~ On October 10th, I launched No One Way™ over in Instagram.
~ The project visually illustrates how people have really gotten to where they are now. (For more on the background of the project, check out this blog post.)
~ Every M/W/F, I post a new career sketch on IG. Every Friday, we do a deep dive into one of the sketches here.
Martha’s Path ~
1) Commercial Bank Trainee / Credit Analyst (Irving Trust Company)
2) Business School (Columbia University School of Business, NY)
3) “Toy Tyrant” Assistant Brand Manager for PlayDoh (Kenner Toys), and Brand Manager for Arts and Crafts Products (Western Publishing/Golden Books)
4) Various Client Services/Account Management positions for data-driven market research (Information Resources Inc, then Peapod)
5) Self-employed Photographer, specializing in headshots, branding images and family portraits
I asked Martha…
What advice would you give your 20 year old self, looking back from where you are now?
“It really was ok that I took my first job purely for the money and the prestige – even though my faculty advisor, who knew me better than almost anyone on campus, warned me strenuously against it. I can still clearly hear his voice saying “you’re going to hate it.” And he was right, sort of.
However, I have no regrets whatsoever. I learned so much out of that experience. I strengthened my analytical skills in ways I still use today. I met great people. I had opportunities rarely afforded to someone so young. And making a good salary made life much more comfortable while I figured out what I wanted to next.
My answer to this question in no way suggests that one SHOULD take a job purely for the money, but rather that there can be positive outcomes to almost whatever path you choose, and that no path has to be permanent.”
How did your early steps prepare you for your later ones?
“Every job I have ever had (even the really crappy summer ones) has made me better prepared for the next, even as I zigged and zagged across a variety of professions.
Even though people think of photography as a purely creative field, the fact is there can be no success in it without a broad base of skills unrelated to the art of photography. I built a strong foundation in financial analysis, I learned to write clearly and succinctly, to stand up and present to a room of people, to manage client expectations, and so on and so on….”
Looking back, what are you most grateful for?
“I fully acknowledge, with tremendous gratitude, that I never could have taken the leap to become a photographer without the financial and emotional support of my husband.
However, the decision for me to pursue this path has ended up being the best decision for the entire family (even if we didn’t know it at the time, and they don’t fully appreciate it during my busy season when we are eating carry out every night), and for that I am grateful as well.
Since starting my business, my kids have faced a variety of significant health challenges. There have been times when I needed to retreat from my business and put the vast majority of my focus on the home front. There were other times I carried a full workload, but at odd days and times.
I cannot imagine having this level of flexibility at a corporate job.”
A big thanks to Martha for sharing her story.
Check out Martha’s photography here.
About Sheila Devi ~
Sheila is a career transition coach, who navigated her own career transitions along the way. (Professional Actor to Professional Cook to Hotel Concierge to Certified Professional Coach.)
Sheila helps her clients figure out next steps that they are completely confident and excited to take…and that set them up for lives that they love.