“911, What is the address of your emergency?”

When I decided to go back to University to get my Masters I told Aaron that I didn’t really have a plan. In saying this I meant, more so, that I wasn’t sure what the end goal was outside of getting a Master’s degree. I understand how reckless and naïve that sounds but I didn’t want to bind myself to an idea of how everything was going to work out. Instead, I planned to just, not plan, enjoy the ride, and see where this journey took me. Thank goodness my husband has a world of patience with me and quite literally never questions me when I tell him my plans (…or lack thereof).

As part of my MA, I need to conduct fieldwork. In the little planning that I actually did commit to, this is on the list. I had planned to go to the Amazon to conduct sensory fieldwork as part of my research hours. In fact, I was supposed to be there, complaining amount the humidity and mosquitoes, right about now.

This is where my decision not to make plans began to fall apart…

I had told myself I was going to start looking for work when I returned home from fieldwork. And for those of you who know me well, it’s probably at this moment that you’re asking, “But what about photography!?!” While I’ve never really openly shared these details publically, in all the years I’ve been doing photography, I have never intended to do photography for the rest of my life.

I personally don’t feel photography is a career many people can successfully grow old with (at least I had never envisioned that path for myself) and I’ve always known that it would be an ‘until someday’ career for me. And, when I decided to go back to school, I had always thought that ‘until someday’ would be right around the time I was getting ready to defend my thesis. Don’t get me wrong, I will, 100%, absolutely always do photography. Always. I LOVE photography, and that’s a huge reason why I don’t want to do it forever as a career. I never want to get to a point where I fall out of love with photography and lose the passion I have for it. It makes my creative soul so embarrassingly happy that I can’t imagine a life without photography in it. I’m committed to my current clients and I’ll continue to take clients for as long as they want me. And, when the day comes that my inbox is empty and new notifications have gone silent, I’ll still continue creating creative work because it’s something I need to do. I’m just at a point in my life where I need to take a few steps back from the full-time freelance life.

Remember when I said photography would be an ‘until someday’ for me? Well, that ‘day’ came a little sooner than I anticipated… Back in early October 2018 I randomly started browsing jobs online. I have no idea why as I had told myself this wasn’t something I was even going to consider looking into until after fieldwork. But, minutes in, I saw that the Emergency Services Centre was hiring for a Communication Specialist position (aka answering 911 calls and dispatching emergency services for Southern Saskatchewan). I got so excited and within seconds I had my heart set on getting the position. I applied and a few hours later I received a response asking if I would be interested in coming to an information night later that week. I went to their event, took a few tests, and then waited. Eventually I received a call back, asking if I would come in for three more tests. I blocked that evening off in my planner, started studying, and around two weeks after the information night, I went in, with around 10 other people to write more exams.

Now, you probably aren’t going to believe me if I describe the remaining steps of this process to you, as it was a wild ride that went on for weeks. I went in numerous times for a variety of tests and exams, sat in on an observation shift, and survived a panel interview. By the time all of these steps were complete it was Christmas and on December 21st I received an email stating that they were still doing background checks on me and looking into my references, but the Commander of the Communication Centre wanted to have a meeting with me in the New Year.

I was excited and terrified. I hoped this meant I did well on my interview and that they wanted to discuss the job with me but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up because I wanted this job badly and was already emotionally invested in what this entire process was, hopefully, leading up to. I had already envisioned myself studying throughout the training process, proudly wearing the uniform, excitedly telling everyone about this new endeavor I was pursuing. I wanted to talk about this entire process SO badly, but with the exception of an incredibly small group of people, my nail tech being one of them (Hi Suzanne!), I haven’t said a word.

Until now! I can finally tell you, I’ve proudly accepted a position and will begin training February 25. I’m eager to be the best I can be in this position and help my community through some of their hardest moments. I truly don’t intend this to sound cheesy, but I am so excited to be able to do work that’s important, work that matters, and help people in need.

This position is shift work, which I’m sure many turn their nose up to, but I’m not a Monday-Friday, 9-5 type of person so shift work is perfect for me. Also, the way the rotations work, I’ll still be able to do photography on the side and I truly couldn’t ask for anything better than that. I obviously won’t be able to share many details about the position here, but I’ll happily share what I am able to in regards to the changes it means for me and my family and what this shift in careers is like as I go through the process. If there’s anything anyone is curious about or if you have questions, please just leave me a comment and I’ll respond to those I’m able to!

Here’s to new beginnings!  

P.S. – that fieldwork I’m supposed to be conducting right now, I’ve postponed it until next year around this time so that I’m able to full commit to this new position and training. There’s a part of me that’s sad to extend the wait to explore the Amazon, but this position will hopefully be one I’m in for a very long while so in the scheme of things, waiting another year is more than ok with me.   

4 thoughts on ““911, What is the address of your emergency?”

  1. Congratulations Ali…..so happy for you. The fact that your so excited to start something new in your life warms my heart to no end. Nobody works harder than you in anything you take on and I know you will be VERY successful in this new endeavour. I hope this turns out to be exactly what you want it to be as a future in helping others. From someone who has done a little work with emergency response please be sure to take care of yourself first and foremost. When you do this only then can you help others and stay well for yourself and your family. Many warm hugs and congratulations.

    1. Thank you SO much for your kind words! I promise I’ll do everything I can to take the best care of myself, first and foremost. They have a really good plan that allows for therapy and things like that too so I’ll definitely utilize that as well as needed. I want to succeed in this role so I’m definitely going to do my best to take care of myself so that I’m able to do my job well. Thank you again and big hugs to you too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *