Get Interested: Working “Likes” Into the Job

Turning social contacts into business is certainly possible, but what about turning social interests into business?

I <3 My Job

I once worked for a mobile gaming company as a quality assurance analyst, which means I literally sat around for 40 hours a week testing cell phone games and submitting bug reports. Short of being on Nintendo’s QA team, this position was about as ideal as it could get, given my penchant for all things gaming. I woke up every morning absolutely rapturous at the idea that I got to go to work and play video games. The hours never dragged as they did behind food counters or cash registers; I was genuinely psyched, each and every day, to go to work.

I still remember my first day. It went a little something like this:

Boss: Here’s your phone and a guide to what we look for. Have fun!
Me: This is.. for real? I get to play video games? All day? For a paycheck? ….am I on Punk’d?

It was the happiest day of my life; the saddest, of course, when I moved out of state and had to resign my position. I appreciate the experience of each job I hold, but nowhere I’ve worked yet compares to hunting zombies on a Blackberry all day.

A Working Passion

In a money-driven world, a job is necessary, but so is holding onto one’s sanity. Forcing yourself to do a job you hate merely for the money will cause inevitable stress down the line in working up the motivation to go to work. 28 million Americans face the issue of hating their jobs, scared of leaving because of the job market and bills, but trapped in a field they never expected to be in or have come to hate over the years.

It’s easy to understand, yet hard to fix. Unless we as a country engage in some sort of mass job swap, most people are going to be stuck in positions they hate for long periods of time. College graduates, luckily, have a bit of leeway: that six month grace period so generously offered by Sallie Mae means you might not have to shelve your degree for a paycheck quite so quickly. Taking the time to look for a job that has some personal relevance could be the difference between needing therapy and needing to be told “Go home, overachiever.”

Applying Obscure Interestsroyalty free to Niche Employers

I’ll admit, I have a strange interest in Japanese ???? (ParaPara) dancing. Every so often, I try to rouse up local interest in classes I would teach so that I can one day present a sparkling resume to the clubs of Japan and live out the rest of my life as a ParaPara Allstar. It’s a lofty goal, to be sure, but I’m certain my pool of competition is puddle-sized. There aren’t many folk willing to wave their arms to Eurobeat in public.

Fly your freak flag. Lady Gaga knows you were born this way, so get with it. Follow your dreams, however bizarre (and non-violent, please), and they may lead you to a job you never want to leave.

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