3 problems with following your passions

Mixed media journal page created in Jane Davenport's online class Create Emotion

There was a rather annoying woman I used to work with who used to trot about saying irritating things like,  " Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life".  Well yes. That is what Confucius said. Clearly no one sets about looking for a job they don't like. Do they? If you have reached one of those flat spots in your life and are wondering how to shake things up a bit, it won't be long before you are advised to 'follow your passions'. If you are considering a career change the advice is usually to think of the things you choose to do in your spare time and consider pursuing those more seriously. In other words, think about your hobbies. What you choose to do as a hobby is what lights your fire, makes your life fun and enjoyable. Hobbies give you a break from the routine. They decrease stress - the bad kind, and promote eustress - the good kind, which gives you enough of a challenge to feel excited about what you are doing. There is the possible sense of accomplishment, without a lot of pressure. The fun is in knitting the beanie with your own two hands... it doesn't really matter if turns out to be hideous, does it? Presumably we are all agreed that work should ideally be fun. Something we enjoy. Something we actually want to do. So making your hobby into your job can only be a good thing. Or can it?  I see at least three problems: 1.  Making your hobby into work might just be a major passion killer

Before money is involved, your hobby is a low risk, low pressure endeavour. As soon as you have to do it, and when you are depending on some income from it, it just might lose its charm. 
 
On the other hand, if it is a true 'passion' (and gee, I don't like that word), perhaps this is just the ultimate test. My inner cynic reckons on the former.
 
2.  Your hobby might not actually be a viable career
 
Hobbies are designed for fun, not commercial value. One of the great things about a hobby is that you don't necessarily have to be terrific at it. Nor does anyone else have to appreciate your hobby. As long as it is an activity that you do do for pleasure and/or relaxation, it counts as a hobby. The dictionary says so. 
 
Of course, with a bit of creative thinking, hopefully you can massage your hobby into monetisation.  In What is Your What, Steve Olsher points out that to do so, requires that you find the intersection of these 3 things:
  • what you love to do
  • what you are good at
  • what someone will pay you to do
 
3.  If you turn your hobby into a job, you need a new hobby
 
You had a hobby you loved. You managed to turn it into work. Now you do that thing all the time. You have to - it's how you earn a living. But to stay healthy and positive and maintain your sense of well being you need a break from all this. A way to relax. Play. Have some fun. What you need is a.... hobby!!
 
 
Don't get me wrong. You have to be able to enjoy your work.But it is not as simple as turning a hobby into a job. That is probably a good start. But work is ... well... work. Doing what you love doesn't automatically mean you will always love what you do.