A Local Print Shop Opened My Eyes to Possibilities

Over the summer, I have learned more about professional life and career opportunities than I had in all 11 years of my schooling. Most of that came from speaking with amazing professionals from various industries over zoom as part of the Enterprise for Youth Career Exploration virtual summer internship. As informative as those discussions were, they were no match for a tour of an actual workplace. 

Ciaran Buitrago, Enterprise for Youth intern

On July 7th we were joined by Mike Lynch and his coworkers at Babylon Burning, a screen printing workshop located in SoMa. Coming to us live in the middle of a strange room with square screens lining the wall, Mike told us his story. While workers in the background pressed screens in large industrial machines, Mike told us how he never intended to become an owner and CEO of a business. He had simply pursued the job he loved: printing designs. After he had learned the marketing side of things, he was able to move out of the workshop and into the upstairs office. When Steve Patton, the founder of Babylon Burning, was looking to sell the business, Mike took his chance and became the owner. This was inspiring to me, as it reaffirmed my belief that as long as I am passionate about my career, I will do well. It also inspired me to take advantage of every good opportunity that may come my way.

During the tour we were able to see the process of turning an image into a t-shirt for all the interns at Enterprise. The procedure was much more extensive than I thought it would be. It was very cool to observe the graphic design stage, as I am interested in computer science and I love learning about new applications for computers. Seth, the main graphic designer at Babylon Burning, showed us the process of creating an image in Adobe Illustrator. Software like Adobe Illustrator is useful in any industry, so it was great to observe how professionals use it. Seth, like Mike, had simply pursued what he had loved doing and turned it into a career. 

I loved this morning because I learned about a totally new job opportunity. As a very STEM focused student, I feel I often lose touch with my artistic side. This morning’s discussion was enlightening in many respects. I was reminded that art can lead to very interesting and fulfilling professions. Workplace atmosphere is something very hard to discover without actually being there and  yet it is also one of the most important aspects of choosing a job. This tour really showed me what it would be like to work in a screen printing shop. Little interactions, like one of the workers showing off a glow-in-the-dark shirt design, revealed so much more than words can describe. I hope in future Enterprise programs we will get to tour other workplaces, so I can gain insight as to what it really means to work in various industries. 

By Ciaran Buitrago, Enterprise for Youth intern
August 16, 2019