2015 was one of the craziest years so far. Little did I know that opting to go back to school for two semesters would give me the skills and knowledge I needed to make myself far more marketable and Creative than I've ever been. (well at least that's how I feel at this moment) I mean that was the point of going back to school, but I'm just happy that it was indeed a good idea and actually worked!
A little over two months ago one of the coolest things happened. I received two job offers in one week. The kicker in this is that I didn't even apply for either job. How did I get to that point? Could this really be happening to me? It's one of those things that felt like a complete and utter dream. How is it possible that two epic companies want me at the same time. Now here's the other kicker...One job is in Whitefish Montana, a place near and dear to my heart. Montana is my home, my heart and soul belong here, so could it really be that I have the opportunity to continue to work in the field I love for my career in the greatest Valley on earth? But wait...JUST WAIT!
The second offer came two days after the first, and to a place magical and artistic beyond all reason, Santa Fe New Mexico! What an amazing opportunity? I mean my sister lived there for a year and has been trying to get me to move down there ever since. When I visited her in the Fall of 2011 she took me everywhere and showed me all that New Mexico had to offer. The only problem is that Santa Fe is 1400 miles south of Kalispell, Montana. WHOA!
Up to this point I've been working for, and with the great Kurt Markus for the last 4 and half years and when he and his wife, Maria, opted to buy a home in New Mexico after Christmas of 2013, I found myself at a crossroads. What was I going to do? I loved that job more than anything. I spent 4 fantastic years traveling the country and the world assisting on some of the greatest shoots I will every experience, not only that but I was able to continue developing my Darkroom skills. Shooting film is my favorite thing to do, and to be able to go in the Darkroom, process and print your own pictures is a feeling not many photographers know in the days of the Digital Camera, and now Kurt and Maria are picking up and moving? What was I going to do?
I spent most of last spring printing off resume after resume and having Kurt and my other work colleagues write me letters of recommendation. It seemed like there were several jobs out there for a photographer with my skill set but there was only one small bite and in the end they hired within their city, as I would of had to move to Seattle from Kalispell and they wanted someone to start right away. I understood, I mean it would have been a wonderful job, but when you're running a publication you need someone ASAP. If anything it helped me develop my interview skills.
This brings us to May of 2014. I was fed up with job applications and as summer approached quickly I knew my full time job would become part time, and with all my student loans I knew I needed to do something. So bring in Kalispell Brewing Company. I mean who doesn't love beer? I wanted to find something part time that would interest me and keep me moving. I was really excited to get the call from Maggie and Cole saying they would love for me to join their Tasting Room staff. We began training in early June and I met some really fantastic people. I know more about Beer and the brewing process now that ever before and it's made me appreciate the Beer industry and all it has to offer.
Nearing the end of summer we could feel the tasting room slowing down, I knew that this would bring less hours, so I thought, why not go back to school? I've always had an interest in graphics and graphic design as a whole. My Bachelors is in Photography, so I know some of the Adobe programs. So why not? Why not go back to school, earn a Certificate in Graphic Design, and make myself more marketable? Photography is a very hard thing to do full time in this Valley. There are so many photographers, and so many photographer enthusiasts that this decision could only bring good things my way....at least that was the hope. And boy, it delivered.
But let us fast forward to Spring Semester of 2015. This brings us back to the two epic job offers and some serious decision making on my part. Would I be happier in Montana where I'm already happy anyway? Or would Santa Fe bring me much more? More opportunities, more experience? I wasn't sure, so Kurt, being the bad ass legend he is, helped me with a plane ticket to head south for a couple days. I would meet with the staff at the Santa Fe Workshops, where a job awaited me, and should I decide to take it I would need to pack up and move as soon as school ends.
So I hopped on a plane last Tuesday and headed down to Santa Fe. I spent two very fast days in New Mexico and felt right away that it might just be the place for me. I was excited about it I started looking for apartments as soon as my interview ended. Everyone has been extremely supportive and have said, "no matter what you choose Amanda, choose it for you, do what is best for you." Everyone had their opinions and ideas of what I should do. Which makes a decision even more difficult.
I did what anyone would do when making a choice, I weighed out the pros and cons and for the last few weeks leading up to my trip down to New Mexico I started feeling more and more like I wanted to stay in Montana. But what if I miss out on a great opportunity? In the end a pros and cons list didn't matter, it really only mattered what I felt and what I wanted. I can weigh out the good and the bad all day long but the most important thing is for me to be happy where I am and love what I do. So what did I decide?....
As I was flying back into Montana I looked out my window and saw Wildhorse Island below with the beautiful Flathead lake and surrounding areas. And I realized that I knew my decision right then and there. Montana is my home, I've always loved it here, and I said last semester if at the end of the year I were to find a good job here in the Flathead I would have it made.
My final decision...I'm taking the job with Wheelie Creative as a Graphic Designer. I will continue to do photography on a freelance basis and I will get to work with some of the best people I know. I believe I have 4 weeks of school left, at which point I will officially start my new job.