Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Count down...

Tomorrow is December, 2010 another year coming to a close.  I recall yesterday being October.  What happened??
I think of all the things I photographed this year, and all the things I missed out on.  So much I miss because I am still working full time and part time.  It is frustrating at times, but until things with the business begin to consistently bring in a check that pays the bills, I give thanks.
I spoke to a woman yesterday who is employed but her employer has cut her hours to 20 hours a week.  Her husband is on disability and her children (two girls, 12 and 16) have been informed there will be no gifts this year.  It breaks my heart.  Even though I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, I did give thanks to have a job.
My job can be frustrating.  I deal with people who are straight up assholes.  I also deal with people who are sick and do not feel good, and many have not felt good for a long time.  There are also those who are entitled, or so they think and therefore, they treat me (and all the other staff in my dept) like we are nothing.  I had a doctor call today and demand I give her a dept phone number or transfer me to this dept at a particular hospital.  I did not have the number to give, and despite that she was being a bitch, I was actually trying to help her.  Then she finally snapped and said, "WHY DON'T YOU HAVE THE NUMBER, AREN'T YOU THE OPERATOR?"  I calmly responded, "No, I am not the switchboard, nor am I the operator, I am a scheduler".  She snapped, "FINE" and hung up.
I also deal with offices who have staff who are rude and burnt out.  Often they do not know the correct information when it comes to scheduling your appointment.  Don't think that is a problem??  Well, let's just give you an example of the problem that can occur:

Let's say you need a CT, the doctors office wants to schedule you because you need it, and the receptionist wants to schedule it to get you off her desk.  Instead of asking the doctor the correct information (with or without contrast) she just schedules you without.  Well, let's say you need your insurance company to precert this procedure.  Because she doesn't want to add another task to her busy day, she nonchalantly decides to say it is not required.  You go have your test, you needed a precert, and now you have a bill of over $2,000.00

Another situation - you need a MRI, the office schedules a CT. The doctor receives your results to discover his staff used a stamp to sign his name and scheduled you for the wrong thing.  You now get to take another day off from work to get your MRI.  Because your insurance company just paid for one expensive procedure, they won't pay for another - in the mail you receive a bill for over $2,000.00.

I do try to help those who call in, I do try my best to put the patients best interest first.  But, after 8 hours of being bitched at, being snapped at, being treated like crap and like a door mat, my patience also run thin.  I don't feel I deserve to be treated poorly by a doctor or a staff member of a doctor's office, just because they feel they can.  I completely understand automated systems you encounter at companies.
I am thankful for those who call in who are nice, who are patient, who actually have a little fun in their voice, but mostly-those who are organized and prepared for the call they are to make.
I don't appreciate those who call in who want specifics on the spelling of my name. DO NOT ask for my employee ID - this was suggested on a website article to guarantee you can receive good customer service.  I am not allowed to give out my employee ID to a fellow employee, I promise you, you will not be able to get it from me.  You ask for specifics on my name, I automatically will assume you want to get me into trouble.  I had one patient who said I was pleasant and nice and thank you for helping me.  I got a phone call the next day from my manager,  that same exact patient told the tech at the hospital, that I tried to convince her to go to a competitor hospital.  Wtf?!

On days when I have the opportunity to do my photography, to be in a studio, to work in photoshop (to wear jeans not because of a reward, but because it can be my daily attire) I find myself at ease, and even happy.
I feel there are signs from time to time that God is directing me towards a career and a life as a photographer.  Wouldn't you know it, self doubt likes to come into the picture and mess with that confidence building that He is doing.  I just have to believe - believe in a dream. 
Its interesting - when I was younger I fully believed; If you can Dream it You can Achieve It.  Now, as I am older, call it fear or insecurity...it is causing me to face a struggle.
I just pray God will continue to open doors of opportunity and show me the way.

As the light shines behind the clouds above, I have to believe God will shine a light on me and guide me down the path to my dreams and to a successful career.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

This time of year is a time I reflect on where I am, where I've been, how I got here and where next year will take me.  Nashville, I never imagined I would end up in the middle of TN.  I honestly believed I would be home by now.  But, it seems fate has other plans, which has kept me here.  I tend to reminence about home and the state of Wisconsin, which was where I was raised, went to school, obtain my degree and think about   often.  This is the most difficult part of the year as I reflect, back home in Wisconsin my heart still lies.
I miss home.  I miss it during the summer, because there is no better summer than in Wisconsin.  I miss it in the fall because the leaves are absolutely amazing and there is a crispness to the air.  The winters are magical, the snow, the ice covered tree's, the hustle and bustle of the shoppers among the Holiday excitement.
There is something special about that area with the snow covered lawns decorated with Christmas lights.  The stores are beautiful and as you step out of the mall, you step into a winter wonderland of snow.
Here, in Middle TN, we have no snow.  When we get snow it will last for about three hours and then it is gone into the abyss.  I hope for the day when I am able to travel more, and go home more frequently.  If not more frequently, then at least for a longer time during this time of year.
I am very thankful for many things in my life.  My family, my friends, this business which is growing and for jobs that pay the rent.  I give thanks for my best friend, Dave, who is home with family for the first time in years.  I am thankul for my other best friend, Di, who has three beautiful girls to watch gleam during the joyous mystic of the Holiday. 
I hope that all of you out there are enjoying this Holiday season.  I pray that you too have things to be Thankful for and family or friends to spend time with and to sit around a table full of wonderful food waiting to be shared.

