Comparison is the thief of joy….we’ve all heard that one before, and we all know it to be true, yet we are quick to forget it
When I started this account, I had all these ideas of what it would become. Alongside my blog, I thought the opportunities would come flying my way with my content luring them in. I thought a big following = career growth….. it didn’t exactly work out that way, but that’s okay.
The reality is when I started my blog and Instagram page, I was mid way through my uni degree and if I’m honest, a little bit lost with what to do with it. It felt like content was forced, and I hadn’t yet found my way with it. You’d probably think that doing a degree in wildlife conservation would give me tones to write about, but a lack of direction was paired with a serious lack of time with juggling uni and two jobs. On top of that my confidence was in the minus realm. Now you might think what does confidence have to do with anything when you can hide behind a computer / phone screen. Well, the answer is A LOT; in my case anyway. It seems crazy to me now, but I felt so embarrassed of myself every time I would post. In fact, I’d make a point of posting when I knew I didn’t have lectures the next day. So let’s just say even with the best intentions, it has a rocky start.
Once I had completed my degree I moved back home and it took me a year to secure the role I’m in now. During that year I worked in HR, a role I left when I went to Indonesia, a short while in health and safety, and started my own business. Whilst working of course took up a lot of time, it felt far more chilled than the lifestyle third year uni brought with it and I was living back in my family home. As a result, I had few responsibilities and seemingly more spare time, which I dedicated to the outdoors. A perfect opportunity to finally get things moving with my blog and page….. but of course little miss zero confidence continued to wave her magic wand over me…..so that went amiss.
When I finally landed my ranger job, I thought for sure the content would be coming out of my ears. I met like minded people who shared their nature passions which is how my love and learning of wild flowers grew. Every day was a school day and for a short while, as the newbie and having started at the beginning of the pandemic, I was able to take a little free time to snap away.
Then I was moved to the farm, and you wouldn’t see me without my phone in my hand. I couldn’t tell you how many pictures since the day I started I’ve taken of our animals there. I continued to develop my knowledge, particularly about agriculture and livestock at this point, however whilst I found it super interesting I couldn’t help but think “but this isn’t conservation related, who cares about this”. I posted a few images on my page and even made a farm diaries highlight reel, so things improved in that department a little, but my blog, not so much. Again, hello little miss no confidence and her lovely battering stick. Thankfully that lack of confidence didn’t transfer into my job, and I got stuck straight into everything and anything.
Fast forward to today and I’m happy to finally say I do not give a f**k about content. Firstly, I have finally accepted that I am not the person people can come to if they want to see fantastic imagery of orangutans in their natural habitat or whales dancing in the depths of the deep blue. I cannot provide exciting blogs about my adventures across the globe, exploring our wild world and all that inhabits it. That is not my life. I am a ranger. I have ambitions, and I of course am working towards securing my dreams for the future, but right now I look after farm animals, I work in and around my local green spaces, and I support those in education and those with disabilities to provide opportunities within the realms of conservation.
I think that it is wonderful that some people do life the above life and can highlight the beauty that we must all work to protect through their camera lens and digital content. But I’ll say it again, comparison is the thief of joy. That is one person’s path within the realms of conservation careers. There are SO many that have an enormous impact to our united goal that do not involve having thousands of social media followers and likes. Think about it, some of best experts in the field were experts before the gram even existed.
Secondly, the reality is time is hard to come by. Yes, I work in an industry that you’d imagine provides an unlimited amount of time and opportunities to capture things related to wildlife, animals and conservation but, 2 and a half years into my role have seen me take on more responsibilities which simply don’t allow for it. That’s not to say that I don’t learn something new every day that I could share, or that I don’t see amazing wildlife, but I’m lucky to take that in before my busy bee brain has me working on the next task to tick off my list. Just this evening I was getting ‘told off’ by my boyfriend for working on my way home. I struggle to switch off BIG TIME. My life is dedicated to my work, and my own little family. My reality.
So, I’ll be honest and say that thinking of super fun and interesting content and captions, and focusing on ‘the best time to post’ is the last thing on my mind. If I seem to be posting regularly, you can bet the images have accumulated and I’ve dedicated time to sieving through the ones I want to post and captioning them before saving them to my drafts.
Thirdly, I no longer question the content I DO eventually get around to posting. Why? Because I have finally accepted that yes, I am someone who in my rare free time likes to go wildflower spotting. I like identifying, learning and ticking off new flower species. Boring to some and yet I could spend hours doing it.
I’m also someone who loves her pigs, thinks they are absolutely beautiful and has arguably far too many photos of them on her phone.
I love snapping fungi when the autumn arrives, even though most of the time I haven’t a clue what they are.
My feed is now essentially my own personal nature / animal collage / imagery CV which I can utilise to assist in any future job opportunities that arise. Some people may engage with it along the way, but if not, oh well. With the monopolisation of social media, we seem to have lost that concept. Those of us that don’t have a career in it seem to still peruse a feed that makes it look as though we do. The ‘perfect’ feed if you like, but at what cost? Could I jet set to dreamy exotic wildlife rich countries every other month? Yes. At the risk of building up lots of credit card debt and not holding down a job that I already have the field that pays the bills and develops my knowledge every single day? No. Don’t get caught up thinking that your photo of a slug eating another slug isn’t interesting. Because even if I’m the only person, I’m telling you it is. If in reality your perfect feed consists of worms in all their glory, then I hope to be following your account your very soon.
I know we all know it to be true, but take this as your reminder; do not measure your current success in your field with social media likes and engagement. Post what you like for you. Focus on paving your own path. I know some people enjoy content creation for a hobby, so if that’s your thing then you do you, but if you think that by not staying relevant to your followers you’re going to be in any less of a standing for a job or further opportunities along the way, I can assure you that isn’t the case. I’ve seen work placement students come and go from my site, and the ones that stand out the most are the ones who are the most enthusiastic. Their enthusiasm and hard work is rewarded with greater experience opportunities, recommendations and assistance as much as possible to support them through their education and help get their foot in the door. Success existed before social media, and still does, providing you keep sight of what success means to YOU.