Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hobby as a career?

This thought has been going through my mind for quite sometime, what if one has his hobby as his career/profession, would the boredom/job fatigue that is usually associated with ones job go away?  This thought was first triggered by reading Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion wherein Prof. Henry Higgins says, "Lucky is the man who has his hobby as his profession."  Here, he was referring to himself, a phoneticist by profession, who was madly in love with English language and had mastered all its nuances.  A hobby according to the American Heritage dictionary is an activity or interest pursued outside one's regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.  So going by that definition, a hobby technically stops being a hobby once it becomes a profession.  Still can the amount of satisfaction derived from doing a job as a hobby be equal or greater than doing the same as a professional one, because the latter one comes with a lot of strings attached!

To add to the confusion, this is what Orhan Pamuk says through a character in his famed book, 'My name is Red', "To avoid disappointment in art, one mustn't treat it as a career.  Despite whatever great artistic sense and talent a man might possess, he ought to seek money and power elsewhere to avoid forsaking his art when he fails to receive proper compensation for his gifts and efforts."  My uncle from whom I borrowed this book is a very good example for the above statement.  He has a great love for literature, especially his native language Malayalam, closely followed by English.  He has carved out a name for himself in the literary circles of Malayalam and has a couple of books to his credit, but he never lived by his hobby.  He is a qualified accountant (now retired) and he himself admitted to me that he never thought of writing/literature as a full time career as he did not think he could support himself doing only that.

After a lot of deliberations and contemplations on both of these views, I came to the conclusion that the best path lay somewhere in the middle.  Incidentally, I am also reading One person/Multiple careers, by Marci Alboher, which made me believe in the middle path.  The case studies given in this book are an eyeopener for the readers, many of whom may have felt the yearning desire to do something creative, but who stick to the routine day job due to the financial security it provides.  This premise has been taken by the slash person (Marci's term for person pursuing multiple interest) and adjusted according to his or her requirements.  One of the best and most endearing case study that I remember is about a person who works as a freelance computer programmer to support himself and pay off his bills and in the free time pursues theater, which he is passionate about.  He has sort of achieved a balance between the two, and when he feels like things getting over his head in one of them, he just switches to another (from theater to computer and vice versa).

A medical transcriptionist/aspiring accountant/blogger seems to be an ideal slash career for me, but that figures do some times appear slippery and I am always too lazy to write (but still I do have a faithful reader~Joby, hope u read this) appears to be the 2 hitches for me.  Only time can tell what I will make out of myself, anyway, it has been a great journey.....


  1. And finally the blog has moved from planning stage to reality.

  2. yeah....took the gestation period of an elephant....;-)

  3. You should go ahead with your multiple careers with a second thought. Also I guess with this blog in a way you are already doing that. And don't worry about the readership. Write for yourself and people will begin to listen. I will be listening.

  4. Just a correction on the last comment ... I meant you should go ahead with multiple careers without a second thought.