I have been out of the workforce for a mere three years but it might as well be a decade- the job search is still ongoing. Early on, I didn’t have a strict idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, until my cousin wisely pointed out that marine biology was not the study of swimming with dolphins. As an adult I can understand that that kind of job goal is problematic on several fronts.
When I was 17, my mom gave me her Pentax K1000. It came with a fixed 50mm lens, a 70-300mm lens and a basic flash. The K1000 is an entirely manual 35mm film camera. Today it would be considered a fossil in this rich landscape of DSLRs and fancy smartphone cameras and apps. It had a light meter in the viewfinder that helped teach me about aperture and shutter speed. I spent the summer clicking away while camping with my family.
Beginning in my senior year of high school, I started taking any photography class I could and had my first glimmer of a career goal- a surf photographer. I had recently discovered Gidget and surfing and my head was full of Moondoggie, tans, bikinis and tropical destinations.
It was naive of me to think that it would be that simple. Not only is it just not realistic of a profession for a non surfer who lived in a desert- I just had no idea what it took to build your own business.
On some counts, being a successful professional photographer has nothing to do with the actual photography part and everything to do with your business management and marketing skills. Social Media has revolutionized the ability for an artist to reach their target audience. Creativity has crept into almost all aspects of the business marketing model. I went to school for Art History, knowing I wanted to do something creative professionally just not sure how it would manifest itself. Part of me wishes I had been a tad more realistic and minored in business or marketing.
Like a lot of my generation, we were told to go to college, get our degrees, and the jobs would just fall in our laps if we were willing to work hard for it. I graduated during the recession and no dream jobs materialized. Didn’t mean that I got discouraged- I just got a job. I found something to be motivated about in a place that hired me. I was passionate about the hats at the hat shop I worked at- despite not really being a hat wearer myself. I was passionate about opening at Starbucks (430am comes very quickly) despite not being remotely a morning person. I was passionate about helping my bosses create a social media presence for their restaurant and I definitely was passionate about their menu.
Almost 10 years later, I am in this unique position. I have my personal life in better order, but my work resume is a mess. I get to find my dream job, but it needs to now fit into a life where priorities have shifted. And I’m learning how to tailor my resume to represent what I have to offer as a well rounded employee.
There are plenty of moms who love being a stay at home mom. There are moms who wish they could be stay at home moms. I think life as a mom should be about balance. I need to feel like I am engaging with my kids and be there to see them grow and develop. I also want to be fulfilled outside of motherhood, contribute financially to the future of my family while also stretching my creative chops and jumping into challenges head on. I’d like to not only be “Mommy” but also, “professional photographer and writer”.