She did it: Patricia left her boring job to become a photographer
At only 22, Patricia has had a very busy life. She left her office job a few months ago and is now pursuing her interest in photography. Are you thinking of taking the leap? Her advice will make you realise that it’s possible, and that, yes, you too can do it. Read her story here:
Traduction en français ici
Patricia, how was it to leave your job to start a new career?
I never wanted to work in an office but I ended up doing an apprenticeship as Management Assistant for Office Communications. I did this for three years, and decided to move from Germany to the UK in 2011.
Then I met my husband and decided to stay in London permanently. I took on a job at Osbourne & Little, a Luxury Fabric & Wallpaper company. My role was to deal with special enquiries for all kind of projects – from hotels, yachts, etc. – and to “offer an exceptional customer service”.
It was well paid, the best position I could dream of. But a bit more than a year later, I was unhappy. I felt like I wasn’t helping anybody, just doing useless bureaucracy bullshit!
So I gave my notice at the end of May this year.
I was shaking when I handed in my notice. When my boss asked me “what are you going to do?” I said “I have no idea”. She almost spat her coffee!
Once you’ve done this step and experienced it, it gets much easier.
I have a completely different lifestyle now and it’s the best decision I have ever made!
My husband really encouraged me to do what I loved, and without him, I am not sure I would have done it.
Have you always known that you wanted to be a photographer?
Photography was a hobby at the time and I wasn’t a pro at all. I only got my first proper camera in December 2012. I hadn’t studied photography, but I wasn’t too bad either.
I started an online photography course with the University of Manchester at the beginning of the year.
To be honest, when I handed in my notice I didn’t see photography as an option.
It was more like something you wish for.
I was still wondering what I would do afterwards. It’s only just before I left my job that I decided to set it up as a business. Mid-June, I set up a website and a Facebook page and I started offering free photos to my friends and colleagues.
I shot my first paid wedding on the 24th of August, two months after I left my job. I was lucky: I was the only photographer who showed up for the interview! I showed them my pictures, they liked them, and they hired me just two weeks before the wedding!
How is your lifestyle now that you don’t have an office job any more?
I already had a second job, working on a market every Saturday. I started this when I arrived in London. At first it was nice to have the extra money, then I stayed just because I enjoyed being outside and it didn’t really feel like work. I took another job helping out on festivals in the summer, on a food stall for a Portuguese company. I went to many music and food festivals and even saw the Rolling Stones twice while being paid for it!
I have no regular days off. I never know what I’m up to the next day. At the moment I am helping my previous company for a couple of weeks and it reminds me the reasons why I left!
At some point I worked nine hours per day and after work continued working on my photos for up to five hours at night. I can’t believe I managed to do that for a whole week!
But I really enjoy doing different things. Of course it can be stressful when it’s short notice, but it’s sure not as boring as before!
I work much more than before, but I have also more control over my time.
I get to decide my time schedule on my own – when I have to work and when I am off, and this makes a big difference. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to work 52 weeks a year, 45 hours a week.
I used to think I was busy when I was working 35 hours a week, and with all the travel to work and back I would come back home exhausted. Now I work « five times » more than before and I am full of energy. I even cycle from one place to another, which should make me feel more tired, but is actually enlivening.
What is the next step for you?
I would like to spend more time on photography. Now my other activities are taking over, but I guess I need the time to adjust.
I have many plans, but nothing is written on paper yet. My husband, who is Brazilian, would like to live in Germany. But I’m not sure I want to! We might spend some time in Brazil or in the US, but nothing is defined yet.
What advice would you give to our readers who want to take the leap?
Most people are afraid of change because of money, but money always comes from somewhere. Of course, you can’t be too picky, but you will find a way. It really sounds harder than it is.
Everybody should do what they want to do, a job that makes them happy. There is no point having one million pounds in the bank if you’re unhappy when you come back home. And worse things worse, you can always go back to your job.
Where there is a will, there is a way, always.
You can contact Patricia directly via email here at: PatriciaPereiraPhotography@gmail.com
If Patricia’s story inspired you, don’t hesitate to like it, share it, tweet it: One of your friends who wants to become a photographer might get inspired!
Photo Credit : Patricia Pereira
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