According to Peter Bregman in his article The Interview Question You Should Always Ask, employers should always ask job candidates “what do you do in your spare time?”
This makes perfect sense, as Bregman outlines in his article. In coaching people to do work they love, I always ask this question in some form or other. In it is the germ of an occupation. An occupation is how we spend our time – it’s come to mean how we spend our work time, yet we do occupy our time with lots of other activities. Much of our time is spent on required activity – chores, family time, community obligations. Hobbies, however, are what we CHOOSE to spend time on. Our hearts sing, our spirits come alive, time flies when we are occupied with our hobby.
Entrepreneur development programs often suggest that people turn their hobbies into a business, an income-generating proposition. This may work for some people, while for others the business aspect kills their enjoyment of the hobby. So I don’t advocate turning your hobby into your job. What I do advocate is identifying aspects of the hobby that could be part of a job you love.
Bregman uses the example of Captain Sullenberger who piloted US Airways Flight 1549 to a safe landing on the Hudson River. His main hobby? Piloting gliders. I love his quote:
Obsessions are one of the greatest telltale signs of success. Understand a person’s obsessions and you will understand her natural motivation. The thing for which she would walk to the end of the earth.
What are you really good at, naturally gravitate to, and enjoy doing? That’s the key element to find in your work. As Bregman says, someone who enjoys giving dinner parties might be a better receptionist than a committed reader.
I suggest you use this information to target jobs you are more likely to enjoy and in which you will excel. Your enthusiasm will help you differentiate yourself from the pack during the interview process.