In today's world, the idea of securing a good job is basically one of life’s most difficult challenges. A good salary, a flexible working schedule, and most importantly, the privilege of actual job-fulfillment are for many, simply unattainable.
While a lot of people settle for mediocre desk jobs to pay the bills, there are the risk takers - those who have the courage to take a leap of faith out of the mundane and into the exciting.
Here are 10 Egyptians who chose to do something completely different than their area of expertise, for the sake of passion - and actually won at it.
1. Hatem Arafa
Hatem Arafa is originally a Business and Marketing graduate, but his passion for Arabic calligraphy - which started at the age of 18 - led him to eventually make a career of it.
Starting with a few videos and workshops, his reputation grew to earn him some 50K followers on Facebook.
“Everyone thought I was crazy, letting all of that go to start from scratch... to become a student again, but I had to do it!” Arafa told StepFeed.
He's since moved to Turkey where he was taught the ways of renowned calligraphy masters.
In due course, he would be awarded a 75% scholarship in one of the world’s most elite calligraphy schools, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf Üniversitesi.
2. Ramez Youssef
Ramez Youssef - or “Moza” as he likes to be called - is a high honors architecture graduate with no media background whatsoever.
Youssef was going to have a very predictable life, or so he thought until his one-year army service changed everything. He would enter as an architect and leave as a creative stand-up comedian.
He would go on to work as a light designer on projects like the Baron Palace and the Opera House in Cairo, but it wasn’t until he was discovered by now-partner Mohamed El Bassiouny that he started to seriously consider a career in media.
“I’m a very yes man… I like to seize every opportunity that comes my way. Bassiouny offered something and I instantly said YES!” Youssef told StepFeed.
3. Abdulrhman Nusair
Abdulrhman Nusair is an architect, but that's not all...
By 2012, his passion for photography would blossom, allowing him to eventually give beginner courses in the field. The turning point was when he worked for a tourism company as a freelance photographer two years after his graduation.
This particular opportunity opened doors for him; he got to travel and work with a German archaeological team in Luxor, Egypt, then with UNESCO in India for three months.
“They told me I can’t do it… I can’t do both, but here I am,” Nusair told StepFeed.
With over 9K followers on Facebook, Nusair is still working as a full-time architect and is not planning to let go of either of his jobs anytime soon.
4. Safaa Amin
Safaa Amin is an Abu Dhabi-based architect with a passion for crochets and handcrafts.
She started crocheting for fun shortly after graduating, teaching herself through YouTube tutorials. With the help and support of her entourage, she launched her own mini-craft online-shop, Safa Crochet.
The orders were primarily from her inner circle until they grew bigger by the day, so she created an Instagram account to serve her increasing number of clients.
Now, with over 15K followers on the social media platform, Amin is considered one of the youngest entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi. She’s called to participate in events and markets because of her unique work.
She is 26 years old and is knitting both of her passions, crochet and architecture, to form a more fulfilling existence.
5. Ahmad Hayman
“A couple of days after I arrived in Denmark for my scholarship, the 25th Jan revolution happened. There were no airplanes back to Egypt, I was stuck there for two days until I got back on the 28th… and I didn’t have a clue that this would be my breakthrough,” Hayman to StepFeed on how he captured the 18-day riot in the streets of Egypt.
He started from scratch with nothing but practice and family support to push him forward. He now has Beit El Sura (House of Photo,) a school that teaches photography, exhibits professionals' work and produces art.
With over 500K followers on his Facebook page, Hayman is considered one of our generation's best visual storytellers.
6. Omar Ghazzawy
Omar Ghazzawy is a dentist. What's interesting about this young man isn't his passion for teeth and oral hygiene, but his ability to juggle his love for water and wind with his dental career.
He's present in almost all kitesurfing Instagram accounts because of his participation in contests and competitions.
“I started it [kitesurfing] in 2010, and I just fell in love with it and couldn’t stop,” Ghazawy told StepFeed.
He spares time to travel around Egypt, feeding his passion for this water sport, while maintaining his job as a dentist.
His Instagram account has about 900 followers.
7. Adham El Rayes
“Guys my age usually wake up every day not knowing, I like knowing, I like waking up daily to go train and work out. Boxing makes me wake up excited to start my day,” El Rayes told StepFeed when asked about his passion for boxing.
He is already making his name known in almost all the places that teach boxing in Cairo.
“I just walk in and start training, and they become thrilled… Hard work pays off,” he added.
He also got himself a couple of contracts as a professional boxer, and the credit goes to his 5K fan base on Instagram.
8. Soha Emam
This young dentist loves, practices, and has traveled to pursue yoga and learn more about tantra and its philosophy.
Emam went to India a year ago to enrich her knowledge of the practice, eventually becoming a licensed yoga instructor.
Emam is still working as a dentist and a teacher assistant at the faculty of dentistry.
9. Ezz Tarek
Ezzeldin Tarek - better known as Ezz Tarek - earned a degree in Marketing and Advertising. But that’s not all... The fiery redhead is an actual rock star. He founded his own band, Khayal (Imagination,) and they are already holding concerts.
Tarek started the band in 2013 as its guitarist and lyricist, before eventually becoming the lead singer and recruiting the group's only female member, Hanya.
“I once tweeted a very random thought of what I wanted my album's name to be... Years later, Khayal has an album with that name in the market,” Tarek told StepFeed, referring to their Awel w Msh Akher Mara (First and not the last time) album.
10. Engy Fateen
Engy Fateen graduated as a dentist even though she knew she wasn’t cut for it since her sophomore year. She always had an eye for fashion and design, but it took her seven years to start her own accessories line.
"I want people to know who is behind Jpieces, I don’t want to be a brand with no face. I am Jpieces. I love when people come up to me to take pictures while they’re wearing my handmade designs,” Fateen told StepFeed.
With a fast-growing fan base of 5K, Engy is building a strong foundation for her line in Egypt all while working an administrative job at Misr International University.
And she's not going anywhere anytime soon, as bloggers and media personalities are already flaunting her designs just a year after the launch of her business.