When your passion and career are not synonymous 

As some of you may know, I work the 9 to 5 job in the IT function of the Finance industry. I’ve been in my current role for the last three years, and can confidently say that I love my job. (yes, despite the many instances where I’ve wanted to pull my hair out, punch a wall or just had enough working long hours {yes, outside the ‘9 to 5’} and weekends)

I love my day job and I want to further my career in the IT world. 

BUT I also love my creative passions: photography and graphics/illustrations. 


This year, more than any other year, I’ve noticed my passion grow stronger. How do I know this? Well my day job has been excruciatingly more demanding this year, however, majority of my time outside the office is spent on these passions. That is – coming home from exhausting days at work and still sitting down to draw or making a detour on my way home from the office to squeeze in a quick shoot. I basically sacrifice rest time to focus on these. 

I’ve invested a lot of time (and some money) learning and building on my skills in both areas, to further improve the quality of my work. Hours and hours are spent on YouTube, SkillShare, Lynda, etc., doing online courses to learn more technical or theoretical skills. After which an equal amount of time is spent actually practicing the things I’ve learnt- may it be going out for a shoot, drawing on the train or playing around in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Over the last 6 months, I’ve had a surge in inspiration and motivation to actually pursue my creative passions. I’m not saying I want to drop my day job, but God, wouldn’t it be great if I could actually monetise some of my work? I mean I do shell out a lot on equipment to help me further my skills after all. Just recently, a good friend of mine just started a photography business with her friend, and I was both proud of her and also motivated by her. I too want to have digital business in the future – digital work ranging from photography to design/illustrations, and maybe even incorporate my IT background in there (perhaps web dev or ux design?). 

It’s probably too early to make promises or commitments about my plans around this space, but I think about all this quite often. I have a lot to figure out before I can kick this off – one of which is confidence. I need to work on believing in myself, that I can actually do this. On the same token, I also need to figure out how this ‘dream’ of mine fits into my overall career path – what if I want to go back to uni for further study? Will I have enough time to work, study AND run some sort of business on the side? 

As you can see, I’ve got a lot of uncertainties but it doesn’t hurt to have this out here and serve as a reminder of an aspect of my life that I hope to be able to integrate more into my daily life. 

I’ll keep you guys posted on this, if and when I have progress!

[p.s. I still do photography gigs here and there – that’s not likely to change at this point… what I’m referring more to in this post is at a larger scale and more frequent gigs] 
xx

A

Sucker for the romantics

I’ll always be the girl who finds absolute joy in bawling my eyes out while watching a solid romantic (drama or romcom) movie and tv show. I know, it sounds pretty damn lame and pansy-like of me but I am definitely a sucker for the tearjerkers, the ‘aw’ moments.

Watching lovey dovey shows and films give us the ability to feel ‘in love’ without actually being in love in real life. It enables us to feel butterflies in our stomachs when in reality those feelings are hard to come by. It let’s you believe in chivalry, sweet gestures and traditional courtship, even if both are a rarity in today’s world. 

Being able to cry it all out. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m a crier. I cry easily. I cry easily, but I am also a ‘tough gal’ on the outside. I’ve put up walls around me to deceive outsiders of my actual emotions. I put on a brave face even when all I want to do is cry. Watching a dramatic show or film makes me cry – thus letting me cry out all the pent up cry-worthy moments lately. It makes me feel better. 

Outside of film and tv show contexts, I’m still a crier and a firm believer in chivalrous behaviour. I believe that there are still mothers out there teaching their boys how to treat women right, and with respect. I believe that even in the world where online dating and cyber encounters are prevalent, that you can still meet ‘the one’ in a cafe, a mall, the beach, somewhere spontaneous or even ordinary. I’m someone whose heartstrings get pulled when something serendipitous occurs. 

The downside to being a sucker for the romantics is that it makes you more vulnerable to disappointments. You watch these shows and movies and believe in all these beautiful things but when you are out in the real world, you realise how fictitious most things are in these films. To imagine a dialogue go one way but end up another, emits some level of frustration. 

For me, as lame as romantic comedies and tv dramas are, I enjoy them. I enjoy them because I believe in romance and let’s be honest, our love life in the real world will never come close to those we watch on our screen. 

[I’m sorry, this might be one of my worst posts but I am in bed typing this on my phone and I’m half asleep. Hope it makes sense!]

Diligence + Perseverance = Luck?

[This has been sitting in my drafts for months now {yes I mean drafts on my previous blog}. So apologies if it’s not as cohesive as my usual posts]

People tend to refer to my situation as ‘lucky’.

  • “You’re lucky you managed to land a job in the industry before you graduated”
  • “You’re lucky you work for a good company”
  • “You’re lucky you scored a permanent role so quickly”
  • “You’re lucky you have your own car, your own place, you’ve been to x, y , z….”

Don’t get me wrong – I am absolutely grateful and undoubtedly blessed.

My issue lies with the fact that none of these things came easy for me. I did not have a job handed over to me on a silver platter.

