Interviews have always been one of my strengths. I started honing my skills at the age of fourteen convincing Frank the Butcher that a scrawny little kid could deliver meat on a bike that was twice my size and weight on some of the steepest hills of my neighborhood. By Eighteen I had received a Masters Degree in the art of the sale. My boss at the time. A fast talking salesman from the Middle East told me I could sell pork chops to a Muslim. The Father of my on and off girlfriend sat me down when we first met. Looked me dead in the eye while he popped his can of Bud and said “James, I like you. You’ve got a good line of bullshit.” It wasn’t so much bullshit as it was feeling comfortable in that one on one. Kind of settling in for the interrogation. Knowing what to ask and just how much to show. This Monday I had a chance to sharpen my dulling skills. Sitting with this woman over coffee I went over my skills and strengths. Sharing anecdotes. All along she’s describing the job and the studio. There I was ready to offer my time, talent and to a degree my soul. As I’m looking across the table confidently I realize this is a woman who is offering me nothing. She had been with the studio for less than a year and seemed determined yet defeated and dissatisfied. She told me about the shitty pay and hours. The cliquish staff that was cold to new comers and the dark depressing clothes they were required to wear. Prior to the interview I was able to peak into the studio to take a peak at the equipment they used. Pretty much the same thing I use. A medium to high end digital SLR, a Soft Box and a Strip Box. Late in the interview she told me that the settings on the camera were never changed and the lights were not to be changed. That I would not be taking the pictures I was used to doing. There I was listening intently and speaking honestly and respectfully. I shook her hand and agreed to take a few days to decide. The same night I was reading an interview in Esquire with comedian Tracy Morgan. In the interview he talks about his love for comedians like Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx (cudos to him for that) along with his love for SNL creator Lorne Michaels. But something else he said said really resonated with me. He says “How we treat each other- hilarious. How people fly off the handle for nothing. Go off the deep end for nothing. If you hate your job, motherfucker, just quit. You hate your Spouse? Leave. Just stop being scared.” I notice a lot of people including some friends. They hate their job, their boss, their commute, their life. Why in the world would I take a job I know won’t pay my bills and make me miserable? When that woman told me to take a few days to think about it she was basically giving me the keys to the getaway car. Did she actually think I’d call the next day and say “Sign me up for some misery.” “Oh and can you recommend a place where I can buy black clothes?” Fear would never force me into taking a job that would make me hate doing what I love. I think if I’m going to be a photographer I have to work for myself. Otherwise I am basically giving away my rights to any work I do. That would be a waste of time. I’d rather go drive a truck than work somewhere like that. Do what you love. Love what you do. Life is too short to regret your choices and bang your head against a wall all day.