- Joanna York
4 hours ago
The idea of turning a hobby into a job has always been tempting, but it turns out that turning what you love into a job can be very complicated.
Josh Christie of Portland, Maine, wrote his first book on beer while working full-time at a freelance bookstore. “This whole book was written between five and eight in the morning. I would get up and start working on it, and then I would go to work and work all day long,” he said. Today”.
“And in the evening, the hardest part was going to the bar and having a beer and thinking if this was something I was going to write about, or was this just a beer I’m enjoying?”
Christie, 36, has built his career around doing the things he loves. He loves books and reading, and when he first started working at an independent bookstore while in college, he found that he also loved discussing the contents of books with other people.
Today, with a partner, he owns his own library and writes articles for newspapers and magazines about books, beer and skiing.
His interests and work life have become very intertwined. “It’s hard to tell how to separate my writing about beer or snowboarding from my love for them, or my work in a bookshop from my enjoyment of reading books and talking about books,” he says.
The idea of working in a field you love has always been very tempting, as the saying often attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius says: “Choose the job you love and you will not work a day in your life.”
This has become even more urgent now, since the outbreak of the Corona virus, many of us have reconsidered working life. And new research shows that we increasingly want to care about — and even love — our professions. In this context, turning a hobby or something we care about into a career might seem the obvious choice.
But is there a downside to combining our hobby and work life? And does reality mean turning a hobby we love into a spreadsheet-filled commitment? And how do you get some time away from your work when the boundaries between work and leisure are blurring at all?
Financial matters should also be taken into consideration, if the hobby you love doesn’t make you earn enough money to live the lifestyle you want. So, is it better for you if the hobby you love is your field of work?
And there is a lot of new evidence to suggest that people want to find work that suits them best. A survey conducted by McKinsey in 2021 showed that two-thirds of workers in the United States said the health crisis had prompted them to reassess their purpose in life, and that 50 percent were reconsidering the type of work they do as a result.
For some, developing hobbies and making money from them is a potential solution. Another survey of 2,000 Americans showed that 60 percent of them had improved their skills in one or more hobbies since the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, and 40 percent of respondents said it was very likely that they would be able to make financial gains. One of their hobbies once the epidemic is over.
In fact, turning a fun hobby into something profitable seems like a straightforward way to improve life. Engaging in activities that bring us happiness enriches our personality, says Yesil Yun, a New York-based psychologist. “If you allow this part of yourself to be active, it will help you in the long run to develop a greater sense of psychological well-being and happiness.”
Yoon explains that one of the reasons we aspire to turn something fun like a hobby into a job is to potentially “reverse the equation.” For example, a person who does not enjoy their work but wants to increase feelings of happiness may feel that changing their job for a more enjoyable activity would do the trick.
Moreover, doing the work that we love can make us feel that we have achieved the goal we are striving to achieve.
Ricky Hansen, a London-based career change consultant who often helps people transition to new projects in areas they love, says that people who successfully move into areas they love reap many real benefits.
“It helps you achieve independence, mastery, and goal achievement,” he says. “This is the most motivating way to work.”
However, turning your hobby into a business and source of income involves many challenges as well.
First, hobbies or interests for pleasure may look very different when they fall under the purview of “work.” For Christie, opening a bookstore meant he had to balance the activities he enjoyed, such as choosing books, with work-related tasks such as rent negotiations.
Kristi does hard work, and despite having a partner help him split the workload, he works shifts in the library and then deals with work-related texts, emails and phone calls in his spare time. And while the work may be satisfying, the pay isn’t good.
“I do this because I’m passionate about it, not for financial reasons,” says Christie. “I love independent bookstores, but it’s not the highest paying profession in the world!”
So, Christie began looking for other sources to increase his income, and realized that his writing on beer and skiing might also help him get some money.
Christie’s sense of self is closely related to his work, which is common for people who find themselves in this situation. For clients who move into the fields they love, Hansen says, work often becomes central to their identity. This means that while successes can be plentiful, so too can failure – or even the fear of failure.
“In this case, people feel that if they fail at their business, they will fail as a person,” Hansen says.
“It’s really hard to ignore things like this,” Christie says. “Anything that puts you down looks like it puts you down, and you get frustrated.”
And when business is deeply intertwined with identity, it can also become difficult for people to value what they are doing, which Hansen has experienced with his clients. These people may charge less for the work they do, either because they lack confidence, or they feel the work is fun and they are willing to do it for free.
For Christie, this means that he gets paid too little as a bookseller because he enjoys the work and gets benefits, like free books, that bring him pleasure.