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Doing what you have to do, to do what you want to do.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Loki_D_Wolf, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Loki_D_Wolf

    Loki_D_Wolf Guest

    Just as the title reads. I'm in the office world and the last two years of it I just hate it. I have the photographer fever bad! I want out and want to dive right in but I know better. I know that it can be rough and probably take some time before photography can be lucrative. So lucrative that you can do it full time.

    Here's my scenrio folks: take a photography job that I don't prefer doing but it's photography and not a stupid office. Think of the movie Office Space. That's my life right now.

    It does have weekends off though and it's based on assignments. I would have to be open from 6am-6pm. And have my own car. I don't have to worry about gear becuase it's provided. I'm paid for the miles I travel as well. Training is provided. Weekends off. Standard Benefits. It'll free up some time and I can focus on my type of photography and the business I'm trying to get started. It's just a portrait gig at different schools.

    Now taking photos for 5 years I'm not overly concerned about if I'll do a good job. But I'll get out of this office world and be doing something I love to do. It's just doing the type of photography I don't prefer which is portrait. I'm open to it though. And I know some models from the acting world and I practiced with one over the weekend. Got some great shots too!

    Still, what would you do? Stay at a job ya truly hate but at least it's a definite check. Or take the chance, go to something that could still pay the bills but it's doing the type of photograpy you don't prefer?
  2. About the steady paycheck part of it, I have seen first hand what that can lead to. My sister was just dismissed after 12 years with a multinational chain due to perfomance issues (she was the store ASM and was having a conflict with the store manager and she lost :mad: ). she is now 42 y/o and though she was given a package, she now has to start over, not an easy task.

    I read a while back in an investing book (i read a lot about investing and business) that the best form of job security is to be self employed. Rarely do you downsize your self or your position becomes redundant.:tongue:

    Obviously there is a lot more involved in being self employed, but you do have more control when you are.

    As for doing what you love to do, it can be a double edge sword. Your hobby is fun because you do it when and where you want. Once you have to show up for a gig to pay the bills, you love for photography may change. A good friend was a big car guy when we were younger and he became a mechanic. He hates cars now and refuses to work on even his own stuff.

    It all depends on the person that you are. There are many others out there that have made a good living out of their passion, do you have it in you to do the same?
  3. Rob T

    Rob T

    Aug 27, 2008
    I agree with this.

    When I took a photography class in College, I ran into an old friend from high school, who was helping out in the photo lab. He was an Art major, and was going to be a pro photographer. He was very talented, I must admit.

    I ran into him again a couple years after college. I asked him how he liked his work, and although he was able to make a living doing it, he said that his passion for the art of photography was diminished greatly, and he is not sure that he would have done it if he had it to do over again. It just turned into a job for him.
  4. sounds like you are leaving a sure job you don't like for an unsure job you don't really like. Be a shame to turn the joy you have in photography into a chore.

    I am blessed in my job I guess. I have my own little hvac/electric biz and while I never know if I'll have work the next week every day is rewarding. At the end of the day I repaired something or did an installation that (more every year) will outlive me.

    I only know one pro and he's starving. Even the big stock agencies are turning down most everything. No National parks for some even. Good luck in whatever you decide. You are already far ahead of many who would never even consider a move.

  5. All jobs can become a bit of a chore after a time. From my own experience I'd been in commercial management for several years with a couple of redundancies along the way just for added value. Extensive travelling throughout Europe. Flying to Switzerland for an evening meeting at the airport, catching the same plane back to Heathrow and back into work at 0730 the following morning. Just got fed up with it not to mention office politics etc etc.,

    Anyway, decided upon a complete and utter career change. Joined a national telecoms company starting at the very bottom - up and down telegraph poles in the sun, rain & snow etc but quickly worked my way up through the ranks. Ok, politics were still there ( as they are anywhere ) but I was able to retire at 50 ( 10 years ago) on full company pension with a nice redundancy package.

    Job satisfaction meant nothing to me as that does'nt pay the bills. It's the payslip at the end of month that counts but that's just me.

    If you have an ounce of commonsense ( I don't mean that personally, just a matter of speech), find a job in a Company that's big, disorganised, the left hand does'nt know what the right hand is doing, and you'll be successful ( ok, depends what success means to one ).

    The only person that can make things happen is the individual but don't risk becoming a successful failure!

    Best of luck with whatever you decide....your destiny awaits you.

    Regards John
  6. The way I see it

    There are only 2 jobs I really did not like in my life... Because of bad management, the way you are treated really affects what you do.

    Now if you are in a boring job but are treated well... Give it some more thoughts on the other hand, take a leave of absence, couple of weeks vacation, what ever it takes so you can try this new job while keeping the security of the old to go back to if needed...

