Last time I posed things looked pretty bleak. I was scared. Due to my fear I reached out to a company called Bella Baby Photography. They took the newborn photos of Jesse in the hospital when he was born. I thought it was a long shot, but it couldn't hurt to try and find out what they were all about. I sent a generic email to the company and low and behold, they were hiring and conducted a phone interview right away. A few days later I was in their studio for a formal face to face interview. They offered me a position on the spot. I was absolutely thrilled. The catch? They only hire for part time and there are no benefits. I figured since I didn't have anything else, that I would give this a try, I had nothing to loose. I was absolutely in love with the fact that I could call myself a professional photographer but I was also a bit scared about the newborn baby thing and living up to the Bella standards.
I went through the training with Bella for 2 days, I shadowed a photographer for one day and I worked with a senior photographer one day. After that, I was on my own! The initial plan was to do this for a while and eventually branch out in the Spring and start my own photography business. It was a good plan, but unfortunately, it just didn't happen that way. I loved my job with Bella. I loved working with the babies and the parents who were excited about their new bundle of joy, but the honest truth was that it was not getting the bills paid. This was the type of job that doesn't pay hourly, it's commission only. The newer photographers are scheduled at the slower hospitals that get a lot of customer declines while they get through the learning curve. It just wasn't enough. I got some additional training and I was getting good at this, but it just wasn't enough to support my family.
After the start of the new year I decided to start looking for full time work again. My idea about branching out and starting my own photography business was just not going to happen. We would starve and be homeless if I pursued that. Not saying I was incapable of running a successful business, I just didn't have the financial resources for the start up. I was contracted by a broker in the real estate community to help with some post broker even work. I happily accepted. By doing this side job, I was able to get names and contact information for over 600 professionals in the commercial real estate community. Many of them I knew of previously, but it's not an easy task recalling everyone you've ever met in the industry. This got my wheels turning as well and I started cold calling and emailing brokers and companies within the industry. I managed to procure 3 interviews from this. After one of my interviews, I met up with a good friend in the industry for lunch. After I told her about my prospects she asked me if I was interested in working for her company.... in Rosemont. There is a guy in her office that really needs help and they needed someone to do the general office management duties. Ouch, Rosemont is far from me. I told myself I wouldn't work in the city, Schaumburg or Rosemont. I would consider Schaumburg or Rosemont if the money was right. It would have to be worth it.
Some time went on and I thought a lot about working in Rosemont and my friend gave me a ballpark number as to what to expect as far as salary was concerned. I had a minimum number in my head and her estimate was pretty close to that. She told me that the girl in my position previously made just a hair short of the minimum I had in my head, then she told me that I had much more experience than her, so I should be able to make more. I told her that I was very interested and she would get the ball rolling. No one had been in this position for over a year and a half, that no one was really needed in the position until recently. They hadn't even put the position in the annual budget. I met with the man who the position would be under and we got along just fine. Then we got approval from the Vice President in the same office. Last step was getting corporate approval. Within a month of this just being an idea, it happened. I got an offer to work for this company and the salary met my minimum requirement. I took the job and I couldn't be happier with my decision. I had some other offers from the interviews I had before this came about, but those were $7-$10k per year less. Plus the hours were not flexible with the other company and I would be contributing to insurance, losing more income. The job I accepted has flexible hours (I can work 7-4 and avoid most of the rush hour traffic), insurance paid 100%, a small office (which is what I'm used to) and they are even giving me $276/month for an allowance (to use towards additional insurance, dependents or as taxable income).
I started last week and the company is great, the people are great and the commute isn't as bad as I thought. I think this is a step in the right direction. I'm happy things are finally going in a positive direction.