Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Career Playground

Even if I knew word-for-word what my passions were, it’s hard to find a job that fits--this country provides so many options and opportunities that it’s hard to narrow down where I can live out those passions.

As kids we would play doctor, house, fireman, or marine-biologist; and as adults we can do the same thing--through hobbies. Hobbies are a career playground. Hobbies are an escape from the daily grind to do a different kind of work that we really enjoy.

Fishing, gardening, hunting, sewing, dancing, playing cards, sports, the list goes on, but when we look at that list all those good activities require  a certain level of work. It’s a different kind of work than your job because it’s self-motivated, self-paced, and it’s work that makes you happy.

There is a difference between a hobby and a pastime. Scott is a friend of mine from Milwaukee who watches shows and movies as his hobby. He drives to Chicago regularly to watch new independent films, he writes reviews on the latest shows, he even started a movie commentary podcast with another friend of his with a similar passion. Scott knows movies and tv shows as an art form--he puts time as well as effort into his hobby. For me watching tv shows and movies is just a pastime. I don’t put much in, and I certainly don’t get much out. I don’t produce anything from watching movies--in fact, I would probably feel more energized and relaxed if I used my tv time to do one of my hobbies. Hobbies help us explore our passions, but pastimes are just that--they pass time.

The greatest thing about a hobby is that it’s self-paced. Decide to go fishing once every other month early on a Saturday with poles from a garage sale, or decide to hit the lake once a week with top-of-the-line equipment. Hobbies are as relaxed or as intense as we want them to be--which means that we can get new hobbies whenever we choose and drop old hobbies when they aren’t fulfilling anymore.

I’m not recommending that you jump from hobby to hobby for the fun of it--that gets old fast--but we can certainly explore possible career opportunities without having to get a degree, interview, or leave the more secure state of our current careers.

If you wanted to see what it would be like to be an author--you could join a writer’s club or start a regular blog. No, it’s not the same as being a full time author, but the lessons learned in a related hobby translate to the career.

If you wanted to try out nursing--you could volunteer with the Red Cross at a blood drive. You won’t be the one drawing blood (you’ll be taking names and telling people where to find the orange juice and cookies), but if you can’t stand people asking dumb questions all the time--nursing probably isn’t a good match anyway.

All that to say, let’s be intentional with our hobbies and use them to learn and grow in the direction of work that truly matches up with our passions. That’s the kind of work that makes us look forward to Monday--not dread it.

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