good and cheap compared to the UK and the US. So this is how Canada came into place. And by the time I got my papers and my residency, I had already like completely changed my plan. And at the same time, like I received my residency and my papers and so on. At the time of the Arab Spring, if you've heard the The Egyptian revolution and 2011 and all of that. So I was even I wasn't gonna even go to Canada. I was convinced I'm going back to Egypt back to my country, we're building the country, we need our youth. It's a new page. Thankfully, we knew it was all LA and I continued with my path to Canada. But at the time, it wasn't any more to have master's and to further and climb the corporate ladder or so on. So by the time it came, I was already in the process of finding out what do I enjoy? Or what's my passion? Because the moment I realized I don't like my work. I had a very dear friend of mine who asked me Okay, you don't like this and forget about the money. Money's no issues. What do you want to do? What do you want to wake up and do tomorrow morning? I didn't know. I was at the time 27 maybe or something like that. Luckily 20th and I didn't know what do I enjoy. I'm 28 years old woman adult I've been working and doing and all of that and I don't want to enjoy it. And it tells you a lot about the system and education and all of that. And I said, Okay, let's let's see, let's dig back and let's dig into childhood. What do I like? What do I enjoy right now? I know I enjoy cooking. I enjoy like politics and journalism, photography. So I experimented with these things until I got into makeup which was very weird because I was convinced that I cannot draw I have no artist, three artistic anything in me at all. But I said, Okay, let's go extreme from engineering. It all of that to just make up words. See, what would that bring? So I already was in motion to relocate to Canada because of this immigration and my and stuff. But when I, before I land in the, in the summer I had already registered with a makeup school and to start the full program so Canada, it started as a way of a backup plan. And if you interview anyone from my region that will tell you the same or Africa or South America, or maybe parts of Asia as well. We all have the same reasons to pursue immigration and a new home.

Dana :

Wow, were you nervous at all when? And I don't know if you moved here with anybody but will you by yourself?

Malak :

