Let me make this clear, this is not an article telling you to abandon a career filled with job satisfaction, neither is it an article telling you to play life safe and stick with the stability of a traditional job role. Rather, this piece is to comfort many creatives (or non- creatives if you find this relatable), that have read one tumblr quote too many demanding them to ‘follow your dreams’, and on doing so have ended up miserable.
All my life I have been obsessed with music- writing it, singing it, swapping my favourite tracks with friends. So at the end of year 11 I was determined that a performing arts school would be the perfect place to nurture my creativity! It wasn’t and I hated every second of it. Soon into the course, my creative outlet started to bore and restrict me. The over analysing of genres and beats per minute made the idea of picking up an earphone tiresome, let alone an instrument. I quickly became miserable and depressed. Consequently, I dropped out.
Too often the idea of doing activities for leisure and personal growth becomes overshadowed by a capitalist mindset that everything you touch should turn to gold.
Whether your pastime of choice is gardening, baking, or a creative activity, studies have shown that having an hobby links to an increase in mental health and wellbeing. Ironically they can also improve employability skills such as teamwork, leadership and personal time management, as well as aiding in job satisfaction due to the strong sense of individualism given to the hobbyist. (?)
Again, I want to stress that there are examples of passion projects becoming lucrative and socially beneficial, but for many who follow their passion and instantly ‘fall out of love with it’ this is article is for you. That sinking feeling of failure or not being good enough to ‘make it’ can be overwhelming especially when a career u-turn comes with a cheer from naysayers who didn’t believe you could accomplish your feat anyway.
But sometimes hobbies should stay just that, hobbies. Often the battle of making hobbies profitable results in the loss of therapeutic value and enjoyment.
So should you not link your hobbies to your career at all? No, as mentioned before this path of pursuing passion projects works for some, and from personal experience I have found seeking inspiration from your favourite pass times will create an enjoyable career journey.
After leaving college I realised the unique ability music had to discuss personal experience left an impression on me. I then followed a career in engaging people with art work which commented on society, minority experiences and provoked debate. I used my hobby to direct my career without directly pursuing it, leaving the pleasure of music safe for another day.
By Tanika Lopez @MsTanikaLopez