When I was a kid, I longed to have a proper hobby. Hobbies were fun, helping you develop as a more rounded person and giving you interesting things to talk about at the dinner table. If there was any fun to be had playing piano it passed me by. My teachers were uninspiring and crotchety (geddit?), my practice was lonely, the pieces I played mostly dull, but I trudged my way to Grade 7 nevertheless. To be fair, I did become very rounded!
I briefly liked (licked?) stamp collecting but I only did it to please my Dad who, blessed with 3 daughters, was determined to make me – the youngest – as much like a nerdy boy as possible. He did pretty well, infusing me with a gift for DIY that makes most men’s knees tremble for all the wrong reasons.
My employed career lasted from 1986 to 1992, during which time I held down a number of interesting and demanding jobs. When updating my CV for the next position I always stumbled over the ‘hobbies’ section. What could I write that made me appear interesting and talented? What little snippets of myself could I reveal that would make them want to employ me more at the paper stage of the process?
Time moves on. Employers are not quite so bothered about whether or not you belong to the local am dram group, Universities, allegedly, only want to know about your passion for your subject. The very idea of hobbies conjures an image of cats and cardigans. But most of us still see extra-occupational activities as an important part of work-life balance.
Typically, you might say, I’d like to challenge that idea. Hobbies are what we do to engage unused sides of our personality, but they frequently become the only channel for the things we love while our work wrings the life out of us.
If you find a job you love, which uses all your talents and all your passion you won’t need a hobby. You’ll be in it up to your eyeballs, loving every minute, thinking about it in the bath, working out your next move, dreaming of how to make it better, boring the knickers off everyone around you with your zeal.
You may think that’s an unrealistic picture, that very few people can be lucky enough to do something they love, that it’s a risky strategy, with no guarantee of success.
I would say that finding a job that doesn’t feel like work, which absorbs you completely and plays to your best suit is the best guarantee of success there is.
Of course, that depends how you are measuring success. If money and status is your only measure we’re talking at cross-purposes. If having enough of the things you need, including stimulation and satisfaction, and a sense of freedom and adventure feels more like success to you them I’m your girl.
Talk to me about Vocation Location. I’m running programmes right now.
I also have a uniquely dull collection of stamps from the early 70s you might like to see.