Rejection or redirection? How job loss gave me the courage to finally pursue my photography passion and start my own business.
6 minute read
“The times are a changing”, Bob Dylan famously sang, in a song he created as an anthem of social change in 1964. The lyrics, although written in the sixties, feel eerily relevant today. It’s been a shocker of a year for almost everyone and the whole world paused as the pandemic swept the globe from East to West. An event so profound it has left few untouched. 2020 is being heralded as the great reset, with its ramifications predicted to far outlast the year.
For many of us it has prompted career-changing and life-altering decisions, including myself. Although I have been a passionate photographer since my teenage years, when the opportunity to join British Airways as a crew member presented itself at the beginning of 1997, I embarked on a twenty-three year career that took me to all corners of globe. From the energetic metropolises of New York, Tokyo and Singapore to far flung corners of the world that I couldn’t pronounce, let alone spell, I worked as cabin crew by day and a globe-trotting photojournalist on my days off. Like almost all of my colleagues I thought I’d enjoy the ride for a couple of years and then find a real job but the years slipped away and I found myself in a rut, albeit one with tremendous perks.
When the aviation industry ground to a halt after the first national lockdown in March, so did my career, and three-months later I accepted an inevitable redundancy package. In the days that followed there was the obligatory excessive wine and chocolate consumption and heartfelt conversations with friends and family. With a global recession looming, widespread employment freezes and job cuts, as well as many commercial airlines going into administration, it was not an ideal time to lose my job. I quickly realised that the rest of 2020 would be focused on creating a completely new career. A thought that was both exciting and terrifying in equal measure.
In the wake of my redundancy, I realised that I had two choices; either to be a “covid career casualty” or to use this rejection as a redirection towards something even better. It is too easy to focus on what has been lost, and I realised that in losing my job, I gained the opportunity to take the plunge in pursuing my photography passion full-time and starting my own business. A bold move I might not have been confident enough to do, had it not been from necessity.
As I spend my days sitting in my office bringing my new business come to life, I reflect on whether I would ever have jumped had I not been pushed. I can say with sincerity that I’m glad I’ve been forced to embrace my new direction, to be challenged and to pursue a career that I’ve always dreamt of and to be given a chance not to wonder about the ‘what ifs’ but to be steering my ship in the direction I want it to go.
I intend to not only use my platform to promote my photography business but also as a place to empower other women, who perhaps through a lack of confidence or just life getting in the way, have put their passions and desire to start their own business on the backburner. Now, as a female business-owner and fledgling professional photographer, undergoing a mid-career metamorphosis aged forty-six, I can assure you that it is never too late to become all that you might have been.
“Come to the edge’, he said.
‘We can’t, we will fall’ they responded.
‘Come to the edge’ he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew” -