Passion Vs. Hobby: Which One Is Better For Your Career?

Passion Vs. Hobby: Which One Is Better For Your Career?

As someone who’s decided to follow a career in journalism I am often asked: why do you want to be journalist? The answer for me is simple - because I want to pursue my passion: writing about the things that matter. Though I generally get that what are you thinking? look when I answer this question, I tend to think about a quote from the late Apple CEO, Steve Jobs: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Wise words to live by, here’s why: In a recent study by GALLUP, “71 percent of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ in their work.” This is largely attributed to a general unhappiness with their line of work that creates a rift between the employee and their job. As a result, they are less productive and we all know where that leads. A company can’t be as successful as it could be if they have employees who are unsatisfied with their job. Another article found on the Fast Company website, discusses the fact that in order for our brains and bodies to “think clearly” and work to their “full potential,” our emotional state needs to stay positive, because the suppression of our emotions in the workplace “greatly inhibits human functioning.” It goes without saying that our emotional happiness in the workplace matters, and how can you be unhappy if you’re doing something you love doing? This can get tricky. It’s easy for people to say they are passionate about X when they really like doing X, but a lot of the times this so-called passion is merely a hobby, and that’s probably not a good thing to pursue. I’m not saying hobbies can’t be turned into careers, but I am suggesting for you to tread carefully because:

Passion vs. Hobby

I’m going to borrow a quick exercise (with my own twist) from Jeff Haden in an article he recently wrote. Ask yourself, what were some of the things you thought you were passionate about when you were younger? Now, think about the things you’re passionate about now. Are they any different? Chances are your passions have changed, right? That’s because they weren’t passions. They were merely interests or hobbies that entertained you or were leisurely activities you simply enjoyed. And as I’ve already pointed out, hobbies change, which is why it’s important to make this distinction early on before attempting to turn your hobby into a career.

What About Passions?

Hobbies are not exclusive to change, this can happen with passions, too. However, it is less likely for the following reasons:
  1. Passions are more than a mere interest. They’re a strong interest for something. If you have a passion for something, you’re spending all, if not most, of your free time on your passion. Strengthening it in any way you can, and always thinking about what you’re going to do next with it. It’s hard to want to stop doing something you truly love, when you don’t ever want to stop doing it.
  2. When you have a passion you’re not afraid to work for it. This is where passion trumps hobbies the most. Pursuing your passion is more than likely going to take some time and it’s going to take a lot of effort. It will be easier to give up on your career goals if you’re not willing to put in the hours or the work, and no one is going to do this for something that’s only a mere interest like a hobby.
So the next time you think you love something and should make a career out of it, sit down and really think about whether you really love it or simply like it. If it will keep you from becoming part of the 71 percent of disengaged Americans, it’s definitely worth looking into. Photo Credit: Shutterstock