Hustling hobbies from passion to pressure

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Whether your hobby is painting, embroidering, or collecting stamps, you don’t need an Etsy store to validate how you spend your time.

Slate recently published a piece about “hustle culture,” which pushes young people to monetize their passions. The current rise-and-grind generation has been raised by adults who want their children to build their careers doing what they love.

This can take many forms, from selling cross-stitching on commission to turning a love of knitting into a designer label. Profiting from what you love can be a tremendously positive endeavour.

Satisfaction in your professional life goes a long way toward personal happiness. Young people today struggle with millennial burnout as a result of their obsession with achievement and competition.

Constant pressure to turn your time and energy into LinkedIn entries can funnel time away from passions and skills that bring people relaxation.

If a person can earn an income from activities they enjoy—whether it serves as their main income source or a side hustle—they may find themselves more satisfied and empowered by their professional accomplishments, facing less risk of burnout.

However, while many are lucky enough to turn their hobbies into work, it’s unrealistic for every person to do so, and that expectation should be moderated.

The habit of turning hobbies into full-time work shows passion and creativity. But it also shows increasing economic precarity for youth. People are being driven to become self-made entrepreneurs, but not everybody can reach Elon Musk’s level of success.

Some hobbies are more profitable than others. Not every person will be successful selling their wares in the same way not every start-up or business concept will be successful.

Monetizing our spare time can be dangerous. It encourages a culture of relentless busyness that can strip the joy from hobbies in a person’s pursuit of financial success. An artist forced to only paint family portraits on commission might be taking time, energy, and resources away from subjects that inspire them.

We should better appreciate the boundary between workplace responsibilities and leisure activities. When you feel forced to blur the line between the two, your work can become your life and you might begin to dread what you love.

Efficiency doesn’t have to be the bottom line. Our hobbies aren’t only worth our time when they’re financially productive.

Instead of measuring happiness by paystubs alone, we need to remember the purpose of hobbies: keeping people fulfilled, creative, and balanced.

Not every stress-baker needs to open a bakery. Turning your passion into profit should be seen as an option, not a rule. 

—Journal Editorial Board

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