I have a $60k HECS debt because I chose to fast track my degree and had to go through a private institution for my first year. (as opposed to a typical degree of maybe half of that cost)

I pulled all nighters, lived off coffee, deprived myself of sleep – all of which I did to ensure my grades were maintained at high standards.

Those same grades are what got me to the interview stage for my internship.

The nerves I had on my interview day were inexplicably the worst nerves I’ve ever had (to this day). I sustained a 1 hour-long interview without embarrassing myself.

I scored the 12-month internship.

During these 12 months, I lived the intern life. The lack of confidence. The phase in anyone’s career where you essentially have no credibility. The struggle in transitioning from the university world to professional world. I coped with the stress, I faced my fears. I took the plunge and worked hard to impress everyone. I employed work ethics which my mother taught me. I put 210% of myself into everything I did. I ran to uni every second night after work and attended classes on Saturday – I juggled work and study.

At the end of my internship, not only did I bag 12 months of industry experience, but I got offered a job to stay. I was lucky that my team had room for another FTE. 

I then survived the awkwardness of salary negotiations, only to find out from my sisters that whatever I was getting was actually pretty decent. (Although I would have been happy with the minimum salary to be frank, because I knew nothing about what was ‘good’ and what wasn’t).

I signed the contract and threw myself into the ‘real’ work life. I continued with the balancing act between work and study. I took on more units to decrease the amount of years I’d need to complete my degree. I continued to put 210% of myself into everything I did.

Another 12 months went by and I managed to finish my degree. I was also offered a permanent role in the same team I’ve been working in for the last 2 years. Of course I accepted and again, continued to put 210% of myself into everything I did.

The journey I’ve been on to get to where I am today and achieve the things I’ve done definitely hasn’t been easy. From the outside, it looks like it has all been smooth sailing, but it’s definitely been a challenging roller coaster – this is why I don’t take references to ‘luck’ too lightly.

The one major thing I can attribute to luck would be the fact that I was lucky enough to have hardworking parents who took a risk by migrating to Australia, to give us a better education, a better opportunity. I owe a lot of my achievements to my parents – none of these could’ve been done without their hard work.

Bottom line is that I’m a firm believer that everyone, anyone who works hard will get what they deserve. All the work you put in, eventually will pay off. Let’s not diminish the value of diligence and perseverance by attributing others’ lives to luck, because let’s face it – they couldn’t have gotten to where they are now without putting in the hard yards right?

Old friends, new stories

[Originally posted on April 17, 2016 on my website. Copying it over onto this one for archiving.]

We meet all sorts of people at different times of our lives. There are those we meet at school, university, work or randomly (maybe through friends of friends?); whom we never speak to again after graduation or moving onto a new role/job.

But then there are those couple of people who manage to stick it out through years, maybe even decades of friendship. These guys are the ones we share endless amounts of inside jokes, memories and experiences with. They’re probably the same people you’ve had fights and disagreements with, but managed to come out on the other side with an even stronger friendship.

I am lucky.

I am fortunate enough to have a couple of ‘these guys’ in my life.

. . .

I am a firm believer that the depth of friendship cannot be quantified or validated by the number of years you’ve known someone, but through the journey and experiences you’ve shared with someone.

Childhood

The period of time wherein playtime was as good as it gets.

The bond you had which urged you to pick your best friend when ‘picking teams/sides’.

The time where you’d go over each other’s houses to play some more – because playing at school was insufficient.

The phase in our lives where our fights were so petty that it happened so often, that we can’t even remember what any of them were about; and somehow we were all best friends again the following day.

It’s the level of friendship likely to end the minute one of you moves schools.

. . .

Teenage years

The formative, adolescent years. The friends we make are often those whom we share some commonality with in terms of schooling – classes, sport, bus/train rides. And maybe, if you’re lucky, some from your childhood make it to this part of your life.

These are the years where play time turned into ‘going out’ – that is, being courageous enough to ask permission from our parents to go to our local shopping centre. If you’re really brave, you might even be allowed to go to the movies with your friends or even go to the city (without parental supervision, of course)!

The high school years wherein drama and crushes/puppy love consumed our energies. These are the years we spent moping, venting and reading into every single situation with our friends.

The phase in our lives where our fights could be so ‘big’ that it would drive a wedge between us – it almost seems like the phase that could make or break a friendship really.

For those lucky enough to have a childhood friend ‘level up’ to this part of their life, these are the years where ‘best friends’ tend to mean a lot more. It meant making the extra effort to see each other because you didn’t go to the same school – if it meant catching the same train or meeting up in the library, that was how you stayed in touch.

The stories and experiences we take from this phase in our lives are the inside jokes, the ‘heartaches’, the memories from school, and for those friends we make in high school, it’s at least 6 years’ (in Australia) worth of happy moments, conflicts and random ‘crap’ we take with us as we move on.

Graduating from high school – the day tears are shed, with the fear of never seeing our (best) friends again. How does one live without them?

