Career tracks and callings
Thank you to everyone who offered me encouragement about my photography so far. I’ve long mulled over whether I should take the leap and actually commit to a career in photography. I suppose putting together a portfolio is a step towards doing that. I also think about seriously pursuing writing as well. On my Twitter profile, I identify myself first as a writer and photographer. Technically, it is true.
I still have lingering doubts as to whether it’s realistic for me to actually consider either of those as my vocation. People tell me I’m good at both, but I still wonder if I’m one of the people for whom “do what you love” is not particularly good advice to give. It’s not hard work alone that gets success in the world: talent, skill, opportunity, connections and circumstance cannot be ignored. Some people can only do what they must, whether they like it or not.
It’s not just the ultra-competitive fields where this is true. There are people who do pretty well at call centre work, but others, despite their best efforts and developed skills, still don’t have the natural talent for that occupation and end up either getting fired or burning out. But it’s easier and less risky to look for work in a call centre than try to eke out a living doing what you love. I’ve done the call centre route. I did alright: in retrospect, I did better than I would have imagined and learned a good deal, but the longer I stayed there, the more I realized that I was never going to be completely happy in that setting. I felt that even if I were to come to love it, it didn’t really come naturally to me. It was also exhausting me to the point where my time off was spent on recovering for the next shift instead of putting words together or going out with my camera.
Photography and writing are more than just hobbies to me. They’re urges that the way I see the world is inevitably filtered through.
I’m at the point where I know I have to ask myself whether it’s worth the effort of pursuing what I want to do, or if I should just keep practicality in mind and keep my interests on the back burner. What does it mean to be realistic? Does that not sometimes include accepting that the best you can ever hope for is cleaning toilets?
I’m thinking it’s time to actually subject myself to a bigger test of my abilities. I’m thinking about the 35 before 35 list these days. I’m considering making it a goal of mine to sell some of my work in the next five years…