So yeah, I moved by myself and I wasn't it when I moved here and started living by myself and going to school I said, you have actually the time to sit and think like during corporate there were, I didn't have that much time to really think and reflect and observe and you know So when I came here, I was like, oh, okay, and when you when I finished my diploma and started work, and you're freelancing, and you're just like withdrawing from your savings. Another thing I wanted to add my notes that I wanted to touch base on. As soon as you realize that you want to change your career, or you want to get out of this modern slavery, there are a few things you have to work on. Find your passion, hundred percent this is first. Second, you're way out financially, because the first few years while you're whether you're studying or you're still busy, building your business and all of that there will be time when you have to support yourself. How if you have supportive parents that even though they don't understand, like my parents, they don't understand what I'm doing for them. I'm a hippie somehow and what she's, she's wasting her life and career. Maybe now they made peace with it, but I cannot deny that they are supportive. So, there were times where I'm like, Oh my god, I have nothing they would step in and help me out and so on. Cuz my savings were depleted. Canada, for example is expensive, especially for new immigrants. They don't make it easy for you. They're just spending spending spend. And while there is no work coming in, or as the beauty of the freelance world, of course beauty sarcasm, oh, wait for experience, gain exposure. It's like those poor intern interns that we get in corporate Yeah, that come to do their work. It's the same thing. So and you would have again, being a freelancer and entrepreneur, so practice self as well while you are in this stage. What are your skills, cooking, driving, reading, a teaching, you know a language and someone needs it. You can make a special dish that may be You can sell, you can drive I worked as a valet driver for example. Great job, no responsibilities, nothing. And I drove all the cars you can think of, from the dirtiest, smelly smelly to Oh my god, the new I love Range Rovers, the new Range Rover or Corvette or pors. I don't like them. They're not comfortable to sports car. But I mean, it's a job where you go do your thing, go home, nothing. Nothing, no one wants anything from you. I did over for a bit. I learned a lot as well. And this is how I learn more about the people here in the city. So as a freelancer or small business owner or self employed or entrepreneur, wherever those names. You have to utilize every skill you have, in order to support the lifestyle that you want. What's that lifestyle, being free and in control of your schedule? The fact You can wake up on a Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning say I don't want to work today. I'm actually going to go to the park, taking into consideration that the weather actually provides the option but let's say we're in the zone. Yes, I want to go to the park today. But will you have the same money you had while in corporate? Of course not. So you learn as well to change your polarity. Really appreciate what methods is it the Is it the Fendi bag? Or is it a nice afternoon having a nice cup of coffee or a drink or a joint with your friends and just sipping and having fun and really challenging this moment and memories? Maybe going to a drive in watch a movie somewhere maybe hanging out with your friends or like going camping or maybe it's travel trip that you plan to someone Who knows what's that little thing for you? Maybe a nice meal that you made and shared with your friends. Whatever, you know, but you learn to really appreciate the little things, what matters what maybe possibly we will take with us when we die because when we die we're not taking anything we're not taking the houses we're not taking the brand stuff we're not taking money taking nothing, nothing maybe the memories I hope we'll have the memories at least. So if you still want to continue the same life, it will be tough. Maybe later when I when really your business has kicked off and like you're making money and like you have steady clients and all of that. Yeah. Why not? But honestly, I learned a lot from doing this small jobs like valet Uber you know, I did a such a fun job. Just taking pictures, you know, these boosts When they set up a booth and they call and you're in a event or party or festival or wedding and someone taking pictures Oh my god, that was my job. I was just there taking pictures and drinking eating meeting people having fun. Back up, go home no responsibilities. That was my goal. Nothing Don't talk to me after you work. I don't want to hear from you guys. So I picked the jobs based on what can I do? Like I can draw? Oh, let's valet. Oh, cool. I can very Do you guys take women? Yeah, cool. Hundred percent. And I did it. And of course when I used to pick up girls from like, people at the airport or like in events or wherever they look at me and David. Wow. Are you kidding? Yes, I'm a woman. What's up? I probably Park better than you which is definitely Yeah. So no One year were cheap in Canada we people were shocked them a belly. Of course when I told him I didn't tell my dad for example that I did funny. But I told my mom, and even my friends who were same age and we'd all like doing stuff and whenever I told one of the backhoe like, Yeah, dude, buddy and he's like, No, no, no What? I'm like, Yeah, thank you that person now that we give the card and gift tips. I'm like, yeah, so what did you think oh my god, and people were like, people were shocked that wow, like, yeah, I'm doing this, but it was fun, no responsibility, and it paid the bills. And it gave me the option to I work what I want. I have my days. I'm not stressed. Yes, you're stressed like there is that I'm done. Went out painted as wow nice know, there are stresses for sure. And especially as a freelancer, you chase people for your invoices, some are respectable, respectable and they pay on time and thumb they don't like come on man like I didn't get my money. Yeah you chasing weeks after weeks and sometimes it affects you paying your bills or like paying someone for something else. And of course there is always learning, our social media marketing, selling advertising, you're always learning and this is another thing that I love about this, when you have the freedom of time. This gives you as well, freedom of thinking, freedom, of believing, freedom of learning, and reading and being outside of this, of the norm of, of being a follower, which is, no one really appreciates that you're not a follower. Yeah, but like everyone is doing this. Uh huh. Good for them. I want to do something you know, that's so interesting. It is but it isn't experience like any other experience but the perks you cannot put money on us freedom that I can today, do this blog, this sorry, this podcast interview with you. And then I'm gonna learn and then I have my 45 minutes Russian lesson with my mom. And then I have other works to do in between tomorrow. If I don't know maybe tomorrow I don't want to work, or x now I'm actually working when I'm going camping on Friday. But this is why I mean that you plan your days and you work not based on someone else's schedule. And when you get a job Yes, of course like when I used to do makeup, three weeks on set. I'm not doing anything but this I don't even do my laundry. Cuz you're working 1416 hours a day. But I don't do this anymore. Just as an example. Now I'm more focused on my movement and my online shop and actually working on something else. Because you have the skills and you keep trying and see what works would you enjoy it like same as I did makeup? I enjoyed it. I opened my creative and artistic side that I didn't know it existed. I always thought I'm like math, physics computers, you know? But oh, I can draw. Oh, okay. Let's see what we can do here. So it actually helped me in my shop to do like the Arabic stuff and like draw the children's shows from my childhood and stuff. So like even your experience from your current job will benefit you and your freelancing like managing your work. Whether accounting, bookkeeping, getting organized, knowing and plan, understanding deadlines, all of that as well, this experience, you cannot put money on it. So it's good, it's beneficial. It helps you as well in managing your own business because you see a big company how they manage. So on a small scale, you apply the same thing. So you have so still this background and this experience is amazing. You did it you learned. Great, now turn it for you.

