Still, it was a fantastic experience, but the best part of the event had little to do with marketing and business, but the friendships that came out of my live audience. Three great friendships came out of that event, Sherry Hagerman, Carlos Zamora, and Jared Burns. Yesterday Jared posted this on Facebook referring to it as celebrating Independence Day.
“Five years ago I was working in corporate America for a lesser known aerospace company who was very proud of their work/life balance values. During my time, several members of management stated I was one of the best employees to ever fill that role with specific remarks about dependability, organization, and innovation. Six months in, my wife was hit as a pedestrian by a drunk driver.
Notifying my superiors, I left work 1 hour early to take care of my family. It broke my perfect 6-month attendance record and management told me I was not eligible for a raise as a result. That moment revealed their true values when it came to work/life balance.
A year into my employment, we had agreed on a review to talk about my future path and development in the company. Management refused repeatedly to meet for the review. At that point, it was clear I needed to make my own way.”
Jared gave his notice and left on December 9, 2014, to start a full-time career in photography. There are a couple of points that come to mind this morning, all thanks to his post:
- Jared didn't just leap into photography. He attended every possible workshop he could. He practiced, and he surrounded himself with positive people who watched his back and added a very special ingredient to his dream - their friendship.
- If there's one lesson that's been consistent throughout my career, it's that things always work out for the better. I remember having a conversation with Jared around 2010. His dream was to be a professional photographer, FULL-TIME, but he also had the responsibility of a family. Working for corporate America, he had benefits and stability. The timing wasn't right then for him to take the risk of a career change.
- There's that old expression, "It takes a village." Well, Jared had a village of supporters behind him. And, the Mayor of that village was his wife, Beth. She's his number one fan and was there to support him, and they made the career change together. So often we take on the stress of new directions thinking we're alone when our best supporters are right there with us.
Last year I caught up to Jared and Beth for lunch at WPPI. It was a kick to meet her finally. A few minutes later Sherry Hagerman came by and joined us. It was one of those moments that to anyone else would seem like four people having a rushed slice of pizza on the run at a convention. But for me, it was unique and memory-making because it was part of what I love most about our industry.
Here's my last point, and I've said it a few hundred times over the years. The best thing about this industry has NOTHING to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Jared and I crossed paths in Seattle at Creative Live and as hokey as it might sound, nobody could be prouder of what he's accomplished as an artist. Even better are the friendships we share and wondering what the future holds for all of us!