Combining Passion with Employment
In this episode, Jonah speaks about finding his passion for photography and making a career of it. He was able to pursue his love of photography from a young age and eventually turn his art into a profit. Jonah emphasizes that everyone should find their passion first and then choose a profession based upon it.
Disclaimer: the information shared here reflects the opinions of the speaker and do not reflect the views of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs
Jonah: Welcome to Youth Engaged 4 Change radio. My name is Jonah Holland, and today, I'm going to be talking a little bit about finding your passion and making a career out of it.
Now, we've all heard the old saying, "If you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life." But how exactly do you find that job that you love? For some of us, this comes easy. You may grow up as a little kid and think to yourself, "Man, I want to be an astronaut when I grow up." And, well, that might be what you do. You go to college and study aerospace, and well, one day you end up in space.
But for many of us, those childhood aspirations just aren't the careers that we end up actually going into. When I was a little kid, I knew that I wanted to be the CEO of a company, be a video game journalist, and own my own restaurant, all at the same time. Realistic aspirations, right? In my pursuit of this very ambitious career, I quickly came to terms with the fact that well, a child isn't suited to run a Fortune 500 company. I also learned that, well, I really didn't enjoy writing, so video game journalism was out of the question. And if you've ever had my mama's cooking, you'd never want to cook a day in your life either.
But the one thing that always stuck with me was my obsession with cameras. At the age of seven, I started learning about composition and photography. For my mother, who, by trade, was a full time goat farmer, but in her spare time loved to paint and study art.
As I developed an eye for photography, my mom encouraged me to enter in youth photo competitions. At the age of eight, I got my first blue ribbon for a photo, and you bet I was excited about that. By the age of 10, I started entering slightly bigger competitions, and actually won a few. At the age of 12, I won my first best in show award in a national photo competition. At this point, I knew, this is what I was passionate about.
I was absolutely in love with the process of capturing the beauty of the world around me, so I didn't let it stop there. Keep in mind, I didn't take these photos with a state-of-the-art camera. I actually just took them with my mom's old point-and-shoot that she was able to let me use. It wasn't the nicest camera, but it worked. When I was 14, a family friend of ours gave me her old DSLR camera that was about as old as I was. It had a lot of issues, but fundamentally, it still worked. This is how I was able to learn a lot more about the technical side of how cameras work and photography in general.
Jonah: Not too long after that, a family in our community who had seen my photos asked me to take some portraits for them, and they offered to pay me $20. That was the first time I had ever really taken portraits or pictures of people in general. I was used to taking pictures of plant life and landscapes. I absolutely fell in love with it. Not long after that, another offer came for me to take pictures of a family. And then I just saved up as much money as I possibly could to buy a better camera eventually.
Me improving my skills and having a better camera, which led to better image quality, led to my work improving as a whole. Therefore, more people saw it, and more and more people wanted to hire me for senior photos, family photos, even some product photos here and there. I kept expanding as much as possible. By the time I was 16, I had photos published in two magazines, I had started photographing weddings, and I never stopped learning and working hard to improve my craft.
Let's fast forward to today. I'm 19 years old, a full time freshman in college. I work part-time as a photographer for the university I attend, and on weekends, I'm almost always on the road, putting my passion for photography to use and getting paid along the way. Yes, this is a very, very busy and hectic schedule, but I do it all with a smile on my face.
If a kid like me growing up on a goat farm can turn a hobby into a lucrative career, surely you can too. So, even though you may not know what kind of job or career field you want to go into, you can take a look at your hobbies. What do you like to do? Think about that for a second, your favorite things to do. Is there a way you can monetize on that hobby? Almost anything that you can think of that you enjoy doing probably has some sort of career associated with it. We live in a world where you can be a plumber, an electrician, a movie critic, a musician, a farmer, a doctor, a chef, a lawyer, an engineer, and so, so much more. I could list these for a while, but the point is, the possibilities are endless. You can really do anything you enjoy, and maybe the job you're meant for doesn't exist yet. Well, hey, that's okay too.
It's estimated that 85% of jobs that will be available 10 years from now don't even exist yet. Doesn't that get you excited for both your future and the future of our society? No matter what cards you were dealt in life, your biggest limitation is yourself. Never stop fueling your ambition, and always strive to be the best you can.
Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us for Youth Engaged 4 Change radio. If you or someone you know is interested in this topic, please visit our website at engage.youth.gov for more resources.