Dana :

I really like how you touched on, I guess several topics. And just now like you were saying that you you work two different jobs. And the biggest thing you learned or the biggest, I guess, takeaway for me from listening to you is that you cannot put money on freedom to decide on how you live your life, how you spend your time. And also it's also very important, and I don't really hear this a lot that you said that when you're working on like say for example, the valet job or the the job you had when where you were taking photos of, you know, people at parties, helping them with the photo booth, I guess. It's also very valuable that you at the end of the day, you can walk away and not having to think about work because a lot of people, you know, when they're clocked out or whatever, at 6pm 8pm, they continue to work and they like what like you said before they dream about their work. And that's happened to me before many times. I think usually, that's actually the sign that I take that, oh, I am either really stressed out about work, or probably I'm working too many hours or I'm just thinking too much about work. And I really need to kind of take a break and really appreciate that you brought up those points that I don't hear a lot about. And I'm really curious, at what point so were all these jobs before you became a makeup artist or they were kind of happening on the same at the same time. Time and at what point did you decide that you want to switch away from being a makeup artist and starting your own your own shop or and starting yoga.

Malak :

I did the valet and photobooth thing and Uber. At the same time, I'm a makeup artist. Because as a makeup artist, there are times where you not work in seasons of like winter for example. You finish the show and you're just sitting like that and there is no work. So this type of jobs the valet the photo thing I like them because even because you're not like you don't have don't have to work a minimum few hours a week. Now when you're available. you contact the SM logistic events, Suite or Uber when I want us to do overs. I did Ober morning times I did night and then I stick I stuck to weekend. And then I stopped because of the the company anyways. How did why did this switch between makeup and Finally the move. Ever since I was in Dubai, I used to meet yoga teachers or like pelotas or bodypump. At the time, it wasn't really that big on yoga and bar and stuff. But I used to see them in like, you know, they make a fluffy, happy stuff. I was like, Oh, nice, you know, like, I like that. And I was like, I like movement and yes, I'm on off like, I'm not like, you know, but I was like, Yeah, I want to learn and I want to do it, but I kept it I kept pushing it away. No, I'm not a I'm not an athlete. I'm not a yogi. That's not for me. I would be a fraud. I don't want to so I kept like postponing this idea for so long. Until 2017 the summer. Anyway, there was a nice experience in the summer. And it just this experience just made me somehow dislike listen to my inner voice. Just do it. Why not like why not at the end of the tunnel. 2017 really I signed up and I took the 200 hours I loved it and wasn't sure if I'm going to teach but the feedback I got from the students and my teachers yeah yoga teacher and I found myself enjoying it and the whole thing. Okay, but I want to understand more so and I was still doing makeup jobs. End of 2018 I signed up for the 200 hours for Mac pillows. And at the same time, the same time of the course I had I was doing a makeup job. Sadly, this makeup job. I had issues in it like people were not professional. They didn't appreciate anything whatsoever. There was an incident where wildly again, very, very disrespectful and unprofessional ism. That was like a kind of a sign that I don't like that you guys are stressing me out for no reason. You have zero respect And it's just bullshit. So and then it actually affected my teacher during the protests one. So I said, Okay, we'll see I started to think to reconsider my work as makeup artist and the whole and really dig down and observe do I enjoy this? Am I loving this? Is this really what I want? With like everything that I'm seeing in the industry and the hypocrisy and all of that. And then I had one more job that job made me decide because I left the set crying in tears from how I was treated, and even highly, I pride myself that day that it took so much shit and didn't react, and I still left the set in tears. So why I'm so why did I leave? I didn't leave corporate to face that stress and be treated this way. So that's not going to happen and at the same time, Time the movement was the love that I enjoyed it. And I wanted to learn more. And I'm like, Yeah, I love this. Like my brain is really being challenged here like, and I don't need to create the sequences, the music the people, I'm actually helping people to feel better about themselves. Like I'm doing something good. And this is what you I guess as well with with age and experience and when you grow up more and you mature and you find yourself seeking this, this fulfillment feeling I'm not saying that people who do makeup are not important or whatever, but I mean, I didn't get the same satisfaction after doing someone's face, after, like what I do after teaching a class and you see people smiling at me is good, and you're sensitive, good and actually, yeah, like I made the move to be healthy and so on. And this is I was like, I'm done. No more makeup, no more anything. I'm going to focus on focusing on movement, learn and prove myself because you're always learning as a teacher in anything anyways, you're always learning and updating yourself and so on. And I went ahead and took more courses and added more. And thanks to my husband, he helped me in making my online store and stuff because he's a graphic designer and he works in like, making t shirts and accessories and all of that because I didn't know how to make it happen. So it all like kind of happened at this at the right time, let's say it took time but it happened at the right time. And I'm still learning like I'm not saying that oh my god, like my shop now I'm still learning about all this stuff. But it's it's a it's a nice experience. So again, and this is what I wanted to say why do you dig deep to find your passion and Because the few things you will find when you get into the working, you might not enjoy it. Again, it's that's why you go through. Yeah, I went through makeup, the movement, whatever. I'm gonna experiment in something else like you find any finds yourself enjoying other stuff or you get ideas that Oh yeah, this actually could work with that. Why don't they die. And I was having this conversation with a friend of mine as well. She relocated from Egypt to California, and she's not working right now but she used to work as well in corporate like banks and stuff. And she's like, I understand you're always having ideas, your brain, you're lucky I can do this. I can do this. I want to try this. And it's like, there is no limits. They say the sky's the limit. But I'm saying there are no limits to what you can do and what you can explore and what you can learn about yourself. And this is again, amazing in corporate you're only stuck into this is it I'm a project manager. keep growing Management, maybe Program Manager maybe become whatever but, but you're not gonna be doing marketing or you're not gonna flow and jump to sales or you're not gonna go become a technical person, you know what I mean? Like you are into this. But as soon as you jump out of this slavery again and that system of followers and listening and doing what they tell you, and you come here in this open space, let's see, I can draw, I can cook, or I can dive, okay, I have this crazy idea of doing stuff, or I love writing or blogging or wherever. Or I like making my husband now started making recycled paper paper out of recycling and stuff.

