“To be able to set oneself apart in photography, we have to train our eyes to find new perspectives and narratives. This is very similar to what is needed to manage our personal and professional lives.
With a bachelor’s in Finance and an MBA, I started my career in consultancy firms and large MNCs and saw my professional future to be in the ranks of a CEO/CFO of a company.
An education in finance instills a sense of logical thinking that nothing else can, and I enjoyed my roles. But with mounting work pressure impacting my health adversely, my enjoyment gradually turned into stress. This is when I started looking out for avenues to decompress and have a creative vent. The DSLR that I had bought earlier was a means to my creative satisfaction.
Developing a keen interest in photography, I went through a steep learning curve. Tapping into my resources, I tagged along with photo studios after work and on weekends and gradually built my portfolio. Even though my work schedule now expanded to weekends as well, because of photography, the satisfaction was immense. In 2013 alone, I did 7 wedding shoots.
Feeling like I was ready to take on photography full time and having discussed finances and responsibilities with my partner, I quit my corporate finance job in 2014. Bit by bit, I kept upskilling myself with the intent to find my own voice.
My lifestyle changed to keep pace with the unique challenges that the life of a woman photographer brought about, the biggest one being safety. From learning driving to embracing technology, from connecting with professionals in my field to actively seeking support from family during my shoots, I successfully made the transition from being a corporate employee to a professional photographer.
While my journey has been a rhythmic dance of two steps forward one step back (birth of children, COVID-induced lockdowns), I have always strived to keep chugging along and to keep moving the needle. A break from finance also brought about a fresher perspective and I signed on to become a consultant at an angel investment company and found a middle ground to balance both my interests and to manage a family with young kids.
I have been blessed with a life partner who understands and appreciates my passion and a family that has unequivocally supported (and continues to do so) me in my endeavour.
I would like to leave with these thoughts. You can never make a foolproof career transition plan. The only way is to dive into the unknown, take it one day at a time and constantly learn and evolve.”
Shambhavi Kartik is #9 of our #100careertransitionstories