When looking for a career, the old way of thinking is that you need to be 100 percent laser focused on getting that job. You go to school, you take your qualifications and you hit the job market head-on. This has been the typical train of thought for decades.
A little news flash though – over the last few decades, there have been many updates in technology creating fun distractions for people. Working with technology has become an instinct and a way of daily life for millennials. An online adult will spend nearly an entire day of the week on social media or texting more than 150 million people in America play video games, and every minute, YouTube receives over 300 hours of video content by users. It is likely with the above numbers that people seeking a career or just a job to pay the bills are using one of the above distractions in their lives. Job searching and uncertainty of your future can be a stressful combination, so some say why not lighten the mood?
So here is the question: Is indulging in your distractions a good thing, or is it a lazy impulse? Is it best to stick to tradition, or should we embrace our these new changes?
For me, the simple answer is a clear yes – embrace the change. Embracing your hobbies, especially when it results in displaying your skills in an online environment, is a wonderful thing. Obviously, if your hobby takes over your life, prevents you from paying your bills, removes a roof from over your head, and completely alienates you from everyone in your life, then it may have bypassed being a hobby into an addiction. If your hobby is something you look forward to, does not affect your debt to income ratio in a negative way, and only takes up a few hours of your day throughout the week, then it’s best to embrace it. This hobby is then not only your form of stress relief, but it may even lead you to your next career.
For example, the art of snapping great photos can lead to winning photo contests and racking up a nice side income. With an emphasis on recycling and a passion for vintage re-occurring, this has become an easy landscape online to create new products out of old materials, or to hawk some valuable items of yore.
Other joys can turn to complex but rewarding hobbies. A love for music can lead to learning guitar, covering songs on YouTube, and becoming the next top content creator. Running a blog or writing fan fiction can lead to book deals, and running a fan site can gain you connections with people in the entertainment industry and show you how to spread your material to other fans online.
A passion for video games can lead to a fan creating a concept for their own video game and collaborating with others to create a beta to test on others. You could even be the next big earner on YouTube by just filming yourself playing video games!
The concept of exploring your passion and making it into a career versus the traditional education format was highlighted in 2011 when the co-founder of PayPal was selecting people to receive fellowships to not attend college and build a business. There are even personality tests that can point you in the direction of your best career path, which is a more modern version of the aptitude tests you would take in school as a kid. Come to think of it, even going to school in the 1990’s and 2000’s, I don’t think I ever had to take that test as a kid – did you?
So what does embracing your hobby and bringing it online have to do with making your career search more beneficial?
Simple – exploring and displaying your hobbies online ties back to social media, and the your hobby itself can have direct effects on your career. Participating in this relatively new online creative society that had emerged in the past two decades should not be sneered at. You are networking with others (especially if you are on LinkedIn), marketing your skills, and as long as you do this footwork in a professional manner, these are skills and accomplishments you can present to future employers.
Building your reputation online and showing that you have a passion pursued outside of work can make you a more desirable employee. It may even garner you good conversation with the person in charge of hiring that will make you stand out from the crowd.
If working for others is not your thing, there are many different ways for a driven person to become an entrepreneur online. Just remember that your paycheck is always going to come from an outside source, so be sure to always treat your audience or advertisers like your boss and use good judgement.
Finally, let’s not forget, as mentioned previously – most people will spend nearly one day of their week on social media. And there are lots of those people. Reach out to them, create material and grow an audience. Distract yourself and divert from the normal business path. Go find yourself and go find your future consumers today!
How do you distract yourself?
Tell me in the comments below…
Photo by flazingo_photos