Get A Hobby, Get Better At Your Job
9:45 am, April 23rd | by Sarah Devlin
Sarah: Okay, let’s rap. Jezebel reported on this slightly dorky article found that belonging to a choir makes people feel less stressed.
As a former high school choir nerd, I remember the experience being FRAUGHT with TENSION, but maybe it’s different in adulthood. I don’t know.
Colette: You were in a high school choir? Wow. I love this; I feel like an archaeologist, just uncovering your embarrassing, poorly hidden layers.
Sarah: “POORLY HIDDEN”? I beg your pardon.
Colette: Also, I was in a high school choir! I sang tenor because I have the voice of a man! WE’RE SISTERS!
Colette: Well, it’s not like you’ve taken up on my offers to start an after-work music crew called The Blazers…but that’s for another day.
Hobbies: you want ‘em. You got ‘em? Go get ‘em.
Sarah: I think that having something outside of work that you’re into is SUPER important.
Colette: They’re good for the worker’s soul! Far better than an anthology of short stories and slam poems! (I’m looking at you, Chicken Soup For The… franchise!)
Sarah: Even if you have the best job ever in a field that you love.
Colette: Absolutely! It’s easy to feel solely defined by your job — oftentimes, it’s the second or third question you answer about yourself. “What do you do?”
Sarah: Uuuugh, I try so hard not to ask people that question.
Colette: I hate that question!
Sarah: I find it SUPER obnoxious.
Colette: What does it even mean? What is it supposed to say about a person? It’s so limiting. Our sense of self-worth gets tied up with what we get paid to do.
Sarah: Well it’s also just rude, I think, because some people will be like “I’m a teacher!” and other people will be like “I’ve been unemployed for 18 months, F*@& you very much!” You never know.
At any rate, what do YOU do outside of work/on the weekends?
Colette: Haha oh man, what if I have a really bizarre hobby that I shouldn’t share with our readers, like recreating scenes from House with Real Dolls?
I mean, I DON’T. I don’t even watch House! Rest easy, folks!
Colette: Well, since our jobs are so computer-centric and a tad isolating — we’re cooped up with technology all day like the guys who worked in the I.T. department in my high school (I hated those guys…but that’s a story for another day) — a lot of the things I do outside of work are pretty performative or social. I’m on an improv team; I’m writing a play with a friend (“WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD — WHAT’S YO DREAM?” – Guy from Pretty Woman)…
Those are cool!
Colette: I sometimes build mobiles…and that’s not a joke!
Colette: I’m laughing at myself right now.
I FEEL VULNERABLE.
Yeah, my friend and I collect driftwood and things from beaches and Coney Island and make mobiles out of them. We have a craft box. It’s a thing. What are your hobbies, Sarah? Please tell me quickly before I go hide in my craft box, red with shame.
Sarah: No those are so cool! My view of work is that, even though writing is what I’ve wanted to do basically my entire life, I have to have other things going on. Otherwise, I’m just constantly drawing from the same well of creative energy every day and it doesn’t get replenished, no matter how much I like the work I’m doing.
Sarah: So in my off hours I exercise a TON and cook a lot. Those are probably the main things.
Colette: She really does exercise a ton, Doughnuts. I can’t handle it.
Sarah: It’s medicine! I swear.
Colette: You’re the office Jillian Michaels. That’s probably inaccurate. I don’t know. She is the only fitness guru I know.
Sarah: She’s the only one you need to know. She’s perfection.
Colette: But you’re right, it’s important to find affirmation, validation and feedback from different channels, even if you love your job.
Sarah: I think that one of the side effects of work life bleeding into personal life is that there’s way less time for hobbies.
Colette: Yeah, and you have a less varied identity. Instead of cook, crafter, painter, and entrepreneur, you are just an entrepreneur. That’s all that you are invested in and all that you draw your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment from.
Sarah: Right! It’s like putting all your eggs in one basket, emotionally.
Colette: Ooh, nice analogy. You can also draw inspiration and creativity from your hobbies and use it in your work. It’s important to get a fresh perspective and to engage different parts of the ol’ noggin.
Colette: And with logic like that, you can justify spending time on your hobbies (not that you should feel the need to justify spending time on yourself) by calling it work! Everyone wins, even the workaholics!
Sarah: And for some people their hobbies lead to different careers…
Colette: And that’s always exciting! Even Science says we’re right: this New York Times article talks about how hobbies can make you think more clearly and sharpen your focus.
Sarah: Yes! And I think this is where companies like Google might get it wrong — places with gyms and all kinds of amenities designed to get people to spend way more time in the office. People have to have identities outside of work for the health of their companies.
Colette: Being solely defined by your job only increases your chances of experiencing burnout. In the immortal words of Stacie Orrico, “There’s gotta be more to life.”
Sarah: In conclusion, adult choir nerds should feel free to continue to get down with their bad, stress-free selves.
Colette: If only we were with an adult choir right now. They could play us out with a rousing round of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah!
Sarah: OOH. Good call. We’ll have to settle for YouTube.
Sarah: (Please tell me you clicked the link and are listening to it right now.)
Colette: (Of course I am. I’m into 4-D experiences.)
Sarah: Please tell me you are reliving every holiday concert from your formative years. Please tell me you are picturing yourself wearing choir robes right now.
Colette: Holding taper candles.
Sarah: I’m getting emotional. How is your stress level?
KING OF KIIIIIIIIIINGS
Colette: Well, I was feeling great until I realized that I replaced all of my own holiday concert memories with the scene of Macaulay Culkin singing in his school’s choir in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York.
Sarah: That checks out. I’m fine with it.
Colette: Turns out I never punched my cousin Buzz after singing my solo or caused the accompanist to be knocked out by a falling set piece in the ensuing melee…I don’t even HAVE a cousin Buzz. #TRAUMA
[Photo via Shutterstock]