Why One Alumnus Left the Pinnacle of His Career to Pursue His True Passion


Strayer Alumnus Jeff Lubin is a wearer of many hats. From humble beginnings, he went on to become one of the Washington, D.C. areas leading portrait photographers. Today, he’s living the dream doing what he loves. This is his story of success.

A Not-So-Straight Path


Like many others, for a long time, Jeff wasn’t quite sure what to do with his life. The son of a factory worker and stay at home mom, Jeff didn’t see much opportunity for himself in small town New Jersey. After a time in the Navy, Jeff bounced around jobs before landing in New York. Whilst there he and his friends toured around as a band, mingling with icons like Jimi Hendrix and other legendary performers. Jeff was having the time of his life. But as the parties and the gigs rolled on, he realized that this way of life wasn’t really sustainable. Realistically, his musical endeavors weren’t going to get him much farther, and he needed to lay down the framework for a more stable career option. The problem was: he had no idea what he wanted to do. He needed to learn a craft or specialty. Energetic and entrepreneurial, Jeff’s mind sprung to business. He would go back to school, get his degree, and become a business owner. His first choice was Strayer University, where he would pursue a bachelor’s degree in business.


Back to School


Reluctantly, Jeff left his rock n’ roll career behind for a new life in Washington, D.C. He was starting over. While there he had a singular goal: get his degree. But it wasn’t easy. Enrolled at one of Strayer’s original campuses in downtown D.C., Jeff had to work hard to stay in school. While his time in the military helped get him partially through school, Jeff’s G.I. Bill money quickly ran out. To finish his degree, he had to go to school at night and work as a dishwasher during the day to help pay for classes. But it was worth it. His degree from Strayer gave him newfound confidence and the foundation for a long successful career, and the skills and audacity for a future beyond that.


From Paralegal to Photographer


A short time after graduating, Jeff landed a job at the Library of Congress, where he would remain for 16 years. At the height of his career, Jeff was very comfortable. He had a cushy position, colleagues he liked and the government’s equivalent of tenure. So, why leave?


Jeff had another passion: photography. He would practice his hobby in the afternoons, eventually offering paid services. After a time, he was able to open his own studio. Eventually, overcoming his fear of the unknown, he was able to leave his Library of Congress job altogether and focus full time on photography. Photography made him feel alive, fed his passion to build something for himself. “Government was by a manual,” he says, “With [photography], I was free.”


Over the years, his photography business grew. Armed with his business degree, he applied unique marketing tactics (and a lot of grit!) to grow his studio. At an exceptional speed, he went from barely scrapping by to living comfortably, taking vacations, and putting away thousands in savings each month.


His continued success affirmed his talents. “Over time I change the way I thought about myself,” he shares, “I changed my thought patterns, I started believing in my own possibilities.” He started pushing away negative thoughts, shifting his perspective from “this is impossible” to “I can do this.”


Anyone Can Find Success


Today, Jeff is worth millions. Not only does he work on his own schedule, he travels and vacations frequently, donates to organizations he cares about, and he couldn’t be happier. What’s next on Jeff’s radar? He plans on becoming a teacher, so he can share his life lessons with likeminded individuals.


Asked his advice for Strayer students, Jeff had this to share: “Just go for it. Dive into it. Take the plunge.” The first step is the hardest—that’s why Jeff encourages everyone to create a “road map” for their own success. Start today by writing down your goals. Plaster them everywhere and look at them every day. The most important lesson to remember: it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. As Jeff says, “I always tell people, I was nobody special. If I could do it, so can you.”