July 09, 2014

Things To Remember When Your Hobby Becomes Your Career

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Turning your hobby into your actual real-life job is a major “hurray” moment. Unless you don’t want the two to mix and that’s fine too. But for me, finally turning “side projects” and fun freelance bits and bobs into a proper job was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the beginning of “something that felt right”. However, suddenly being paid to do something you used to just do for fun could also potentially become a little confusing. Where does the fun start and finish? Are you even allowed to have fun anymore? How do you work rigidly and routinely on something you love doing? Basically, where’s the line? There’s a famous phrase by Confucius that says “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Surely there is a potential danger in that, because everyone needs to be guided and nurtured; it’s not just about turning up in the mornings and free-styling. And sorry to use business speak on this blog but: everyone needs some sort of “process” to their working lives whether they want it or not. So here are my own personal tips and observations, (as I still continue to figure it out, like we all are):

A job is still a job  Congrats! So you’ve got your job that used to be a hobby. That’s all gravy. But it’s so important to remember that a paid job is always going to be exactly that: a paid job. However much you love it, adore it, want to snuggle it throughout the night, you will have stressful days, you will have long days, you will have days that’ll totally take the wind out of your sails. I love this quote by Brad Werner (on Forbes) “…even the best job in the world [is] still just a job. Even Johnny Ramone said that being a rock and roll guitar player was a pretty good job, but that, in the end, it also sucked just like any other job.” But it’s important to remember this because it will only make you better. If go around being like “I don’t have a job, I love what I do” you will never fully reach your full potential (and everyone will think you’re a douche). When you are working to a higher goal, your work goes beyond just want you think is the right thing to do. Working in a team and on behalf of a company is a huge responsibility and must be treated as much. But by all means you totally can have fun along the way and remind yourself every second of all the reasons why you love it. (It’s important not to forget that). 

Like with a child, you must “learn to let go” The thing about a hobby, is it’s all yours, on your terms. If you want to play tennis because the sun is shining, you can, because it’s your HOBBY. Or if you cannot be arsed and want to watch TV or shave your legs instead that’s fine too, because it’s your hobby. But in the workplace you are part of a team (which is also a massive gain, lots of lovely people to collaborate with) so you can’t pick and choose what just works for you. It’s important to make this distinction early on; that collaboration really is uber important. You don’t ever want to be the one who thinks they are always right about stuff. Because a) you probably won’t be and b) it makes you look like a dick. So even though you love your job, you have to remember that other people do too and that it’s totally worth it in the end because working together as a tight team can be the BEST feeling ever.  

Never stop being a sponge* (Sponge as in soaking up information, not as in borrowing money of people and not paying it back*). When you have a hobby it can be just for lols. It’s like that Shakira song “Whenever, Wherever”; it’s your “thing that you do outside of work” and there’s no pressure. However when it’s your job, there is a pressure, there’s a personal and external pressure to be good. To be really shit hot. The crème. And you have to keep developing your craft. And that’s not enough either, it needs to be noticed too. So go! Be a total Spongebob Squarepants and soak it all daily, making sure all the new knowledge goes in and never escapes from your hungry brain cells. 

Get a Kit-Kat and take a break, for goodness sake When your job is your life (because your past-times have magically merged into day-to-day life) it’s very easy to turn into a complete and utter workaholic freak. When you love your job you live and breathe it, working all day and all night and then going home and doing MORE, more, more. It’s never going to feel like enough. Like blogging surreptitiously in the middle of having a romantic candlelit meal. Or tweeting at the same time as giving your boyfriend a massage, hoping he won’t notice. The list goes on. If you’re anything like me you might even become slightly OCD about your job slash hobby meaning you hyperventilate if you go away on a “relaxing holiday” with no WIFI and no “tasks”. But it’s so important to realise when you are doing enough. To realise when lack of sleep or the burning of the candle at both ends is actually starting to hinder your performance. So make sure every so often you put your phone in a drawer, chill out, read a book, and try not to blog about it for a few days (and not feel bad about it). 

  • Awesome advice – if only I could get to that point! Any tips for an aspiring… well, you? Currently spending eight hours a day explaining excel spreadsheets to middle-aged women for the council. It blows.

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