Tilt and Shift Photography Podcast

Should I Leave My Day Job? The Question Every Photographer Asks

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Feeling stuck between your day job and your passion for photography? This blog post is for you! We’ll explore the pros and cons of both options, and offer strategies to help you make the best decision for your unique situation.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: Is keeping your day job a bad thing? Absolutely not! During our previous conversation, Crystal Wallen – a photographer who thrives with both a day job and her creative pursuits – reminded us that having a day job doesn’t diminish your artistic merit. If your day job fuels your spirit and provides a safety net, embrace it with pride. There’s no need to conform to the “quit and chase your passion” narrative if it doesn’t resonate with you.

What if your day job drains your energy, leaving you wishing for creative freedom? If that’s the case, you might want to consider a change. However, it’s rarely a good idea to quit impulsively. So, what can you do? Keep reading and discover the key steps that can help guide your decision-making!

The Pros of Keeping Your Day Job

Before we talk about steps to take before quitting your day job, let’s first consider the pros of keeping it that shouldn’t be overlooked:

  • Financial Stability. Let’s face it, financial security offers peace of mind and freedom to explore your photography without the pressure of immediate financial dependence. A steady income means less worry about bills and allows you to reinvest in your photography gear and education.
  • Social Interaction. The workplace buzz, casual conversations with colleagues, and even the occasional office friendships can offer a sense of belonging and community. Leaving that behind for the sometimes solitary life of a full-time photographer might require you to actively seek out social connections elsewhere.
  • Structured Schedule. For some, the rhythm of a regular schedule provides a sense of order and discipline, which can be helpful in managing both work and your photography pursuits. It can also free up your mental space for creative bursts during dedicated time outside of work.
  • Health Insurance and Benefits. Let’s not forget the often-underrated perk of employer-sponsored health insurance and other benefits like paid time off. These can be crucial safety nets, especially when starting out as a freelance photographer.
  • Skills and Experience. Your day job might be teaching you valuable skills that can indirectly benefit your photography career. These could be anything from project management and communication to marketing and client interaction.

The Flip Side: When Your Day Job Drains You

Let’s be honest, not everyone loves their job, right? If yours feels like it zaps your energy instead of fueling it, you’re not alone! That’s when creative stuff like photography can look super tempting, like a way to break free. 

But before making a big move, ask yourself what truly makes you tick. Does photography make you feel totally alive and excited? If so, maybe it’s time to explore making it more than just a hobby. Remember, finding a career you love is a journey, and sometimes, the best paths involve taking a chance on what excites you most.

When you’re at this crossroads, here are some key steps to guide your decision-making:

  • Assess your financial situation. Do you have enough savings to weather the initial income dip? Remember, building a successful photography business takes time. Having a financial buffer will reduce stress and allow you to focus on creating.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. Make two lists: one for the benefits of your day job (security, social interaction, etc.), and another for the negatives (lack of freedom, limited creative expression). Evaluate which list carries more weight in your personal value system.
  • Tap into your intuition. Go beyond logic and connect with your gut feeling. Visualize yourself five years from now in both scenarios: still at your day job, and as a full-time photographer. Pay attention to your body’s response. Does one vision trigger anxiety and tension, while the other sparks excitement and relaxation? Your body holds powerful wisdom; listen to it.
  • Don’t get stuck on the “how”. The logistics of quitting can feel overwhelming. Instead of getting paralyzed by the to-do list, ask yourself, “What would my life be like if I quit?” The answer will reveal your true desire. Remember, the “how” will unfold once you’re clear on the “what.”

The Bottom Line

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Whether you choose to keep your day job or take the leap into full-time photography, the most important thing is to make a conscious decision aligned with your unique circumstances, values, and aspirations.

I hope this post provided valuable insights and empowered you to take the next step on your creative journey. Good luck!






Learn more about coaching and mentoring at bobbibeducation.com.

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