Am I the only one who feels guilty about the fact that I thoroughly enjoy working ?I had this discussion with a friend not long ago and I thought it may be interesting to elaborate on that thought.
As anyone who reads me may know, I make a living shooting and occasionally writing about fashion. It began as a simple dream and hobby ( though I genuinely despise that word ) but became a lot more important rather quickly. Even though I always hoped that this hobby would possibly/maybe/hopefully one day turn into a career, I almost had a hard time admitting it to myself. I think a part of me refused to give that idea much thought as the very high risk of failure was almost too apparent to me. It’s kind of like when you have a crush ( another word I CANNOT stand ) and refuse to daydream about long walks on the beach and Netflix dates with them in order to save yourself the disappointment when months later you come face to face with the fact that you were friend zoned from day one.
Though thinking this way can prevent painful heartache, it can most importantly prevent you from actually working towards that dream. I am a HUGE believer in the power of intention and I have understood that setting goals and trying ( at least ) to work towards them can only result in success , no matter how minuscule or grand that success may be. But refusing to give your dreams any thought can and will , I guarantee, result in absolutely nothing. That I know for sure.
Gaining the confidence needed to work towards my dreams was the first step. And though I’d like to, I cannot take full credit for that. It almost happened accidentally as more and more people starting talking to me about my work. Soon I was known in my entourage as a photographer rather than a girl who likes to shoot from time to time. Having others give me that title was huge for me as I never had the confidence to do so myself before.
As any artist knows, living off of your art is not easy. And that was certainly also the case for me. Though I was shooting quite frequently, I always kept a side job as I couldn’t afford not to. Things slowly started changing this past summer when I was obliged to call my bartending job off many times every week. I became so busy that I would find myself working behind the bar only a couple nights per month. A friend of mine at the time noticed and asked me why I didn’t just quit already.
“I feel like you could be shooting full time…You hardly even work at the bar anymore. Why don’t you just quit? Wouldn’t you rather just shoot?”
I gave his question some thought but quickly dismissed it as a rush of anxiety came over me. I could not imagine quitting my only secure income. No no no, impossible. I had this distorted idea that all of my potential clients would suddenly disappear as I exhaled the words “ I quit”. So I kept my job. Though I never actually had a shift in months, I still kept my bartending position and held onto it like a security blanket.
Though I do think that the fear of living off of my dream is what forced me to keep holding on, I also think there is another, more ambiguous explanation.
Shooting does not feel like work to me. Though I slave away in Lightroom and photoshop for hours every week and spend a great deal of my time in a studio or planning out my next shoot, none of it feels like real work. And this is where the guilt comes in. I was raised by an extremely hard working mother who taught me to have an incredible work ethic. I have had a job since it was legal for me to and always gave 100% of myself, no matter the position I occupied. Working and working hard gave me a feeling of accomplishment that I could not obtain otherwise. But now that I do not have a boss to report to and that my work day begins and ends when I want it to, I have a hard time feeling as though I have a job.
I spoke about this recently with my best friend who also works for herself ( she makes incredible custom swimsuits, you can check those out here ) and she seemed to agree with me. In her opinion, we were both conditioned from a very young age to believe that work is not supposed to be fun but rather a means to an end ; getting the bills paid. And so, now that we actually feel pleasure while working, our mind’s are having a hard time associating the two. I very much agree with this idea though I strongly wish it wasn’t the case.
I have tried focusing on the negative aspects of my work in order to give this job more legitimacy ( dealing with annoying clients, never being truly satisfied , and so on ) but I have found that to do nothing for me.
In all honesty, this is a pretty great problem to have and I do not mean to complain. I could not be happier with where most of my energy is being spent at this moment in my life. I just think it’s incredibly interesting how conditioning affects so many aspects of our lives.