When I Grow Up: Adjusting to Career Pivots
When I was young, I distinctly remember what I wanted my career path to be. My first hope: Princess of the World. My dreams were dashed pretty quickly when it was explained to me that no, that's not a thing and even if it were, I wasn't born into the imaginary family of world-dominating royals. The next seemingly viable option was that I would be the sixth Spice Girl. I'm pretty sure we all know how that one went. With seemingly no other good career options, I decided pretty young that I was going to be an artist.
That's all I knew –– I would draw myself with berets and palettes and experiment with different arts and crafts that I'd play with over weekends and summer holidays. I didn't know what a career really meant, I didn't know what kind of artist I was going to be, but I wanted to be creative. That part never really changed, despite the fact that I haven't worn one beret in my entire life. Shocking, I know, for a creative (or at least child me would've thought so).
I fell into photography very young and by the time I was fourteen I was shooting weddings. My sights were set on becoming a photographer. This was the artist I was going to be. I shot constantly; my friends, school events, nature, everything in between. I never wanted to let go of my camera.
Finally I went to college for photography, and something changed. I was exposed to the immense amount of talented photographers that exist out there. I was surrounded by hungry creative people and I wanted to see more. I realized about a year into college that I didn't want to be a photographer. I wanted to share the work of others. I wanted to be an editor. I started interning and learning more and more about editorial and production. I moved to New York City and worked on Atlas Magazine while I interned and completed my degree.
By the time I graduated college, I was ready to get into the career field of my dreams – photography. I wanted to be an editor at a magazine, I wanted to produce photo shoots, I wanted to wear heels to work every day. I wound up working as an agent's assistant at a photography + styling agency, producing for beauty artists. It wasn't a job I'd initially set out to do, but as soon as I immersed myself in it, I fell in love. It was exhausting and it was wonderful. I'd be up at all hours answering my emails and working with wonderful teams, and it was everything.
When transitioning from that job to one as a social + creative coordinator, it took a bit of adjustment for people to understand the connection in this pivot. I'd gone from photography, to magazines, to agency production, to... social media and communications? The connection is there –– you just have to find it. Pivoting from wanting to publish creatives, to helping them achieve success on shoots, to promoting other creatives via social media might seem like a bit of a stretch, but each transition holds one key element: I have never stopped helping creatives achieve their goals.
Whether it's looking for your first job, transitioning to a new one, or even pivoting to a different field, it's important to be open to change and accept the possibility that you might not end up in the position you'd dreamed, but you might find the right position. Find the common thread in your decisions to figure out what it is that you want out of your career path. Once you figure out the underlying passion, it becomes easier to be flexible with the twists and turns life throws at you.