    You don't owe any employer any loyalty what so ever cause when that employer doesn't need you - he'll let you go. I was an employee then an employer - I saw it both ways and do what you need to do for yourself.

    I wouldn't leave a steady pay check to do the kind of photography I don't like... and "It's just a portrait gig at different schools" that sounds to me like a seasonal job - mainly in the Fall and Spring... I dunno...

    Think about it... What would your ideal job be? Where do you want to be in 5 then 10 years financially? What are you guaranteed to get with this job?

    Chase your dreams and go for it or... think it out, dip a toe in the water before taking the plunge...?

    (Ooooh heck, go for it!)
  7. billg71


    May 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I remember hearing on a podcast that the average income for pro photographers is $25K/yr. I don't know if that's gross, net, salary or whatever but I do know that, in this day and age, that's hardly a livable income.

    I'm not saying it's not possible to make a good living at photography but you're going to have to go after it hard. "be open from 6am-6pm" doesn't pay the bills, that's what assignments do. How many can you expect a week and what do they pay? If it doesn't amount to a livable income, what are your plans? Are you paid as an employee with payroll deductions or as an independent contractor? Forget mileage, unless you're driving 20K+ miles a year it won't pay vehicle expenses. Weekends off means you'll be able to shoot weddings or HS sports on the side and that'll probably be a significant portion of your income. Are you ready to give up weekends so you can eat?

    Do you have an accountant? If not, you better find one. Do you have a bookkeeper? Get one or get familiar with Quickbooks, accountants charge too much to pay them for bookkeeping. Insurance: errors and omissions, general liability, property(photo gear), commercial vehicle? Health insurance? Are you incorporated? Sub-S or LLC? I could go on....

    I'm not trying to discourage you but these are all things your employer is doing for you now while you sit in that cubicle you hate so much. Are you willing and able to take on these responsibilities for yourself? More importantly, can you do all this and still have time to take pictures(i.e. generate income) and maintain whatever personal life you may have left?

    As a small-business owner, I can tell you from experience these are all things that have to be dealt with. Forget the 40-hour work week, if you get by with 60 the first couple of years consider yourself lucky.

    It ain't easy but the rewards are there. It just takes dedication, perseverance and a whole lot of work! IIRC, over 90% of small business fail to last more than a year, do what you gotta do to put yourself in that top 10. It's not impossible but it for sure ain't easy. Work is a four-letter-word, after all....

    Best of luck and God bless, whichever way you go,
  8. Loki_D_Wolf

    Loki_D_Wolf Guest

    Wow, very insightful responses. They, give me pause. I did apply for the job to see what more it entails.

    I understand where everyone is coming from. And I guess to me the photography job is the better of two evils which are:

    Cubicle or taking the type of pictures I don't particularly like taking? Ha!

    Well, I do need to find out more about that position. I talked to my wife about this and her concern was normal. She's for it but find out more about the pay. It does come across as assignment like and we need to have a particular amount from me per month.

    See, I figured if I took this job and I got the right amount of pay overall I would have more time to concentrate on getting my own business off the ground. Plus, could be more experience since I just started to take portrait shots of models to help with income in the future (right now it's practice).

    Having this 7-4pm gig consistantly is killer. If say I have 2 assignments one day and one the next. The 2nd day I have time to focus on my business. Like marketing, getting prints, etc.

    I won't give up the current job if the photography job isn't solid enough for me. But I felt it was an option.

    Thanks everyone for your responses!!! I love this site!
  9. "Doing photography you don't prefer",still lets you make connections,carry cards and network whenever you can.
  10. Amarok


    Aug 25, 2008
    Prairie City OR
    I was actually in a very similar position not to long ago. I was working in an office, I had been there for 5 years and had been at similar jobs at other offices the 4 years prior to that. I was miserable, I was gaining weight from sitting around all day, I was dreading going into work every morning, however for lack of a better term I was comfortable.

    One day I got passed over for a promotion for the second time for a job I had already been doing in addition to my regular work. I thought about what I really wanted, it was not working there. I sent in my application into a college out by where some of my family lived. I was accepted. I left my job, the hardest part was leaving my friends. So here I am back in college working on two majors and two minors, a few years ago I was certified as a conservation detection dog handler. I love being out doors and so I took the chance. This is actually going to give me the opportunity to take photos around the world while I'm doing field research. So while the job itself does not require me to be a photographer, it enables me to be one, and one beyond the normal scope. I'm actually helping pay for my books and things at school by doing some odd photography jobs here and there.
  11. Loki_D_Wolf

    Loki_D_Wolf Guest

    I, Spy

    Point taken!
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