The Give & Take: Issue 5

At Job Portraits, we're all about balance.

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April 2, 2020
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Grateful for the past, hopeful for the future.

No matter who we are, where we work, or what we've planned for the future, the last few weeks have pushed us all into transition. And for the class of 2020, the ups and downs of collective change were well underway even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But UCLA senior and writer Nora McNulty sees moments of change—even difficult change—as opportunities to focus on what's truly important, both in her work and the rest of her life.

This week, Nora officially leaves her part-time gig at Job Portraits for a full-time position elsewhere (congrats, Nora!), and before saying goodbye, she reflected on her time with our team and the importance of trusting your instincts when joining a new company.

When I accepted the offer to work part-time for Job Portraits, I was walking along Will Rogers State Beach in Santa Monica, only weeks away from the first days of my senior year of college at UCLA. My friends, tanning roughly 100 yards away, thought I was crazy for wanting to take on more work during our final year of school. For me, though, the decision was easy: Job Portraits had already proven itself to be a team of people I knew I'd love to work with, regardless of timing.

Sometimes you need to join a company before you can really understand its culture, but I knew after my first few interviews that Job Portraits would be a good fit. In one of those early conversations, Jackson, one of the co-founders, asked me to tell him about a time when someone vehemently disagreed with me and how I handled it. In another, Sandra, a senior writer and editor, asked me how I wanted to improve my writing and offered to help. Later, Natasha, a creative lead and project manager, asked me why I wanted to work for Job Portraits, and wouldn't settle for my polished interview answer—she wanted to know what I really thought.

Throughout the entire process—and after I joined, as well—I admired the way everyone on the team asked questions aimed at uncovering real truth. I was drawn to how authentic they were and how they were all genuinely friends—despite, in many cases, having never met in person. Most important, I was moved by their belief in my abilities and their willingness to take a chance on a college senior with a résumé much shorter than any of theirs.

Never once at Job Portraits was I made to feel like an amateur—even though, comparatively speaking, that's exactly what I was. My ideas were seen as just as valid as any other member of the team. I was not only welcome but actually wanted in the team discussions, just as much as any full-time employee. And because of that autonomy and trust, my confidence in myself grew—something that I will carry with my throughout the rest of my career.

There are lots of other things, too, that make me immensely grateful for the time I spent with the Job Portraits team. They believe in what they do and do it well (I'd say better than most, but I might be a little biased). But now, nearly seven months after that day on the hot sand of Will Rogers, I'm sad to say my time at Job Portraits is coming to a close. I've accepted a full-time, post-grad job offer elsewhere, and that means leaving the team I've believed in since day one. It's a bittersweet transition, but in my final days here I am thankful for getting to know this unique bunch of people, for the skills I gained, and for the newfound confidence they instilled in me.

Recently, I got some advice that really resonated with my experience at Job Portraits: When considering taking on a new role, always ask yourself if you'd aspire to be your boss or your coworkers in a few years. At Job Portraits, there was never a doubt in my mind. The answer was yes.

—Nora McNulty, writer

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If you're looking for a way to get out of the WFH fog this weekend, try creating at least one thing per day. It can be anything, from a new meal to a few minutes of live music (shower singing counts!), to a color-coded schedule for next week to a letter to your post-pandemic self.

That's all from me. Stay safe!

Got feedback? Get in touch at cydney@jobportraits.com.

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