Never give up on your talents, you may find opportunities in the most unexpected places.
"Lawn Maintenance" and "Cinematic".....Those two things have nothing to do with each other right? I thought the same thing too when I went to work for a landscaping company, Real Turf Solutions, back at the start of September in 2018. In fact, I had hardly bothered mentioning my camera skills much, if any, when applying. Those would surely be useless in this new, labor-intensive job
I had finally brought myself to leave the job I had as a news reporter, a job which had allowed me to do what I love, but also a job which paid woefully unsustainable wages. Now I faced hard manual labor the likes of which I had never done in my life, in temperatures easily reaching 100 Fahrenheit. I wasn't even given a company T-shirt to wear, nobody expected me to last beyond the first day and the boss just told the crew "Just work him till he quits." Looking back, I don't blame them, I wouldn't have expected myself to last either.
Within the first 30 minutes of working, I was exhausted. Everything in me screamed: "You cannot do this, quit now!" By the end of day two, I was pure red with sunburn on top of sunburn, I hurt so bad I could hardly move and wouldn't have been able to sleep if not for the state of absolute exhaustion I was in. Everyone was certain they had seen me for the last time. Day three was when the serious bets started being placed among the others as to when I'd quit. I have pictures of the skin on my hands and arms bubbling up where I was sunburned. The skin was dead from the sunburn which had cooked my skin so evenly, sweat was coming up underneath with no way to get through the sleeves of dead skin covering both my arms and hands until I peeled it off.
I could write a book on the full experience, but I'll cut this short.
I felt like the suffering would never end. The first two weeks were absolutely miserable for me. Slowly, but surely, I got used to the work though, my endurance increased, and I learned the skills. I knew would never be the fastest or strongest landscaper, but I always put my best effort into doing my job.
Soon after I started the job, my boss found out about my production work and looked up my portfolio. He asked me some questions about my camera skills which I answered and we talked a bit about it before going back to work. That was that and I thought no more of it much afterward really. That is, until a few months later, just before Thanksgiving when he informed me that after all the holidays were finished, he planned to take me out of the field. I would be taking over the business's digital marketing, online presence, along with some basic IT duties as well. So now, I once again am able to work doing what I love. I can drive out to job sites, get footage and photos, return to the office, edit them, etc. And because of my time in the field, the others respect me. They know I'm not afraid to put the camera down, grab a weed-eater or a shovel, and go shoulder-to-shoulder with them if I have to.
Don't get me wrong, keeping pace with a mower or shadowing a crew weed-eating around signs on a five-mile stretch of roadway entirely on foot while carrying a whole camera rig and equipment bag isn't a laid-back job, but it doesn't have to be. It doesn't have to be easy. I'm able to do the work I love and use the talents that I have. To me, that's living a dream.
So don't write off your skills and talent. Put yourself out there, make it known what you are capable of. Opportunity doesn't always show itself as an open door. Just because you don't see opportunity awaiting you right now, that doesn't mean one can't be created.
Here is one of the more recent videos I have created for Real Turf Solutions to showcase the company's different service divisions in an exciting, cinematic way.
I hope this story inspires some of you to continue or renew your pursuit of the passions you have and the life you want to live. Don't write off your dreams as just dreams. You may think there are no opportunities for you where you are in life right now, but if you stop looking, there never will be any because you will miss them. You may not get to your dream right away, you may not even realize the chance exists where you are. But, if you keep looking, stay hopeful, and keep trying, you will build your path to that dream. You may find it where you thought it would never be.