There are obvious reasons why we do the work we do, and less obvious reasons as well. First and foremost? We’ve got to earn a living. That’s pretty important stuff there you know.
Beyond earning a living why else do we do the work we do? For some it’s to climb the corporate ladder. Developing a sense of pride and ownership in what we do is important, builds the ego, and makes us feel that we are contributing in the best way we know how. For other folks work is an escape from the rest of our lives. Work is something we can control better than other facets of who we are. The reasons go on and on.
In my case back in the engineering days I really enjoyed putting networks together. It was lots of fun to take rows of big fridge sized cabinets, pop cards into them, and be able to process wireless calls. Where once there wasn’t a network there now was. Very cool indeed. The paychecks were nice too.
When my career moved in a truly different direction my motivation for the work changed too. No ladder climbing, no network building, no big checks. So what was in it for me? Well, for one I love to travel and explore. I’ve always said I’d visit new places even if I didn’t have my camera with me. Of course, travel was more fun if I did have the camera because I love sharing what I see with the rest of the world. So many people seem to be stuck where they are and never get a chance to glimpse amazing places. If I can share a scene that people are wowed by, that inspires people to get out of their regular grinds, then I’ve done a pretty good job. So, part of why I do what I do is motivated by my love of travel, hiking, and seeing things that most people never get to see.
It’s no wonder then that I’ve been feeling really down about my work these past few months. See, while I’ve been busy in the studio printing and shooting for people something has been missing. Honestly I should be happy with the fact that I’m finally paying myself after years of not paying myself. Looking through Quickbooks each day I should be giddy that we’re seeing pluses everywhere. But strangely I’ve been a little bummed and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Friday I identified what was missing, what’s been wrong these past few months…….
I’ve done nothing lately beyond going to work and going home. No big hikes, no road trips, nada. Dulls-ville if you ask me. And the quick trip up to Williams with Don Rantz on Friday left me with a feeling I haven’t had in a while. Excitement! Road trip!
As we hit Route 40 I told Don, “This is what I miss.” The dashed lines on the road, seeing something I don’t see every day, MOTION!
While I’ve been paying my bills and building the business I neglected one of the key features of why I like what I do. The travel, photographing new places, showing scenes people rarely get to see. I’m lucky to have a job where I get to do that, and go figure I started neglecting one of the major pluses to what I do. Maybe I got into a rut. Maybe I know that’s the part of the business that’s paying me the least financially, but it pays me the most in my own sense of worth and enjoyment!
Over the next few weeks I’ll fix the problem I’ve found. I’m making it a point to take trips, even if only short day trips, in order to inspire myself once more. Too much time in front of the computer, not enough time roaming the Dells. The fix is easy. And even if it isn’t the big dollar earner, it’s one of the major reasons I do the job I do today.
Yesterday I took a trip through Cherry, over to Clarkdale, back through Jerome, and home again. It was a short loop filled with a lot. Views I wanted to photograph but chose not to (the road from Cherry to Camp Verde was narrow, loose gravel, and huge drop offs), places I wanted to return to for photos, and a familiar parts that I’ve seen time and again but still enjoy. And you know how I felt returning home last night? Happy. Even little adventures fuel me! Let’s hope I can see past the financial part of the business and keep the fun part in mind!
If you’re a photographer and feeling crummy about where you’re at and what you’re doing…. Give Zack Arias’ “Transform” another look. As I mentioned above, I’ve been feeling a little bummed lately and in a rut. Zack’s video really woke me up a few years ago, and it still does today.