Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sad But Not Necessarily Bad News

One month ago I was laid off from a job I had held for ten years. Sad, but not necessarily bad news.

I've been here before. I know the routine. It's a bit tougher being 52. It all seemed easier when I was younger. Rather than bouncing back these days it's more like a steep climb. But I do it. I made some decisions a long time ago that made this sort of thing a regular part of the equation.

To be able to make a living working at those types of jobs that allow me the time and energy to pursue my personal and creative work I have to realize that those are not the most stable of positions and be able to roll with the punches.

I've created a life style that I consider very rich and satisfying. The concessions I made twenty years ago have long since been forgotten and never seemed like sacrifices. Some people still wonder why I don't own a car, have credit cards, have cable TV, or want to own a house. Imagine the fix I'd be in today if I had all those obligations at 52 having just lost my job?

I live in a city in which a car isn't necessary, I rent a house I can move out of with a 30 day notice, I have no debt, I spend my free time pursuing my photography and enjoying my huge network of friends most of whom are painters, writers, photographers, actors, musicians.

Low stress jobs that allow flexible hours and make no demands beyond the normal 8 hour day are often not the best paying jobs and often not the most secure. But they do allow one to maintain a certain degree of control over one's own life.

Since moving to the Bay Area 23 years ago to practice the art and craft of photography I've held 7 different jobs. I worked for a couple of well known photographers, I worked at a photo lab, at a stock photo agency, at an art store, at a little museum and now I'm starting a new "little" job at a big museum. It was time for a change of venue. I know from past experience that the white water ahead will soon yield to a gently flowing current that will take me farther along my journey.

The photo above shows my desk at Mountain Light Photography. I worked there for almost two years. It was the first job I had after moving here from Southern California. I was a photo researcher and I loved the work. That was over 20 years ago. I've come a long way since then. There's been some white water but for the most part it's been smooth sailing.

Photo: ©1989 David W. Sumner


Anonymous said...

Water flows through rock... we keep finding our path forward though life. Hugs to you.

Margaret said...

I really enjoyed this post. Very inspiring. I was upset to hear you had been laid off, but now I know you will be fine. Because you are, first and foremost, an artist with inner resources and focus and discipline. The best of luck to you!