My Life Couldn’t be Defined by a Cubicle


About two years ago, before I even knew that I wanted to be a wedding photographer, I said it to my cousin. We were driving past blueberry fields somewhere through Massachusetts and I turned to her and said, “One day I’m going to be a wedding photographer.” I hardly even knew where I got that idea. But it seemed like a good idea. She smiled, laughed, and said, “Awesome!” with her innate enthusiasm.

When I look back at that memory, I always think about why I said what I did. I didn’t have to. It kind of came from nowhere. But I have this firm belief that in order to achieve the things you want, you MUST verbalize them. In some shape or form, you have to get your dream out, before it ever has a chance to come true. I mean, I know it’s all good to pray little prayers and dream little dreams, but if there’s something in the world that you know you should be doing and have the desire to do, you should shout it from the rooftops. Let it be known! And a dream can materialize into reality with hard work and dedication.

After college, in an effort to “delay the Real World”, I decided to go intern at Disney World through the Disney College Program. It was a great four months. Going to the parks at our leisure. Riding the Rockin’ Roller Coaster four times in a row without any lines. Trying the different foods at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Not to mention meeting my better half. The work part was hardly fabulous, but it did teach me very quickly that never again would I work retail. No thanks.

When I moved back home at the beginning of 2006, I set out to find a “real” job. Like one in a cubicle, or something. I had earned my degree in Communication with a minor in Psychology from UC San Diego, and I had better put my degree to good use. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? By early February, I had learned the ins and outs of job interviews. I mentally reviewed my strengths, weaknesses, and items to ask the organization. I had been shot down by Google, citing my lack of enthusiasm to review AdWords (seriously, could you blame me?) and found myself in an awkward conversation with a hiring manager for a media buyer job, when I had zero idea what a media buyer even did.

Thankfully by March of 2006, my period of unemployment ended and I started a position as a marketing assistant for a textbook publishing company. While the job was simple, I realized something. I was not meant to work in a cubicle. I enjoyed my coworkers who kept me going, but when I took a closer look at all that I was doing, I often found myself asking, “Why?” I’m hardly the type to accept things without questioning a little bit. That job taught me that I would never want to be married to my job as my manager was. She was often cranky, testy, and impatient. She was very particular about everything and figured out that since she had nothing else to focus on, she zoned in on her job. ALL. THE. TIME. She was unhappy. I didn’t like that.

I knew that my life couldn’t be defined by cubicle walls. I knew that my life had something much bigger in store. Life is for making things happen, and not much happens in a cubicle. I wanted to like my job. I wanted my job to excite me. I wanted me job to mean something to me.

So I bought my first DSLR and started taking pictures. They weren’t very good, but I knew that with time and practice, I could make them better. I discovered that I loved shooting photos of people. Capturing their candid expressions and real emotions. There’s just something about a smile that lights me up. Then I knew, taking pretty pictures made me happy. It made my subjects happy. It was a win-win. It caught a moment in time to remember and be cherished. It was fun.

A few months later I had the conversation with my cousin. I simply said, “I’m going to be a wedding photographer.”

And now, I am.

I still feel like I have a long way to go, but I’m living the life I want. I’m calling my own shots. I’m figuring it out. I’m stumbling. But that’s what life is for, right? Learning along the way and loving every second.

This was one of the very first photos I took when I decided that I’d make my dream real. (Thanks to my fierce friend Vanessa for posing!)

To read my first foray into the professional photography world, CLICK HERE.

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  • Reply mercy bell 09.26.2009 at 11:32 pm

    yeah yeah yeah. that’s what i needed to read today. THANK YOU.

    it’s funny, watching you “own” and verbalize things sort of sent me tumbling after you thinking i should own it as well.

    i still have a hard time verbalizing it, but now i know i should. maybe that’s what i’ll start doing this week.

    warm & fuzzy!

  • Reply Bethro 09.27.2009 at 7:32 am

    The best thing about Catie is that she is CATIE. No excuses. The end.

  • Reply Jess 09.28.2009 at 10:22 am

    Super inspiring how you made your dream into reality Catie! You’ve inspired me to go and get out there and do the same! Well at least what I THINK my dream is :) never know till you try I guess!

  • Reply Paul 09.28.2009 at 10:58 am

    Yes! I always had an inkling of doing something with photography, then getting laid off, or in my words, being freed from the cube walls, I made the decision and jumped in, as well as verbalized it. Great way of putting your story to words.

  • Reply Otto Rascon 09.29.2009 at 8:58 am

    Hi Catie. Thank you so much for posting this. This is my favorite line, one that rings so true in my life right now: “I knew that my life couldn’t be defined by cubicle walls. I knew that my life had something much bigger in store. Life is for making things happen, and not much happens in a cubicle. I wanted to like my job. I wanted my job to excite me. I wanted me job to mean something to me.” Rock on GIRL!!!

  • Reply Catie 09.29.2009 at 9:08 am

    Thanks everyone for the sweet words! What’s your story?

  • Reply Mandie 09.29.2009 at 1:22 pm

    I know exactly how you felt because I just went through the same thing. I even had my degree in ART, studied photography, and still thought I needed a cubicle-style job!

    Here’s to really living the dream. :) Congratulations!

  • Reply Onada 10.05.2009 at 7:51 am

    Very inspiring.I’m in the exact position now where I just really need to break out of corporate America and follow my passion full time.

  • Reply Vanessa 08.19.2010 at 11:42 am

    hey catie! i was cruising your blog again today and noticed this post. btw, i’d pose for you any day girl! hehe. anyway, i am very inspired by your story. it’s funny, i’ve sort of realized the same thing this past year coming out of law school. ok, i have my b.a., my j.d., my office job….now what? like you said, all that matters is a job you like. so happy for you that you’ve found it!

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