. . .

Adulting’ – Transition to the adult world

We go from seeing our best and closest friends everyday at school or have regular catchups, to the years of our lives where your university timetables don’t align with theirs and full time work kicks in. The years wherein you either make an extra effort to see your friends or sever all ties from them – may it be for reasons like you never liked them in the first place, or perhaps you guys just grew apart.

This is the phase in our life wherein ‘our’ stories become your stories and my stories. From creating memories and sharing experiences with each other, we move to being the 3rd party to these memories and experiences. It is by no means a reason to drift apart, but definitely a shift in our lives, something we learn to adjust to. The stories go from ‘remember when we…’ to ‘do you know what happened to me and…’.

The transition into the adult world’s an interesting one because everyone moves through life at different speeds. The way we act, our priorities, and our level of maturity are not dictated upon by our age. Yes, there are social norms we all strive to abide by or even live up to, but we can’t. The pace at which we move at is different to our friends’, no matter how close or similar you guys are. Conflict, disagreements and disappointments arise because we end up finding ourselves in others. We expect our friends to act a certain way. We find fault in them when they don’t align their goals and priorities with yours.

It’s a bittersweet feeling really. We may no longer get to do everything together but we do have the pleasure of witnessing growth and maturity amongst our childhood and high school friends, as we move through the different phases of our lives. We go from sulking about how much we miss ‘the good old days’, to finding absolute joy in listening to our friends’ new adventures and find pride in their accomplishments.

Another one | First.

Here we go again, another blog.

For those of you that know me, this would be the nth blog I’m starting.

I promise I have a good reason this time.

Previously

For the past couple of years, I’ve been using Squarespace to host my blog as well as my photography portfolio. It was probably one of the prettiest interfaces I’ve ever used, it was a great platform. It made things easy for me, even having my own domain was a breeze to set up! I guess my only key complaint was how difficult it was to insert multiple photos in one blog post, simultaneously. This is actually a major pain point for me because I do love photography and my file sizes are not the smallest… this means that to upload each individual photo one by one is a mammoth task. Though this is a pain point, this wasn’t the reason I made the switch to WP.

As pretty and professional Squarespace is, one key element was missing for me  – a sense of community. All of my previous blogs (yes stemming from over 10 years ago) were on very community-like platforms: Tabulous, Multiply, Live Journal, Blogger and of course, Tumblr. These sites provided bloggers with the ability to interact with other bloggers and easily discover new blogs, may it be through hashtags, simple searches, social networks or any other way – and that is what I dearly missed the last couple of years.

That’s what brought me here.

Has anything changed?

In conjunction with the constraints I mentioned above, due to the professional nature of my previous site, I felt very wary of posting anything I wanted. It felt like I had to stick to photography posts/photoblogging-typed posts. And that’s what I want to change here. 

Who am I and what should readers expect from this blog?

I’m a twenty something year old Sydneysider who has a strong passion for photography, puns, penguins, blogging & the kitchen. That’s pretty much what you’ll get from this blog – but let’s break that down a bit, shall we?

  • Photography – I am by no means a professional photographer. I have a full-time profession in the IT industry but my passion definitely resides within the photography space.
    • My preferred styles of photography are landscape, food, street and some event photography. (Yes, that makes studio photography one of my least preferred styles!)
    • Expect a lot of long posts with just photos on photos on photos on photos. 🙂
  • Puns – no explanation required for this one I think? I am a sucker for puns, however y’all have to remember: Life’s not all pun and games!
  • Penguins – this one is purely my obsession for the cutest and most monogamous creatures on the planet – penguins. I don’t think there will be too much content on penguins, but if there’s a sudden influx of them then I guess you’ve been forewarned!
  • Blogging – As I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve had my fair share of blogs over the last decade. Some have been ultra personal (yes, maybe even overshare kind of blogs), some have been pretty standard – i.e. journal styled, and others have been for photography portfolio purposes. I don’t think I’m any good at the blogging game, but my love for blogging stems from the fact that writing is one of my coping mechanisms – it has been for years now. Whenever I’m angry or sad or happy or inspired, I tend to want to write about it. Yes, the angry/furious ones tend to have some profanities in it, but I am human after all.
    • I’d say this blog will have a whole bunch of topics I’ll be blogging about – I don’t think I can categorise it into one specific aspect. Let me surprise you.
  • The kitchen – This is not me purely being someone who loves to eat. I love my kitchen adventures – that is, my cooking adventures. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some with you guys on here, so stay tuned!

What happens now?

I’m still trying to decide what I’m going to do with my previous posts on my Squarespace. I think I might migrate them over here and just categorise them as archive posts? There are a few on there that I don’t want to get rid of just yet. I might start migrating them onto this one over the next week or so. Sorry in advance if it’s a bit spammy!

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I hope this first blog post has given you some idea about what this is going to be about, and my rationale for creating ‘yet another blog’. Please do let me know your thoughts on any of my posts!

Cheers,
A