Dana :

And how did you start this online shop?

Malak :

So it's called MalWear from Malak. Even right now I'm making it I'm wearing a T shirt that I made it and what's written on it, the struggle is real. I want to wear what I want. I want to Share my culture and you know, just let people know about this given other image of Islam rather than the one that you hear in the media and stuff. And I wanted something that I'm able to use the income from it and give back to the community. And with the help of my husband's like now in Oh, I can drop shipping with drop shipping. I really I can do it completely. I was so ignorant. I didn't know any of that. And then I can just put the designs any company they will receive everything get it done. I was yes. Okay, cool. So I started an Instagram account, it took them to do their website. My vision was not really perfectly clear, like I wasn't sure what to do, but I started the Instagram account that the website found a local company here in Toronto, and started like painting. They took words and markets, the feedback was cool, especially non Arabic. Of course, I have my ups and downs where you're busy. So this you're not really focused on this. It's fun. And I get really more people who are interested or inspired or like yeah, I didn't know this and actually as well sharing my journey of learning more about my own history, cuz this snake, let's do a good compare, just like he, for example, people don't know about the indigenous history, or they don't know about, I don't know, like, whatever, anything. So just same as us as well, from this part of the world. The history has been falsified for political gain. I've been on a journey to understand in depth my own Islam, my religion and knowing Egypt and I studying the proper Arabic because the Arabic I speak is the Egyptian Arabic like this land, like it's not the proper language of the Quran. It's not the real Arabic the real Arabic It's very rich, like you have 28 letters. You can make out 12,500,000 words. English. Yeah. And yes, English, which is again 26 letters or 28 letters, only 600,000 words, French, way less than 600,000 I guess it was 500 or 400. Yeah, so Arabic is, I believe it's the mother of all languages. It's the most language with the roots, root words like the three letter word, which from you stem other words and stuff. So it's a very rich language. So I'm sharing my learning journey and sharing facts and sharing stuff so that people know and at the same time, you know, here's my T shirts or whatever I sell. So this is how this that and if we were learning anything from COVID, that virtual online is not only the future is the present, actually.

Dana :

Definitely Yeah. Has that affected any of your current work?

