Look before you leap from career to hobbies

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Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

In these times many people still have money to pamper themselves on luxuries.

We recently visited a new natural foods market and restaurant in the neighborhood. Customers were buying scrambled tofu and toast, halloumi wraps and vegan cheeseburgers. All foods were free from artificial additives, sweeteners, colourants and preservatives. All at jaw-dropping prices.

The patrons at the tables eating natural foods are part of the leisure crowd. They seek places like this to unwind on weekends from their high-gear lifestyles.

They’re dream consumers for these businesses, buying all the stuff they want, and more, to feel good.

Finding enjoyment and relaxation through consuming is ephemeral. It disappears when someone loses their job through retrenchment.

Many people want to prepare themselves for an uncertain future. Life coaches and psychologists tell them to follow their passion and do what they love. Is this realistic?

Let’s put it this way, if you’re interested in something, you’ll want to do it.

Some people resort to uninteresting work when they’ve never explored what interests them. Others have not worked out how to do something about it.

People want to give up their careers to pursue their hobbies. But often they aren’t good at them — or they need to get a lot better at what they do. It’s all well and good to bake cakes, knit macramé planters or dabble in carpentry. But to give up your career for your passion would be foolhardy. Unless you are wealthy and don’t need to work for an income to support yourself or a household.

Hobbies can turn into income sources. But to make a living from your hobby or passion, you need to get good at it as soon as possible. Acquiring skills takes time. You can’t be a counselor, an interior designer or painter overnight. Counseling or coaching may need doing a course or degree before you’re taken seriously.

Some people don’t want to stop working when they retire. They may change gears and work in their profession in a less pressurised way for a few days a week. Or they may adapt their skills to suit a related career. For example, a schoolteacher may become a family counselor). Others who fail to plan will take whatever they can to supplement retirement funding.

How do you start planning a new world of work for yourself? Know your drivers, prioritise your dreams and catalogue your strengths and skills. Then imagine possibilities and come up with an action plan. Support your dreams or interests with your strengths and skills — those you already have or can learn.

It’s easier to adapt what you already know into some activity. You may want to work for wages or work for a fee. But you can also work for me (anything you do for your pleasure or learning) or work for free (volunteering).

At the new natural foods store a woman was selling handmade cosmetics from her stall. This gives her the opportunity to follow her interest and earn income to support herself.

Look around and you’ll find many people who have started something for themselves. Especially now with fewer formal work opportunities. Chat to them and find out how they got started and what makes them tick. It could be you, sooner than you think.

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