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That time I was Fired and Followed my Dream

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Years ago, before I started Effervescent Media Works, before it was even an idea to start doing photography and film and doing what I love, I was working as a hostess.  My husband found a job that was closer to him for me at a baby clothing store shop in retail.  It was an assistant management position.

Since he knew the shop owners he helped me get my foot in the door for an interview and in a whirlwind I quite my hostess job after being hired and put on a trail period.  How awesome was this!  I was thrilled.  As a newlywed, I loved the idea of being close to my husband and commuting for work with our shared car would be AWESOME.  I could help pay bills while my hubby worked part time and finished school.  Win win!  So I was happy.  I hadn't started college again since we had just moved and I was in the process of transferring credits from my previous school up to the University of Utah.

Every job has a bit of a learning curb right?  I mean I was nervous starting and even brought a notebook to take notes (because notes are huge for me) and I did have previous retail experience ... but there was this shock.  I suddenly realized... I have NO idea what I am doing, aside from being a clerk... and yet these guys are willing to give me shot!

One thing that I have learned as that time as a super naive 19 year old, is when I am super out of my element, and crazy nervous on the inside, doubting my abilities and trying to keep it cool on the outside.... I acted... well... like I knew it all. Why, I don't know, perhaps to convince myself and hope I could learn along the way in the process.  Everything was great! Until that didn't last long and they told me it wasn't working out after about a week, that I needed to learn some humility, and should go back to finish school! WHAT?! I was hurt, confused and felt crazy belittled... but I learned a great lesson at that time.

Well... I learned... acting like a know it all is going to get you nowhere!  Not asking questions and having the humility to learn and acknowledge that you have made a mistake and are trying to improve upon them is HUGE!  Not to mention being a know it all gets OLD fast.  I was young, and though acted professional and had some experience (hence landed the job), one mistake I made was to try to put on this face of something I was not.  I mean, I think that is ok to a certain degree.  But to put on a face, even though on the inside you might be screaming, "HELP I HAVE NO IDEA what I am doing! But I don't want to admit it!" yep, this is a read flag! And it was not just on a professional level, but just the conversations the other women in the shop would have were in a world that I really could not relate to.  Regardless, I had a hard time just acting like myself.

When they hired me I was so anxious and out of my element that I put on a front of acting like, "I got this, I don't need your help".. and you know what?  I am sure it came off SUPER rude!  Rude to the individuals that were trying to train me and rude that I was not simply showing enough gratitude for the opportunity they had given me! Thinking back, almost 10 years ago, I still seem to remember my young naive brain thinking that if I were over thankful, that that would make me appear desperate or needy or something.  As a professional now, I can tell you one thing, gratitude from those you work with is one of the most professional things I can receive! A thank you note, an email, a sincere handshake or hug, you name it.  It is a compliment.  Showing gratitude to others compliments them for the sacrifices that have made, like that manager giving an opportunity and taking a risk on me.

What is important here is, to be honest with yourself with where you are at but be willing to step out of that comfort zone and make mistakes, ask questions and take the next step after you learn each new thing.  Otherwise, you will be stuck!  So move forward with humility in your learning process and show a professional gratitude for those you can help you on your way! Mentors, teachers, parents, friends...

Without humility, we cannot grow.  It's like trying to grow in rock hard soil that's changing into rock.  It requires watering, churning the soil by occasionally taking on that new perspective, softening it.  I had to take a little detour at that time in my life and honestly, as I look back, getting fired was a blessing in disguise.

Shortly after being let go, I was stuck and feeling put out.  At this point in time, I started to really ask myself, what is it that I want to do?  What do I love to do? What makes me happy?

I started doing an Arts in the Park camp for young children and I loved sharing my talents doing that and being involved doing something that brought others joy. I loved being outside in nature. And I loved bringing a smile to the little one's faces.

When we went to family parties I would take my camera. I LOVED taking pictures and documenting the love that was shared there. There is something about documenting life that helps us to look back on it and appreciate the little things.  Helping us to count our blessings.

For fun with friends and family I started a portfolio with various portraiture, as I started to learn my camera, and we had fun together, laughing, joking, posing, experimenting with what worked and didn't work. At that point in time I had a LOT to learn.  But I kept learning slowly.

At a family event a relative asked if I would come photograph her family pictures.  And I did.  First paying client, which that part was actually a surprise.  And you know what.  I had a LOT to learn.  But this time I was a little more open about it and grateful to her for giving my the opportunity.

It was around this time that I found my love for pursuing photography and knew that is was what I wanted to do. To tell other's stories to help them count their blessings and strengthen those family bonds.

Now when I look back to that job in the retail shop, I could cry ... that I don't work there and instead am following my dream.

I am still learning, growing, moving forward. There is always more to learn.  Otherwise, I guess this would get old pretty quick! With each mistake or challenge whether with photography or in my personal life, I have tried to think back on that experience and that making mistakes are a learning opportunity. And in that way can become our strengths in the knowledge they give us.

Photo Credit : Diana Clements
These pictures are me and my two kiddos on an outing with my mom. In the beautiful big basin trees of Northern California.  Really when it comes down to it, you may not have a plan until you find yourself at a cross roads like I did and really have to start asking yourself what you you love to do!

Photo credit: My mom.  Yep:) Diana Clements

So the next time you fail at something. Don't forget to just have a little humility and be teachable as you pick yourself back up.  Learn from the lesson.  After all F.A.I.L stands for "First Attempt At Learning."

What's your dream?  Let me know about it in the comments below.

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Happy dreaming!

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