I used to think that you went to school, then got a job, and you were good. Unemployed meant bored and panicked all the the same time. The last thing you would want. I was probably 10. I have gone to school formally a couple of times, but probably have learned more out of school since, than in all the time I spent at University (both of them). I have had many jobs. From fast food chef, to restaurant buss boy, to retail sales, to bike mechanic, to snowboard store, to tree planter, to construction, to cabinet maker, to janitor, to mainframe programmer, to web programmer, to java GUI programmer, to educator, to photographer. But through all of those jobs, I have never had much time off. Sometimes doing more than one at a time. I would always try to find a job before moving to the next one. If I was ever without a job, I was usually slightly panicked.
This feeling is finally fading. One of the reasons I can “take time off” is that I haven’t spent as much as I made in the last three years I was at my last contract. This gave me the flexibility to finally not feel paniced when the contract ended. So I got to thinking, there are a lot of people for which the definition of the traditional job we think about doesn’t apply. Just about anyone with a small business. They often don’t have a steady or regular paycheck every month or two weeks. Neither do photographers. This is where I am trying to get to, to be able to do photography full time, but not for someone else.
So this brings me back to this summer, where I am unemployed. I am certainly not sitting around. To start with, we have pulled Lily from daycare, and with the exception of a couple of day camps Kate is in, she will be around too, until Kindergarten starts. So Daddy Day Care it is. This will take up a huge chunk of my time. They are at an age where they don’t yet run out the door to play with friends the whole day. On one hand this is good, because I will get to play with them all summer. One the other hand, I have a long list of things I want to do.
First off, I have been blogging about building my NAS as I get it running again. This is my photo backup, and needs to get finished. I also need to finish the redo of my site at¬†christopherwardphotography.com. After watching the Zack Arias critiques, it is obvious (as if it wasn’t before) that I need to make that site reflect the direction I am trying to take my photography. I have the design done, and need the pictures and content now. Once that is up, I need to start marketing. I have some ideas, and will talk about those another time.
Also, my education in photography is far from done. It is just starting. There is so much to learn. So I am signing up for Kelby Training for the next couple of months. Not just for photoshop classes, but I am really looking forward to the stuff that Joe McNally and David Ziser have up there. I am sure that I could spend several hours a day doing this stuff. Never mind the books that I have that I could finish or reread.
Oh yea, I need to get out and shoot. This is photography right? Tonight I am meeting friends at a studio to practice some lighting setups, and tomorrow I have a shoot with a young mother and her newborn. I also have an upcoming charity shoot for a Lions banquet coming up.
Does all this sound like work? Yup, kind of does. Just that I am not getting paid much if anything. But its all ground work, and all necessary. In fact, there could be a lot of people that will be working far less than I will this summer, but will still be getting paid by their employer. Such is life. I am just glad that I get the opportunity this summer to do the things I want to do: hang with my kids, and take pictures.
Note: the image is not to suggest that most people unemployed sit and watch tv. If you are unemployed not by choice, how about looking at it as an oportunity to do something you haven’t been able to do, or learn something new.