From what I've read, 4 years seems to be the average length in which a person today stays at any given job. I can’t identify with having had several occupations despite the common belief that job hopping could potentially lead someone to a greater job fulfillment.
At the age of 30, I've only had two in my life. I was committed to the first for 10 years and I’ve already put in a year into my current one. One could say I never experimented or pondered enough to see what would suit me best because I always considered that stability once you found it was far more important than acting upon the curiosity to see whether the grass was any greener on the other side of the fence.
In hindsight, I don’t think there would have been anything wrong with having had a few jobs growing up. Regardless of whether a retail career didn’t make the list of professions you ever envisioned making a living out of for the rest of your life, learning from experience is one of the ways in which we elect to refine more of what we like and bypassing the things we don’t.
This is how we learn about what we want from life; about what it is that makes us enjoy it even more; what pushes us more and more towards success and development.
Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness still sits on the shelf with a deteriorating bookmark half way through it signaling where I last left off and from what I recall reading is that you need to try stuff to see what makes you happy even if it initially results with you doing shit you don’t like.
I’ve always felt this way about photography. I wouldn’t say there’s any style that I completely dislike but I certainly experimented with many which ultimately lead me to narrow down the scope to what piques my interest this very moment.
The self-discovery voyage is a phase every creative person goes through in the beginning of their journey. We’re often insecure and unsure of what we actually want to focus on because we’re concerned that we have to do everything. We already know who we are as a person but with something like photography, it’s like we have to get to know ourselves all over again but this time it’s a matter of identifying ourselves as creatives.
As a photographer, how do you find out what you love to shoot? The straightforward answer would be to just shoot whatever you think is either beautiful, weird, disgusting or whatever. Take long unplanned trips with your camera with no specific destination or subject matter in mind and shoot like your memory card is unlimited.
I’ve been on Flickr since 2005 and I’ve shared hundreds of photographs but I can tell you that I’ve been more satisfied with what I’ve shot in 2012 alone than any other year. I have made peace with the fact that I am doing work that I love now but I don’t erase anything prior to it because it reminds me that I had to shoot a lot of what doesn’t interest me to discover what does.