Why hobbies, crafts & side projects are vital to our lives. Day jobs don’t define us, do work that does.


office use this oneI heard him say, “I am going upstairs to get my two cents in. They have to know why I want overtime.” It struck me as funny. Everyone was running around and fretting. As if in the end of our lives this moment in time would have any meaning. In what business book does proper communication include an impromptu getting your two cents in anyway?

The week was crazy and stressful and it is my job. I understand the importance of accomplishing the mission, achieving goals, and getting ahead in my career. Heck, I am in the middle of a mid-life career transition and am an intern working on my MBA. I understand the need to get ahead in the corporate world, but is that what my life is. Is that who I am? No, it’s not.

A part of me is spreadsheets, processes, business savvy, office politics (when I have to), meetings, documents, and climbing the corporate ladder. I have yet to escape it, but what type of insanity would tell me that this is who I am and that I should get so engrained in my work that I let it drive me to drink, take a pill, visit a counselor, have an affair, neglect my children, and generally live in perpetual stress because of what happens at work.

It’s almost comical. I let my baroque music channel on Pandora play as I smiled and completed my data entry. I could hear and watch the chaos in the office. Everyone was worried, upset, and running around and it suddenly becomes the most amusing scene of my life. Their work had become their life and the slightest change caused a major disruption. Ahh!!! You aren’t messing with their work, you are messing with thier life.

To think I have wanted to be a part of that. In my recent career transition I have been looking for a job that I believed in and that I could pour myself into. What madness, what delusion. I want a good job and work that I enjoy and I do want to help an organization accomplish goals, but that is and will never be me. I am so much more. I am not the sum total of what I do in your office building.

And so…..

And so we must be us. We must pour ourselves into something that is inherent in who we are. Something that gives us the freedom to use our imagination, create, breathe, run, dive, drive, and explore. Something that let’s us use the parts that are hidden. The talents that have yet to be exposed. Because we are so much more. Aren’t we?

And so we must stoke our creative life no matter what that may be. We need a hobby, a craft, a side project.

We may cook.
We may sing.
We may draw.
We may write.
We may fish.
We may fabricate.
We may DJ.
We may______, you fill in the blank.

Some are able to merge the two worlds. What I need to do with what I want to do. They find a way to merge their talents with a position that allows them to be inherently who they are, but for so many the two worlds do not coexist.

So create a life after work that allows you to. I could get really upset during the day when things at work don’t go well. When rumors become too big to ignore, when I can no longer avoid the office gossip, when the boredom is more than I can take, when my inherent talents and dreams are squashed by the need for a weekly paycheck.

I go to work to earn a paycheck, but what I really do is write, I read, I collect, I decorate, I volunteer at nonprofits, I impact lives, I paint, I organize, I cook, and I create. That’s who I am. The chaos of the day will come, but it’s not an attack on my personhood it’s a bump in the road.

Create a great life. You are so much more than the 9-5. Develop a hobby, do a craft, or start a side project that will allow you to be who you really are and let it take you away from the chaos of this world. May it be the thing that you really do and the thing that allows the hidden parts of you to shine.

Marcy Pedersen


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