I urged our readers to pick up a hobby at the beginning of the summer, and this blog comes from a similar place, since both assert that we need to do something we find interesting, whether it’s work or outside work. Creative satisfaction is super important for us as human beings, but especially for us as professional geeks. Constantly increasing our skills and knowledge is part of what motivates us. How can we be creatively satisfied and also have a job? Let's find out!
What is being creatively satisfied?
It’s the powerful feeling that we’re achieving something by using our brain and our talent. We’ve all felt creative satisfaction at some point, and knowing where we find it is such an important thing to discover for oneself.
Is it more important than being paid?
This is the dilemma, right? It’s the most common would you rather question -- Would you rather be paid well to do a job you hate or be barely compensated for a job you love? It may seem like a lame answer, but it depends on a lot of factors, including personality and where you are in your life. According to a quote on The Telegraph, a person who is single and also driven may be totally satisfied working constantly in order to make as much money as they can. A person with a family may feel trapped at their job, even if they love it. Legendary ad-man Leo Burnett insisted that his clients and employees must have an unwavering dedication to creative satisfaction over the pursuit of money. It’s hard to say if being creatively satisfied is always more important than a paycheck, since the answer is very individual, but across the board, people seem to require creative satisfaction from one source or another, whether or not it’s work.
Can you be creatively fulfilled through your job?
The Telegraph article that I quoted earlier points out that even interesting careers can wind up feeling like status quo, and an article from Fortune says that being happy in your career requires progress, challenges, stability, autonomy, and community. The answer, then, is that yes, you can be creatively fulfilled by your job, but it needs to meet a few checkpoints. As I mentioned in the intro, I feel that as geeks, we need to have our jobs always evolve and teach us new things. For me, struggling with monotony is the hardest thing to deal with. A job that is the same every day drains me quickly, but if I’m constantly learning and improving, then I will find myself creatively satisfied.
Do you NEED to be creatively satisfied from your job?
Tina Essmaker at The Great Discontent mentions in this Q&A that no, you don’t need to derive creative satisfaction from your job, and that it’s a dangerous expectation to set for your career. She quotes Illustrator and designer, Sara Blake, “You’re going to have to do certain things to make money and certain things to fulfill yourself creatively and they’re not always the same thing, so don’t freak out. Make lots of work; the work speaks for itself.” She goes on to bring up what we’re super into here at Professional Geek; the transferable skills! Your creative endeavors outside of work always can eventually wind up in your career, but it’s more important to do what you’re interested in outside of work, simply for your enjoyment of it.
Do you need to have a hobby?
My position on hobbies is well established; I think that having a hobby is essential. I’m not the only person with this position. I googled “Do I need to have a hobby” and found thousands of listicles with names like “5 reasons you should get a new hobby.” They all agree that having a hobby gives structure to your life, makes you a more interesting person, boosts your social life, and can even advance your career. My favorite post was from Buzzfeed; 17 Hobbies To Try If You Suck At Hobbies, discusses both fun, creative hobbies like calligraphy, and less skilled yet equally creative hobbies like organizing a book club. I think that it’s important to acknowledge that some people have difficulty with creative or crafty hobbies, and that’s ok too. You can get creative fulfillment in many many places, if you seek it out. Ultimately, most sources seem to agree that having a hobby is the healthiest space to seek out creative satisfaction.
Can I turn my hobby into a job? Are people whose hobbies are their jobs creatively satisfied?
It can be; we’re really into finding hobbies that can teach you new and useful skills that can be either used or translated to a career. However, remember what Max Temkin said in his episode: he would often start projects with his friends because they sounded fun, and would wind up feeling like a new job. I know that every time I’ve been asked to photograph a party that I’m otherwise excited to attend, it winds up feeling like I’m not enjoying either the photography or the party. Whether or not people whose hobbies turn into their jobs are creatively satisfied is too broad of a question to answer with a simple yes or no. It depends on personality, nature of the workplace, and countless other factors. A search for the keyword “Dream job” turns up lots of cynical results that generally suggest that the “Dream job” is a myth, and even if it is acquired it often disappoints. “Dream job” and “hobby” are two different things, but I think it can really go either way. Lots of people have hobbies to specifically have something to do that isn’t work, and for those people, having to mix the two would be a nightmare. It’s OK if that turns out to be the case, and it’s ok if you want to keep the separate! Learning lessons from your hobbies, though, and applying them to your career should never be discouraged, no matter what you decide.
How much does your current job scratch your itch to be creative? What has been your favorite job you've ever had? Do you have a unique hobby and what skills have you learned from it? Lets talk about it over at Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to subscribe and listen to our latest episode; our season premier, where our executive producer and host, Blaire, discusses her goals for this podcast and her proudest professional moments!