When you’re looking to change careers, and are not sure what the future could look like you might be asked, ‘what did you enjoy doing when you were a kid?’ This is a question which is supposed to help provide ideas as to what you might be drawn to now. I have tried this question on myself and found it about as useful as the one which asks ‘if money were no object what would you do? Answer – more of the same!’.
I can remember spending hours climbing tree’s, being inspired by the 1972 Olympics, practising my handstands, forward rolls and flick flacks etc. I built camps in haystacks and hedgerows, picked bluebells and primroses. I coloured in, I drew a bit. I recollect lots of walking, skipping and running and I also learned to cook, knit and sew.
But most of all I remember being bored a lot of the time – I lived in the country with few friends nearby to play with. To combat the boredom, I developed a love of reading. When I wasn’t outside, I read my way through any amount of fiction, ‘faction’ and nonfiction. I read everything from encyclopaedias (oh yes, I found these fascinating) to Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree and 5 go to Kirrin Island. I graduated from these to Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Dennis Wheatley, Alistair Maclean, the list goes on and on and on….
I still do all these things (well not the gymnastics obviously! Although I do walk quite a lot with my dog). Taken on their own, these hobbies and pastimes are not terribly useful indicators of possible career options. For me to be able to gain anything really useful from this exercise I will need to dig deeper and consider what internal ‘needs’ these hobbies satisfy within me both in the past and currently. What was/is it about cooking, sewing, knitting that makes me want to do them? Why do I still read so much (Kindle Unlimited is a god send for me as I can easily get through 3 or 4 books per week)?
In truth, the reading list is still eclectic, it still includes the labels on sauce bottles and the like when I’m eating alone, however generally the choice of genre is dependent on my mood – fiction provides an escape from virtually everything; nonfiction fulfils the desire to learn more (intellectual curiosity). Making food and wearable garments fulfils two needs in me ‘creativity’ and ‘caring for self and others.’ But what about the tree climbing, camp building, handstands? Well that’s about needing to be ‘physically active’. The other common theme running through these activities is the need to practise so that I can ‘be the best I can be’ at whatever it is I am doing.
To be truly satisfied in any aspect of your life your deepest needs must be met. So, whilst my hobbies don’t in themselves indicate an obvious career choice this question has very quickly produced a short list of needs which must be met and a job or career which meets some or all of these will be much more rewarding than one that doesn’t.