Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My dream job (I bet you can guess what it is)

Full disclosure/confession: there is definitely a reason why I haven't written a "30 things" post in a while, and its because I had been dreading writing about the 6th prompt.

In the interest of moving forward, I am going to skip #6 in the 30 things challenge— "the hardest thing I've ever been through" because I've written extensively about it on this blog before and it's a real big bummer and I KNOW that no one wants to hear me prattle on about my father's death again. I mean, buzzkill! You already know about it, so you can go find the entries I've written about it if for some bizarre reason you'd like to revisit my pain. :P

What is my dream job? Well, I'm living it already ... sort of. I'm sure it's obvious that my dream job is to be a professional photographer. I'm already doing this, except I also have a day job (which, thankfully, is intellectually challenging and I actually like), and I'm not exactly sure how to change that (at least for now), or (a recent development) if I even want to. Let me tell a story...a true story, to try to illustrate my recent thoughts:

When I was 15, I taught myself HTML and began working toward what eventually became a roaring passion for coding and web design. I assumed, upon moving to the bay area twelve years ago, that being a web designer is what I wanted to do with my life. After a lot of hard work and even more luck, I rode the tail end of the first dot-com boom to jobs at places like Yahoo! and Rational Software (now IBM). I loved my jobs, for the most part, and I made a ton of money (more than any 18-year-old should), but something really bad happened as the months wore on: I lost my passion, and my love for, design. I no longer wanted to do it "for fun," and though I kept with design for many years after this, my passion waned until I decided I wanted nothing to do with it anymore. That's really sad to me. I was a good designer. Not great, but good, and self-taught, which is something that should have given me confidence, but only ended up causing self-doubt.

I love photography. Love. I love it as much as I've loved writing and design in my former creative incarnations, and far more. I've committed to it hard. I want to do nothing but it. But there are times, particularly when I'm experiencing creative burnout (which happens every few months), when that little voice in the back of my head taps me on the shoulder and wonders if the same thing that happened with design could happen with photography. You know, if you pursue a career full time, are you destined to lose your passion for it, eventually?

I am 99% sure that this is fear talking, and not a real concern. But I must say, it has made me re-evaluate the intensity with which I've tried to push myself toward quitting my day job and doing photography full time. I am known for pushing myself very hard, and I don't want to burn out long term. Short term is something I can deal with (especially now that I've gone through them several times & have always come out of them), but long term is the scary monster under the bed. I just hope I'm right with the decisions I'm making about this. I try to find the balance (ah, you again, balance!) between pushing too hard, and not enough.

Let me know if you find it, because as usual, I'm pretty clueless about balance.

In the end, I know that photography is everything and the only thing I want to do for my full-time career in this life, so I better get through these fears, because I'm not that far from achieving this dream, and probably less far than I think. Are you in your dream job? Did you have similar thoughts? Bueller?

Best of Both Worlds

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