Boost Your Career With a Hobby

The things that bring you pleasure outside the office might improve your job when put to use at work.

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By definition, hobbies are activities that yield pleasure or relaxation outside of your occupation. A great hobby can make you forget about the fires at work that may require attention when you return to the office. At first thought, hobbies might not seem appropriate in the workplace. However, the right hobby can be integrated into your career, causing greater job satisfaction. The benefits for you are easy to recognize—you get paid to do something you usually enjoy doing on your own time. You may also gain a positive reputation for being good at your hobby and successfully meshing it with your career.

I integrated my love of photography into my daily job in marketing communications. I love taking pictures—and everyone knows it. I am the go-to person for photography and imagery in my department. Not only am I using my skill, which makes me personally happy; I am saving money for the company by using my own professional camera to take pictures for presentations, for stock photos, and for our intranet. I am building a portfolio of professional imagery and getting to develop myself as a photographer while having fresh imagery for my own presentations and assignments.

It's important to find the right balance when integrating a hobby with your work routine. First and foremost, your primary job responsibilities should still be your main focus area. Getting to perform your hobby while on the job is a perk, not a right. Having passion for one of your projects makes work more fun. When you're feeling uninspired, having an outlet to be creative can put you back on task.

Some hobbies that could help you at work:

If you are great with computers, you might use your skills to create a social media presence for your company, create or maintain a company website or blog, build digital work flows to improve business efficiency, train others on electronic productivity, or share tips and tricks with standard office software like Microsoft Office products.

If you are great with a camera, you might use your skills to take pictures, provide advanced creative direction for other employees or agencies, capture pictures at work events, and more.

If you are great at public speaking, you might use your skills to improve internal and external communications and relations.

If you are great at writing, you could write articles, newsletters, press releases, or blogs for your company. You might use your skills to serve as a sounding board for other employees who are less skilled at writing.

If you love to volunteer, you could use your knowledge of community activities to coordinate service activities for other employees. You could plan fundraisers and create annual events to contribute to the progress of mankind.

If you are passionate about environmental activism, you might help your company establish a better recycling program or help identify areas for improvement.

If you are a neat or very clean person, you might use your organization skills to improve the effectiveness of your desk area or communal areas. Use your inner neat freak to organize paperwork, mail, or supplies. People will be thankful, and your work environment might be more productive.

What hobbies can be integrated into your career for improved performance and increased job satisfaction?

Jennifer Robinson is a member of a two-year rotational leadership program focusing on sales and marketing for a major corporation. She is a Myers-Brigg personality type ENTJ. She blogs at Newly Corporate.

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