'When I grow up I want to be....'

We've all been there; being asked at the age of 13, by a teacher in school moonlighting as a careers adviser, what we want to do with our lives and the job we'd like to do. I remember my careers adviser telling me that I should know what I wanted to do, and that I had to decide, but I didn't know, and I was made to feel bad that I didn't know. We should all know this at the age of 13, right?

My favourite thing as a teenager was art. I loved learning languages too, but spending time in the art room was my thing. So while I can't exactly remember what I told my careers adviser, I'm pretty sure my response would have been something like 'a fashion designer', or 'an artist', but the truth is that I didn't really have anything solid to grab on to as a teenager. I didn't have any particular aspirations, and found it quite a bizarre question. Despite plenty of my school friends knowing what they wanted to do, the idea that you know as a young teenager what you want to do for a career for the rest of your life was, at the time, somewhat beyond me. 

Anyway, turns out I stupidly didn't apply for art colleges at the age of 16. I really don't know why. I stayed at my school for sixth form, but a month later decided I HATED it and wanted to go to college. By then all the 'arty' courses I'd have chosen to do were full, obviously, and I ended up rather randomy on a secretary course, with A Level French as an extra. ANYTHING to get away from a repressive school environment. I loved my college course, don't get me wrong - I'm now an accomplished typist and that's a skill I think everyone should have, but despite smashing every shorthand, typing and excel exam I took I never worked one day as a secretary. 'Too over qualified' is a proper shitty thing for a teenager straight out of college to hear. I mean, what was the fucking point in working your ass off at college for 2 years if that's all you're going to hear? There's only so many times you can hear that before giving up even trying at all, so yeah...didn't do that.

From college age I worked in a coffee shop (loved that), a laundry (fucking hated it), a bakery (where I got fat eating pasties) and a primary school, where I stayed for 14 years. Turns out I didn't even know at the age of 30, whilst working at the school, what I wanted to do for the rest of my working life. The thing is, at 33 I discovered Linkin Park, and started going to see bands live, and slowly over a period of years a career discovered me. It was totally and utterly unintended at the time, like a thing that just 'happened',  in quite a surreal way tbf, looking back at it. Right in the middle of my primary school 'career', making me realise even more that I didn't want to work forever in a school. So I let photography sweep me along, finally deciding that it was a leap worth taking. I owe it everything, but I never saw that coming as a 13 year old. I probably would have laughed if someone had told me that years ago.

In hindsight I wish I had discovered live music at an earlier age, because being involved in music is the best thing that's ever happened to me in terms of a career. You may know that photography isn't the only thing that I do, and the truth is that without photography none of those other things would have ever come to be. So I owe it all to that first camera I bought. Or the local promoter who let me into all of his shows to flit around the stage with said camera. Or to Linkin Park. I mean essentially I can firmly lay it all at the feet of Linkin park, cus seeing One Step Closer on my tv was clearly a life changing moment, but that's another story. And anyway, I just didn't know ANY of this as a teenager. I had zero interest in live music as a teenager. 

I am actually getting to a point here. I think that at the age of 47 maybe I still don't really know what I want to do with my life...? I've added quite a few strings to my bow over the years when it comes to 'jobs' related to music. I've done PR for events, I've helped organise festivals and music shows, I've been a journalist, run my own music webzine, managed stages, tours, groups of people, social media pages, and right now I help manage a few bands that I utterly love. I'm pretty good at organising things and people. And I like doing it very much, and maybe even more than I like photography. There are quite a few things that I COULD pursue as a slightly different career, and I do think about it quite often. I love tour managing. I love managing bands. I love organising events. So perhaps at some point I'll take another big leap into something away from photography full time. Or MAYBE I haven't even even found my favourite career yet. Who knows. 

The point is (FINALLY) that you may never fully know what you want to do as a job. Don't feel bad if you haven't figured it out yet or need to try a few things to discover what you're really good at and enjoy. You will. We don't all know at 13, or even 30 (or 47), what we're good at, or where our passions lie, so don't allow anyone to pressure you into a decision before you're ready. Maybe you have a variety of things you like doing, like me, and might not be totally sure for a while but have fun whilst you're figuring it out. Because THAT is the only important thing. 


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