In my introduction to this series, I mentioned how the reality of my twenties didn’t quite match up to my glamorized expectations. After a lifetime of going from year to year with little responsibilities outside of a part time job, keeping my living space sanitary and turning in my assignments on time, I guess you could say adulthood was a bit of a shocker. I did the life after college scramble, frantically trying to figure out how I was going to afford the lifestyle I was living without the blessing of my monthly student loan check (which, I might add, immediately turned to a curse post-college). Most importantly, I needed to find a job.
Most of you who have been reading this blog since it first started know that my passion in life is photography. You also know that I’ve come clean on the fact that I haven’t yet pursued it as my career and have instead been bouncing from corporate job to corporate job. For a long time, I thought this meant that I was a failure. I felt like I had let down a lot of the people in my life that supported my pursuit of art because I wasn’t actively working in the field. It turns out I was looking at everything backwards and that’s something I wish I had learned sooner.
I’ve always had a problem being stuck in the “big picture” instead of being able to break things down into small steps. I expected to graduate college and jump right into my field with a full time photography position. Instead I ended up taking a full time corporate job in merchandising which paid the bills but definitely didn’t make me happy. I now understand how valuable that job really was. Everyday I came to work with an inbox overflowing with emails, yet I was able to complete my mile long to do list everyday because from that position I learned time management. I gained experience leading a team, and working as part of one, which is something I may or may not have been able to learn as a photographer running my own business. When I moved to Florida I obtained a position in Marketing (which I am still at now) and through this job I have learned how to market small businesses through a variety of platforms. Because of this job, I now have an incredible skill set that will enable me to market myself.
I remember a conversation with my grandma not too long ago in which she described a career as a process. As a result of the time spent not making a living off of my photography, I have actually gained important skills that will assist me in running a much more successful photography business. Sure, those jobs may not have anything to do with photography, but they have all taught me something that I can bring into my own business.
It’s finally clicked for me that big things, like careers, simply don’t happen overnight. A successful career takes a lot of time, dedication, and patience and we may have to go through several jobs that we don’t like to end up with one we love. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, taking jobs that don’t relate to your field don’t make you a failure. There’s something to be learned at even the most mundane office job.
How have the jobs you’ve had since college helped you work towards your ultimate career goals?