Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Four Years Later - Reflection and Resolution

Some of my recent favorites-click to enlarge

For the one or two people who actually still read my little blog that started as an outlet for me to express all sides of myself, let me say thank you for hanging in there, checking back occasionally, or just remembering that it's here at all.

 Even if this is completely new to you and you're thinking "yeeeah...she never updates this thing. See ya!" I don't blame you. But hear this: it will continue on elsewhere, where I will update much more religiously, on a much more directed path: photography.

I'm in the process now of redesigning my photography website to include a built-in blog under the Jessica Shea Photography name. This one just seems so ADHD haha. It served it's purpose, but now I'm on a mission.

I will still have a link to this one; I like seeing how far I've come. Hard to believe I've had it going since 2009! I remember so clearly how overwhelmingly excited I was to start sharing my thoughts, my dreams, my talents with the world. I would watch the page view count rise by one or two every day and smile. I started it was while I was still in school, with surprisingly a lot of free time to post, not to mention regular photo/poetry/writing assignments to post about because of classes, my job, the atmosphere.

But since then my posts became more and more infrequent. I graduated from college and launched my photography website, positive that I would land a fantastic photo job and put my degree to use.


After graduation, I moved to Roanoke with my boyfriend (now husband), where we really struggled to be happy as I worked full time at a grocery store while freelancing for a small local newspaper for next to nothing...moved 9 months later to Virginia Beach because the hubs was promoted to an incredibly profitable store and even then, I bounced around jobs until now. I had transferred to the same grocery store here, got fired within a month because my drawer was over by a few cents a couple times...which led me to a complete and total meltdown. I had never been fired before in my life, let alone from a place I literally dreamt of all the dramatic ways I could quit and throw it in their face because of how horrible it was.

After dusting myself off, I found an open internship position for an oceanfront advertising agency on via Craigslist, which led to three months of unpaid crazy strenuous days on commercial shoots out in 100 degree Virginia summer humidity. Because it was unpaid, I picked up a job at Buckle where I've always shopped for my double extra long jeans ;)

In the fall (2011 at this point) the advertising agency hired me on as a freelancer and started paying me. It was great, I felt accomplished at least being in the right field. Then, in April, they ran out of work for me. I had taken the internship as a non-college student with the since they had pretty expressly stated that it would lead to a full time position. Hence why I busted my ass for free for three loooong months. So this came as a real let down, once more, that I was no longer needed and they had no problem with just saying "welp, it's been real, thanks for your help," and sent me from 40+ hours a week to none.

Oh, and this was all right before my wedding in May. 

I was unemployed AGAIN for about a week before I frantically found a temporary grant-funded position at a local University as a receptionist, out of my field once again, just so I could help pay for my wedding.

I had every intention of pursuing the marketing department while I was there. I went at them hard--very persistent, constantly following up with every conversation...to no avail. Even met with the director of the department in person, who said she really liked me and wanted me...just had to "obtain the budget" to pay me. She even went so far as to lead me on with a potential job position, casually throwing a $42,000 salary up in the air like it was no big deal, asking me how quickly I could respond to that position if it were posted. For a solid week my mind painted beautiful images of all the "what ifs" that this job could lead to...teasing my poor self with all the dreams of things we could afford with that kind of salary...as I sit there answering phones for $11 an hour. That could've meant new camera gear...vacations...quitting my backup job I've had this whole time, Buckle...well, that came and went, the job never appeared because there was a "hiring freeze" and too much "politics" on campus. I even photographed the University's president at a campus event for them. She was impressed, got the pictures I took for free, and I was left behind again as my 5 months ran up.

So that job ended, and in the month leading up to my last day, I was stressin'. Too many times I've tried to transition into and out of jobs, and this time was really hard because I knew when my last day was and had to tell companies I was applying to that my start date wasn't until the end of the month.

I was out of the job for about a week, had three interviews lined up the week after my last day at the university, and was offered all but the one I thought I wanted the most. The first company I interviewed for was made up of truly genuine people who I could see myself loving to work with, but it was potentially another temporary job and I was trying to stay far away from anything temporary. I wanted the last one because it was salaried with a growing company doing social media, marketing and design. They didn't offer me the job, and I was really disappointed...but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me.

Because everything happens for a reason. 

I do find myself questioning it, but I'll be damned if it doesn't prove itself at some point!

The following week, I started my new job at the small, family-owned printing/promotional company with the really nice people...where I am now. I had originally applied for a font desk position, but had brought my resume with me to the interview and as soon as the owner saw it, she said, "oh we're not wasting your skills up at the front desk!"

I'm sorry, come again??

The owner herself looked at me, barely knowing me at all, and saw my potential. That was one of the best feelings in the world.

I work in their Art Department doing all kinds of things, from design work to a tiny bit of product photography.

And wouldn't you believe it, on my second day the owner comes into my office to talk about a new client...and take a wild guess which business it was?

The one job I interviewed that turned me down. Hah. Oh life, how ironic you are sometimes!

Literally, we were printing the business cards for the very woman who interviewed me! It would be months later before I saw her again in person when she came to pick up a banner we made for her.

Not sure if she recognized me....I think she did, just had no idea how or why ;)

So in between all this, I've been doing side photography jobs like senior portraits, maternity shoots, weddings, events, etc. Oh and I still work at good ole Buckle! Though now that it looks like my current job is going to hire me on full time, since I've been through an employment agency up until now. I think it's time to close that chapter and really focus on developing my photography and having weekends to do that.

Forgive me for deciding to write an essay to make up for my lack of writing in the past couple of years, but I felt I owed an explanation to the internet and all my followers who might have given up on me. A glimpse into why I wasn't really able...or sometimes willing...to make a simple post.

Be on the lookout for my new blog on my website to see when it re-launches!

It's been real y'all. I thank you guys again for joining me on my blogging journey, and it ain't goodbye, just see ya later!

Thanks for sticking around and reading all that! You rock :)
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