A great place to start when you’re thinking about your career direction is to consider the environments and activities that you naturally gravitate towards.
However, there’s one particular way this question of ‘what do I like?’ can be applied that actually isn’t helpful. I call this the hobby hoax.
The hobby hoax occurs when you have a passing interest in a particular topic. For example, you remember enjoying working through a book on calligraphy. Or you had a blast taking a tap dance class with a friend. You had fun!
But should you move into a career in one of these areas?
Here’s a quick litmus test to see if the hobby you enjoyed in passing will hold water as a career.
When you think about doing that particular activity are you thinking about it solely from the perspective of improving your own skills? Like becoming a better mime? Or finally becoming fluent in Chinese?
You’re probably on the wrong track if you’re envisioning a lot of investment in learning and improving yourself instead of contributing to others.
I’ve seen plenty of people go into hobby professions successfully. (A hobby profession is one where there are a select group of people who make their living in that field, and there are also many people who enjoy participating in that activity in an amateur or hobby-like way. Athletics, arts, lifestyle, and languages are all examples of these fields.)
What differentiates people who work in a hobby profession from those who enjoy doing the activity on the weekend is the level of investment and enthusiasm that they have for their topic. For them it’s the thing that they can’t not do. And their skill level is such that when they do their work they can be of benefit to others.
My point here is not to discourage you from going into a profession that relates to a hobby you enjoy. It’s just to make the subtle distinction that sometimes considering a fleeting interest as a career possibility can actually take you down an unfruitful path. Think about it. Spending time in a classroom environment bettering your skills at a hobby can actually be a way to hide from what you have to offer the world.
Instead, be bold, and show us what you’ve really got.
Have you ever gotten sidetracked by thinking a hobby-like interest could be a career? Leave a comment with your thoughts below!