Is it really your “true calling,” or just a fun hobby? Check out these questions to find out.
by Caitlin McCabe
I am the type of person who gets really exited when I learn something new. I am also the type of person to learn something new and then do it ad nauseam until I have successfully educated and annoyed everyone around me with it. Just ask my friends about the “I want to be a DJ” idea of 2004 or the “Law School” thing I was doing the summer after. (maybe I watched Legally Blonde too many times; I don’t want to talk about it.) Right now, it’s either upcycling or furniture building; I haven’t worked it out yet.
In between, there’s always a few other, longer ones like the “Japanese Toy Collecting” that’s been ongoing until my sisters came over to my house, went into my bathroom (that’s where my collection was) and forcibly made me move them into a closet.
These could be classified as phases. Or obsessions if you want to use the less politically correct, but possibly more appropriate, term. Anyway, the thing that all of these “phases” have in common is that they are hobbies, and it has taken me years to figure out the difference between a hobby and my “true callings.”
Have you ever read the stories in newspapers and magazines where a woman who works in an accounting office suddenly quits to open a lobster farm in Maine? Or some version of it? That’s the type of story that makes me start thinking, “Yeah, I should be a full-time upcycler.” Here are some ways to help you tell your hobbies from your passion.
1. Ask yourself honestly: Do I dislike my current job?
This one is important, because if the answer is yes, then all you need is a career change. It’s entirely possible that you can find a hobby that you like while you dislike your job and convince yourself that your hobby should be your new job.
2. Could you get sick of your hobby and still do it?
This one is important, too, because every single career gets annoying or boring at some point. Even the lobster lady has to deal with cleaning lobster tanks every once in a while, and that can’t be a fun task. If you can’t see yourself weathering the realistic downsides on a regular basis, then keep it as a hobby.
3. Is it something you do to relax?
Keep in mind that the minute you decide that your passion can be your career, you’ll have to find something else to do to relax. People who own their dream cupcake shop don’t go home and make cupcakes for fun.
4. What is it you like about your hobby?
Finding the common denominator can help you determine if your hobby could be a career. For example, I like to make things, and I have been a diehard magazine sifter since I was very young. Working in the social media field fits like a glove and speaks to the core reasons I like my hobbies (lucky for me, since there’s no real career path for “magazine browsers”).