August 24, 2009

My New Girlfriend

I have more luck with cameras than with women, so I think this post's title makes a lot of sense. new rig.

(Back: Lowepro Omni Sport camera bag. Middle row: Kenko UV filter, Nikon D60 dSLR camera, Nikon 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. Front row: Transcend USB card reader, SanDisk UltraII SDHC memory card)

Up to this point, I've been telling people that I'd wait until I found a stable source of income in order to buy new camera gear. Last weekend, however, I changed my course.

I guess my paradigm shift started when I watched Julie & Julia two weekends ago. This movie portrays the stories of two women, Julie Powell and Julia Child, who fearlessly broke the conventions of their respective eras. Julie did it by attempting to cook all 524 recipes in Julia's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking in one year and blogging about it. Julia did it by making a career out of something she loved to do - eating! The movie itself was a delight, but more than that, it was a timely paean to the power of dreaming big and changing your life.

Here's my situation: after three years and six months of working for a large Canadian bank, my job was outsourced to India. Despite my internal and external efforts to find other employment, I was unsuccessful. Having said that, my former job was definitely nothing to write home about; I basically reconciled internal accounts by filling in Excel spreadsheets. As time passed, I grew disenchanted with the job due to its lack of challenge (apart from training the person who would be training his people to take over my work).

As a matter of fact, a few months after my unit's outsourcing was announced, I showed my résumé to my manager. I'll never forget what she said as she looked it over: "What are you doing here?" She didn't mean that she wanted me removed from her team; she meant that, given my credentials, a job entailing spreadsheet updates was beneath my potential. That kind of sounds like Julie's scenario as portrayed in the movie; she didn't have an axe looming over her head, but in comparison to her friends, her career was pretty much a dead-end.

I'm still unemployed at the moment, but lately, I've been considering two options: going to college in order to get into the health care industry and working my way up as a photographer. Both choices are risky, but since I have no photography credentials other than my Flickr uploads, the latter option is the riskier of the two. However, it embodies something I've loved to do for many years and that's why I bought my new gear earlier today.

Speaking of that purchase, I'd like to commend Stan at Downtown Camera for his good humour and professionalism in dealing with me. The ten-percent discount on the accessories didn't hurt, neither; I didn't know about that going in. In any case, when all was said and done, I came in under budget.

I still don't quite know which option to take, but regardless, my photography obsession will never die. If there's any hint of a career in it, then I don't want to die wondering. In any case, I'll do anything to avoid ending up in the same situation which led to my outsourcing.

In light of the movie and the inspiring story of a Torontonian spa owner (which is far from finished), I coined the following expression:

If Julia Child could do it
If Julie Powell could do it
If Kristen Gale could do it
Then I can, too!

I conclude with this scene from The Pursuit Of Happyness. Hopefully, I can at least open these boxes before I sleep.

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