If you told me 10 years ago that my life would look like what it does today, I would have never believed you
I was a preppy, headband wearing, monogram-loving 18 year old college girl living in the South, and I had one dream and one dream only. I wanted to rule corporate America in a power suit and heels. I wanted the office with my name on the door, and a fancy title to go along with it. So I did everything I could to have the perfect resume: Business Club President, Project Manager, Presidential Ambassador for the College of Business, and every extra curricular I could drain myself with. I didn’t have amazing grades, but I knew how to network and I knew the value of work ethic. I’m an Enneagram 3w, so achievement, goals, and execution are really important to me! If I have a dream or a goal, I’ll work as hard as I can to make it happen and I absolutely love seeing others succeed at their dreams too.
My sophomore year of college, majoring in Human Resources & Business Management, I was introduced to an entrepreneurship organization as part of my curriculum. We basically supported small business owners and brainstormed ideas on how we could start more initiatives to help small business succeed. I was extremely fascinated by the idea of owning a small business, and I grew to really respect small business owners. I mean, they were doing *all* of the things. There was no ‘Accounting Department’ or ‘Marketing Department’, it was just them, alone, toughing it out, figuring it out along the way, and making their dreams happen.
Buuut the idea of owning a small business terrified me! How does one person do all of the things? No steady income? No office with my name on the door? This doesn’t sound right for me, or so I thought.
The summer before I graduated, I had my first HR internship. I learned a lot, but I felt something stirring in me as early as then. It just didn’t feel right at all. But, it was my first ‘job job’, and I chalked it up to the fact that I wasn’t used to working 8-5 (fair enough for someone who though 8AM classes were too early). I also thought that maybe HR was just not right for me. So I decided to go a different route.
Two months before I graduated college, I was offered a corporate job not in HR, and it sounded so exciting I could barely believe it. I got to enjoy those last months of college knowing I had a job lined up, and I thought phase 1 of my “plan” was complete. I could start working my way up to “the office”. Fast forward 6 months and I could not have been more miserable. I was a freshly married 22 year old who had no idea what she was doing. About 10 months into that job, I quit and decided that maybe the HR route was right for me after all.
So I started my first, post-college HR job at 22. And oh my word, it was the absolute worst. I mean, it was nothing like what I had imagined. You know how you look back at some jobs and think, “wow I really learned a lot there, even though it was so hard!” Yeah, this was not that job y’all. It was so, so rough. Not even going to lie, there were many shed tears during lunch breaks. But I do understand why the Lord put that job in my path, because it led to two things:
1) My husband bought be my first, used DSLR camera (shout out to that Canon Rebel T7!), as a means to help me reduce stress and have a creative outlet. I had never used a “nice” camera before, let alone knew what the heck to do…
2) Because of that HR job, when me moved from SC to OH, I was able to land the HR job that truly changed everything for me.
Fast forward to my 3rd corporate job (you think I would have gotten the idea by now but nope!). I was given the chance at a job I was slightly under qualified for, but they believed in me. I was given my own office with, you guessed it, my name on the door. I thought that maybe 3rd time was the charm, and maybe I just needed another chance with HR. That job was the hardest job I have ever had, but also the one that brought the most personal growth, was rewarding, and pushed me to start my ‘side hustle’ in wedding photography. Seeing couples light up on the happiest days of their lives was the motivation to keep going, even when juggling 50 hour work weeks with photography became so, so tough. I fell in love with photographing people in love, and it was the light at the end of the tunnel for me.
I left my corporate job in HR to pursue photography and I couldn’t have been happier. I do believe that everyone’s story is so different and the Lord truly knows what we need. I needed that corporate HR experience; it helped me learn how to navigate tough situations with grace, get things done, empathize with people and give grace when needed, and give myself grace too. I learned a lot of skills that helped me be a better business owner and photographer. So now, I’m a Cleveland Wedding Photographer – and I couldn’t be happier 🙂