Malak :

Oh, hundred percent goes COVID old studios closed. private clients like, I don't know, you can go to their place, you know, we used to go to? No, of course not. Even now we are, I guess in phase two or three, something like that in Toronto, Ontario, Toronto. And the students will open again with not sure when exactly, but I'm not ready to go back. Like I personally I'm like, I don't know. Let's see how will this venture out because I'm not comfortable with it now to be in a closed space teaching and wearing a mask and all of that, but it definitely COVID affected but at the same time, it made me really get into the online stuff and kick off my virtual teaching and to build an online community. This is what I'm doing right now. Again, You know, you think about something and you delay you procrastinate. And then COVID came in this is when I okay, let's, let's get this online going. And I love it like no excuses. I don't have to drive anywhere. No, you set up your spot. It's kind of weird to teach to phone, but you get used to it and it's a lot easier. Maybe now a lot of people are playing with the idea of teaching and perks. I do it usually every summer to teach in the perky to know the people in the community and stuff but I never told because it's very weird. Like there are bylaws where it's if it's more than this number, you have to have a permit if it's this number, though. Yeah, there are like and I'm like, I just don't want to deal with this. I'm not gonna take when someone wants to donate. Amazing, you know, money. You can donate or whatever. But I usually do it for free. Like self promotion, so practice in the book. But yeah, so the COVID everyone now definitely will keep the online going, I guess.

Dana :

And do you think has been helping your business or impacting it in a negative way?

Malak :

Well, it's, I have to say it's currently on the negative right now. Because we're not making money like I've been teaching live for free. Even with two studios. We've been teaching for free just donation. So I've been getting donations, but not to sustain you. And again, this is where to stress on the fact have savings or invest in something where it will get you some income, you know, the passive income thing. But we have to be honest, like I met people at almost 40 they had they had to go back and live with their parents because no extent expensive, rents are expensive or whatever, you know, or they're starting something new and they need to cut an expensive. So you have to be creative, adaptable, flexible, open minded to all opportunities.

Dana :

And what were the earlier days like for you when you started yoga, teaching yoga and started the online shop. And I imagine they're probably not at the same time. Probably sounds like you started yoga first and then the shop later.

Malak :

Oh, well, the yoga in the beginning was you have you have a yoga studio. Every block, I'm sure it's the same way you guys are. You have a yoga studio, every book young teachers, just like makeup artists, tons of them. So the competition is crazy. So that's why you have to have an edge. Hence I went into pelotas it was like to understand because yoga only is not enough. Especially how of how now the there is that big change in the movement industry kind of a revolution. It's not just crazy poses and that's your back to the nose and all of that. It's really about not true. Because I fell in this at the beginning doing challenges and I want to do like some weird, crazy poses, just so that Yeah, I'm a yogi, but I ended up hurting my back. Yeah, and there was like accumulation of like, CrossFit and stuff. But now so that's why I went into peloton, I took ball because I want to have an edge. So you continue learning you continue adding knowledge or skills so that you are hireable. But then when you get hired that studios, of course, like any working environment, there are politics. There are some issues here and there. But again, it's manageable like am I it's manageable. I'm fine, Nick. Okay, cool. I just want to teach so whatever. But then you like our thinking because before COVID to open is to do, or like take a franchise and have my own to do teach and like blah, blah, blah and have that business where it generates income, because franchises are usually a successful thing that you can make with it, but then COVID hit, and it made me realize, oh, okay, we need to the world is changing. So there will be people still who will want to go to studios, and there are people who prefer the online stuff. So I started doing yoga, it was very hard to get hired at any studio with just Yoga 200 hours. They asked, you know, we need 500 hours. Why? Because the students as well they want to make money, how they make money. Yes, there are the subscription and people coming but the As well as the teacher training, all the training they provide. So they want you to take the 300 out, even though the 300 hours or more of philosophy, like nothing more about the body or the movement. So it's all philosophy, which is it's just Hinduism. It's basically getting into Hinduism, learning Hinduism. And if you if you want to work at apologists to do Oh, do you have the certificate for the reformer machine? Do you have this you have that? So you have to find yourself a nice or what exactly do you want to move? What do you want to teach? Or where do you want to teach? Because it is competitive. They ask so much of you. It's not easy. So that's why there are adventures like I started teaching at condos, they can their jam room or yoga room or wherever. Because the studies were like very close net or like very close because you have like, there is so many of us. But there isn't many who have yoga below this board, who can teach functional who can teach whatever. So I learned that I was like, Okay. And things are better at doing events doing stuff. But now we're like back to zero. Thanks to cool. Yeah. As for the job, it's learning it's always learning how to market to once this all my scenes are from markets that say, like online like that, very, to be honest. But it's market like the face to face with people talking to them explaining this. That's in my case, for example, I have another friend now all her things are online, starting something. Of course, it's easy to start, something's difficult to continue but I mean, starting a business, you will never know everything, and you will never be 100% perfectly as if you were gonna wait for the Perfect, ready? You're never gonna stop. And I had to learn because I learned about myself that I'm a perfectionist. And I was like, No, but this is not good. And I don't have this much or I don't, then you will never stop. And that's why it took me time to do this job. Because I wanted it. I wanted to have everything that But no, you have to start and learn and experiment and there will be errors, there will be failures. 100% and that's why I said you have to have to be adaptable and flexible and open minded because lots of rejections. Lots of failures, but just keep going. And it's not easy to keep going. I'm not saying it's easy. No, sometimes I don't do anything because I'm just discouraged. Like, I'm not gonna lie. And you just pick yourself up again and continue and keep going and remind yourself Why are you doing this? Because you're a human being, you know, we're not machines.