Scenes from home, my horses in their pasture and the typical look of the barn this time of year.  A nice cover of snow on the roof.  You can see where the weight of the snow became too much and slide from the barn roof.  In the bottom right corner you can see a pile of snow beginning to build.
There is nothing like winter in Wisconsin, so often it reminds me of the classic Christmas from the 1920's or 1950's.  When life was more simple, and not so full of distractions.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Speaking of Violins

This lovely number is in Nashville Violins marketing; it is currently in an ad for Williamson County Youth Orchestra and will be on his new business cards.  It was also used as a feature image in an ad which was run in the Nashville Scene.

Work, work work...That's a good thing, right?

As this year goes by I continue on my journey to get this business to be self sustaining.  I currently work full time in an office.  I fully understand why companies utilize automated systems (as much as I hate them) it is because people are awful.  I do not necessarily "like" my 40 hour a week job, but I do try hard.  I try, I try hard because I do want to do a good job.  Yet, I deal with people who are heartless, rude and complete and total assholes.  Doctors who think they are better than all of us, over worked nurses, and receptionists who have no idea what the hell they are doing.  Scared?  Should be.
I also work as a photographer and marketing person for a violin shop.  Something I never imagined myself doing as a photographer.  For the longest time I focuses on nature and landscape, you didn't have to interact, ask for permission to take its picture, or ask for a model release.  As I continue through the years of photography, I have discovered, I really love taking pictures of people.  Especially Boudoir, Pin Up, Pets and H.S. Seniors.  Three area's that do not intertwine at all - yep - that is me....not making any sense.  I was a Theatre Major with an Equine Science and Dance minor.  My advisor at my four year college called me a strange duck when he met me.  I love the confidence women get when you show them how beautiful they are in their most intimate setting.  I love the classic style of pin up, it is so glamorous.  I also have a passion for pets, dogs, horses (penguins - it's possible, I heard Wayne Newton has penguins on his ranch).
So, as you can imagine as I am going through the paces of developing my skill and business, Violins were never on the list.  Yet, here I am working at Nashville Violins an amazing little shop on the West side of Nashville.  You can find me there most Saturday's when I don't have another photo shoot scheduled.
It is interesting as taking pictures of Violins is actually interesting, sometimes scary, (I handle some of his Fine Instruments which can range upward to $8,000.00), challenging and I love it.  It has given me an opportunity to learn as I work. It has opened the door to working with a local jewelry designer.  It has also allowed me to take on a whole new aspect of photography in a wonderful and fun environment.

That is a very small sample of what I do at Nashville Violins.  It is definitely challenging taking pictures of shiny instruments.  It is fun to see the students come and go excited about their teacher, excited about playing their instrument.  One young boy in particular carries in his Bass which is absolutely huge compared to him.  Yet, he straps that thing onto his back and away he goes.
At least I know when I wake up on a Saturday, I have a pleasant place to go.  I am allowed to wear jeans, I don't have to worry about make-up.  No one freaks out if I'm three minutes late (heaven forbid you are ten seconds late at my day job).  Its a place where you want to be, a place where people come into the door with a smile, or a little nervous...because their instrument is making a noise, or no noise at all and they are hoping these people can help them.  It is amazing to see what the staff can repair and how quickly they can do complicated tasks.  The front desk gal always has a smile on her face and brightens up the room with her laughter.  
Not too shabby.
It helps me remain inspired for the day when I have my own business.  When I have a list of clients two miles long and I am running around from photo shoot to photo shoot, and meeting with clients.

Another aspect of inspiration was actually encouraged by the shop owner, and that is: I am returning to school.  I will be starting in the Spring at a local college.  I have been anxious to get back into the classroom.  I have a deep interest in education and I am very excited to be going back.  Hopefully the course will give me skills that will enhance my confidence and ability.
It is getting later in the evening, I still need to have some supper, go over some images from a photo shoot I did for Rebecca Noel Designs.  I have happy news about that...but that will have to wait for next time.