Should you turn your hobby into a career? About five years back, I acted on the cliched advice: follow your passion to get out of the rut of 9–5 job. I spent a good time at the first step — finding my passion. I had many hobbies that could become my passion. And as you know, if I could turn that passion into a career, I would ‘never have to work a single day in my life’.

Should you turn your hobby into a career?

  • While growing up, dancing was my creative outlet. I was still an alright dancer so I thought why not make dancing my career. Becoming a Zumba instructor seemed to be the perfect thing to pursue and I decided to get registered for training. I got the advice to first attend Zumba classes as a student for some time. I did that. I liked being a student but being a trainer didn’t fancy me. So I gave up this option pretty soon. And I don’t regret it.
  • I tried to understand the technicalities of dance but it just took away the fun I had with random dancing. Maybe I wasn’t as passionate about it as I thought I was — so I stopped dancing.
  • I then tried to make traveling — another hobby aka passion — my job by joining a travel agency’s freelance program. Planning for other people’s honeymoon and vacation from my home office was the worst experience. I left it before it could affect my love for traveling in any way. Thankfully!
  • The ‘passion’ for which I finally resigned from my job was acting. I was living in the city of dreams, the home of Bollywood — Mumbai. I was always passionate about movies and theatre so I guessed acting was it — my passion. I should try acting, shouldn’t I? Before resigning, I did some acting workshops and I loved those.
  • The feedback I got from there made me confident enough to go ahead and quit my job for acting. But the next steps to get an actual acting gig weren’t as great. Getting headshots was expensive but auditions were the main villain. I knew it was the Indian TV soap operas’ specialty to make women feel a lot older than they really were but to audition for the role of a teenage daughter’s mother in my twenties just made me conscious about my looks.
  • I did love the craft of acting but the casting process made me anxious. The process turned it into a competition(which it was) and reminded me of how I was just an average at my ‘passion’. I never got a callback. And my self-confidence took a plunge.
  • I met several people who had left their corporate jobs to pursue acting and were on the same trajectory. I started questioning my passion for acting as I had ignored the fact that one could rarely find anyone in India not smitten by Bollywood and/or Cricket. Eventually, I stopped going to auditions. Some people blamed it on my lack of commitment to my goals. It could be but this experience was an eye-opener for me. It wasn’t the world I expected.

Summary

I appreciate those who stay committed to their passion even after realizing it’s not all rosy. They still make it work for them no matter how long it takes.

I’ve realized I am not one of those. Yes, I want to like the work I do but my work doesn’t have to be my passion. ‘Follow your passion’ took the joy out of the things I loved once. I can’t think of my life without any creative interests but I no longer want to bear the burden of earning my living from my hobbies.

These days, writing is the creative pursuit I enjoy. And I have no intention of making it my job. I’ll let it flourish as my hobby.

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