Dana :

So what do you think is next for you? Sounds like you've done a whole lot in the past and so many different careers and jobs, and you've learned so much along the way. Do you think there could be something different in the future for you?

Malak :

Hundred percent - Not that I know, but I think I'm positive because change is the only constant in the last three months in a blink of an eye. We'll all stayed home. And all plans are gone. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. But of course can I know I love learning. I know there is a lot I want to learn. There is a lot that I want to share with people and I want to inspire more people to change their thinking. Like it's not just a job. I understand that. You have responsibilities kids, bills, worries, fears, because it's not it's not an easy decision to say peace out and just start an adventure. But I mean, why are you here? Like why? Why do we live? Why are we alive? Like as human beings Why are we here? Is it just too good to wake up, go to work the next day start life, or like hustling or chasing after materialistic stuff. And at the end of the day, we're not happy. Hence lots of people suicide or lots of suspects that successful, famous people kill themselves. So that's not it. We're here to better ourselves, improve ourselves and help others and make the world a better place to leave it better than what we came in. So that's what I'm working on. I want to learn I want to share my knowledge I want to inspire people to get out of the box with a think outside of the box. You need to be outside of the box to think outside of the box. Yeah, when you are in that in this box, no way you don't see anything out. You don't. And from my experience, you don't. I didn't at all until I came out at 30 years old and I was at home God, what was he doing? What could happen? I don't know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna come working on starting something a third small thing that I can do as well from home, which is basically food because I love cooking and making food. Maybe that would be it. So me, I don't know, you know, like, or maybe I would be living somewhere else I know I want to travel and you know, I want to go with my husband and go see other places. So basically, I stopped planning for the future. Good. We, I don't know what's gonna happen in the future. I don't even know. Like I have a plan for tomorrow. But would it happen? Who knows? So I know that there is a lot I want to learn. And I want to inspire people and hopefully get at a place where How do you see my kids and get to a place where I'm, what's the word? like living a good life, not extravaganza, but decent, and good and simple. You know, and helping people because honestly, it's just it does feel good when you help people. You know, make them feel good or like help them to smile or laugh or just experiment with their skills and what they can do, and that they have that there are other opportunities. They're there, we're not stuck. Basically.

Dana :

Lastly, if people are interested in your shop, or in doing yoga with you, where can they find you?

Malak :

So Instagram for example, the yoga one is @malak.yoga. My shop is @malwearto.

Dana :

I think this has been such a wonderful conversation. I really enjoyed learning your journey and all the lessons you learned. It's, that's that's the thing that always really inspires me is the conversation with people and their their listens, really. And it's just always so inspirational. I talked to like 100 people and then there's always something different about everyone. So thank you.

Malak :

It's an honor. Thank you so much for having me. That was really fun and interesting, and I hope I gave you some useful insights to the experience. And Nice to meet you.

Dana :

Thank you.