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Feb 6 / Carissa Bell

Career Tips: Examine Your Pastimes and Hobbies

Examine Your Pastimes and Hobbies

Career planning provides a great time also to examine the activities you like doing when you are not working or in school. It may sound a bit odd, to examine the things you like to do for fun, but it’s not. On average workers in the United States will spend approximately 90,000 hours working over their lifespans. Since that equates to at least one-third of a person’s waking hours, wouldn’t you want your work to be enjoyable? So, why not start your career planning by exploring the careers that surround your favorite activities? You may just find inspiration and viable career options.

Think you can’t make a hobby into a career? People do it all the time. The great painter Paul Gauguin was a successful businessperson who painted on the side. It actually wasn’t until he was encouraged by an artist he admired to continue painting that he finally took a serious look at his hobby and decided he should change careers. He was good a business, but his love was painting. More recently, Diana Gabaldon, best-selling author of the Outlander series has her Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology and according to her bio “spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation” when she wrote her first Outlander novel “for practice.”

Many times your hobbies and leisurely pursuits can give you great insight into future career paths. For example if you like to read, there are several career paths within law, media, education and publishing that require professionals to be well-read to keep current in their field. As you explore, though, challenge yourself to go beyond the obvious. Just because you like sports or performing arts, does not mean you are cut out to be successful in those fields. There are so many more options (that make a very decent living) between the starving artist and superstar! You owe it to yourself to check them out! So, the next time you are out enjoying your favorite pastimes, try these activities:

  • Interview a new person each time to learn more about different career pathways first-hand.
  • Brainstorm and record the jobs you see – be sure to include the peripheral and supporting jobs along with the primary careers.
  • Check out related industries and occupations online at O*NET or on job boards

For more career exploration ideas, visit or contact Career Services at or (313) 577-3390 to schedule an appointment with a Career Planning Counselor.


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