Just recently I received an email from a person who I have been following recently regarding online marketing. What was most interesting is that this person was speaking about a book that she had just written based upon the premise that one should do what they love for a living.
fascinated me most is that in the 1970s and being in my early 30s I
found myself drawn to the new younger generation that was then beginning
to speak about “doing your own thing”. The goal was to put aside
following a more traditional life style and job or career path in favor
of choosing a direction that was more exciting and fulfilling. This was
the time of communes and dropping out.
I found the notion of doing
your own thing to be highly appealing but moving into a commune did not
interest me at all. However the inspiration of this led me to then leave
my chosen profession of architecture in favor of going off to graduate
school to study art and photography which I had grown to love, not knowing where
this would lead me.
Now as I look back on this it was a rather
daring thing to do at the time. I had spent 5 years on procuring a
Bachelor of architecture degree and several years getting my architects
license and working in architectural offices. I was well on this
professional path and I had a wife and two young children to support.
But with the encouragement of my wife I applied for and was accepted to
graduate school in photography at the University of New Mexico to develop
my personal vision of photography and work towards getting a Masters of
Fine Art degree.
Three years later I graduated with my degree and
the next question was what to do now to earn a living. I started a
search for teaching positions in photography which seemed to be the most
logical direction for my new art career. Much to my pleasure and
surprise I received an invitation to interview at Cornell University and
subsequently was offered a teaching position where I taught for almost
30 years in the Art Department.
So have I been doing what I love
all these years? Absolutely. I
have been able to pursue my love of photography over the years and
become involved in its transition from the darkroom to the digital arena which is proving to be an extremely exciting ongoing experience. Moreover I have supported myself and my
family through the teaching of photography and have enjoyed every minute of it and have had
many interesting and exciting students some of whom have gone on to develop their own careers in the field of art and photography.
And as a photographer I have been able to spend time traveling and picture making in the US at such inspiring places like Point Lobos on the California coast and White Sands in New Mexico and more recently in the Finger lakes of upstate New York. Additionally I have been to Europe many times and photographed in Paris and Rome, two of the most exciting cities in the world.
As I look back I
am really impressed by how well things have worked out for me over the
years. And I did find a very satisfying way of earning a living although
it was not necessarily the professional artist path that I had hoped for and expected. Maybe that is just
another way of saying yes, one should seek after doing what you love
for a living, but that you should also be open other possibilities for
earning a living that come along.
Perhaps the title of
this post should be "LOVE WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING" rather than "do what
you love for a living". There are many ways to earn a living and many of them we can love doing for our livelihood. In the art world the
problem is that sometimes artists get stuck in their thinking that if
they can't make a living from their livelihood as an artist they
can't be happy and that is just not the case. Whatever you do for
earning a living can make you happy, no matter what it might be.