Episode 6: Aligning Career with Personal Values with Ramon

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My guest today is Ramon Ramirez. Ramon grew up in Los Angeles to parents who worked hard to provide for their family but didn’t really communicate their expectations for higher education. He reflects on how his parents instilled a strong work ethic that has allowed him to succeed in various aspects of his life. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley and stayed on to receive a Master of Arts and Master of Architecture from UC Berkeley as well.  He started his career in architecture but mid-career decided to follow his true passion, art. Ramon’s work has been featured in the Carnegie Art Museum, the Mesa Southwest Museum (Arizona Museum of Natural History), The Fowler Museum at UCLA, and at numerous universities. His work was also featured on a LA Metro campaign in 2012 and he was interviewed for Vista LA in 2017. Here is a little of his First Gen Journey . . .


Show Notes:

Ramon shared his journey from architect to professor to artist. He described how national and personal events lead to making decisions about what he needed from a career, and how having a college education helped make it possible for him to follow his passion.

Here are some highlights from Ramon’s Interview:

  • Recognizing his parent’s values of having a strong work ethic and experiencing life (1:45)

  • Growing up in college (6:10)

  • Being academically prepared but lacking cultural understanding related to his major (7:25)

  • Building connections with professors and engaging in school (10:23)

  • Reacting to national and personal events and how they affected his career path (14:08)

  • Having options and opportunities due to his education (17:14)

  • Explaining his career transitions to his family (19:07)

  • Figuring out how to be a professional artist (20:43)

  • Adapting to change (25:00)

  • Being confident and not experiencing imposter syndrome (27:10)

  • Valuing experiences (31:05)

Ramon’s First Gen Tips:

1.     Go to the library and use your campus resources to research and learn about what you don’t know.

2.     Get involved on campus through leadership positions within your department and in student organizations.

3.     Talk to professors about current events, ask for suggestions they have for supplemental lectures or articles for further learning, or ask about topics related to those discussed in lectures.

4.     Pursue your passion – if you know what your passion is, do it.


I mentioned the research finding that experiences lead to more happiness than material possessions. Here is the citation if you are interested in reading the article:

Van Boven, L. & Gilovich, T. (2003). To Do or To Have? That is the Question. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 1193-1202.

You can find Ramon’s work at Jaguarland and connect with him on Instagram @jaguarland.

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