Pathways, Doors, and Equity
I read something this week that really resonated with me. It was in a well-known professional photographer's blog. He was responding to an e-mail he received from a struggling amateur who was discouraged by his lack of creativity and advancement. The thing was, when the pro went to go check out his work, he found that the discouraged photographer really didn't have anything posted, and most of his web presence was either talking about video games or complaining about various aspect of his life. For a guy who wanted to be a photographer he really wasn't doing any of the things that photographers typically do to learn and succeed, at least with respect to the web which is the epicenter for all things photo nowadays. So the pro gave him one of the most amazing responses I've ever read. It was, somehow, blunt and ass-kicking while simultaneously positive and inspirational. Usually when you hear a "tough love" response, it's really just the lecturer unloading his contempt for the listener and trying to couch it as something "for his own good". Malevolence disguised as benevolence. But this guy really nailed it perfectly.
Anyway, the thing that really hit home for me was when he was talking about dealing with one's shitty day job. He wrote,
What is it you MOST want to do and go after THAT. Your day job is now your own personal corporate sponsor to get you going in that direction.Wow. That's a hell of a liberating idea if you're one of the (probably majority of) people who don't like their day job! I had kind of accepted the idea that I wasn't going to get much fulfillment from my chosen profession and that it was up to me to find fulfillment in some other way (which I've done through family, music, and photography). But I love this notion of thinking about your day job as a "corporate sponsor" for your independent pursuit of fulfillment. It makes the employee/company relationship a lot more equitable. You can look at it as you're both helping each other toward independent goals, or you're mutually using each other. Either way, it's a lot more fair relationship when viewed that way.