Our hobbies used to be jobs—in many parts of the world they still are—now we're turning them into jobs again.
A wise woman once told me work is pleasure and pleasure is work.
[Insert “She’s Making Jewelry” Portlandia sketch]
But in all seriousness, I work for an entrepreneurship company that supports the Etsy store owner demographic, and I’ve seen the impact of the craft economy.
One of the common proclamations I hear is that a side hustle provided someone “freedom” and “autonomy.”
We live in a world where most of us have to work for someone or an entity. A lot of times it’s a business where you’re far removed from the customer or on the frontlines without receiving the full reward of those transactions.
Side hustles provide that slice of freedom where you’re in control of how it goes. And I think as humans (especially growing up in Western society) we strive for that special feeling of independence.
Elle I LOVE how you do what you do! Those people want to butcher your things, they don't deserve them and we will happily eat it up :) great post and viva la handcraft revolucion!!
If you turn your hobby into your "job" you may not lose your passion for it (although I imagine some people do) but you think about it differently. It becomes your business. There are expectations and obligations with a business that a hobby doesn't have, which are often not enjoyable.
I turned my hobby as a guitar player into my job, mainly teaching guitar lessons but also gigging and live-streaming. I still love playing guitar, but I don't love teaching guitar. It pays the bills, but I would gladly give it up. It a job to me. I still love gigging and live-streaming (performing) but it does feel more like my occupation than my hobby now.
I try to find opportunities to play for fun, not just for money. But once you start getting paid for your hobby, it is hard to think about it as a hobby. When you know you can earn money from a hobby, your mindset changes. It is no longer a hobby it is a business.
There is great value in a hobby that you do simply for pleasure. I believe we need to have those pure hobbies our lives. Not every hobby should be a side-hustle. Money does change things.
I think we need to do some things purely for the love of doing them. It is good for our heart, soul, and mind.
I loved this post and good for you for pulling it from a venue that didn't appreciate it. One of the key messages my father gave me growing up was not to do as he had, jettisoning his desire to teach in order to take up a middle-management job he hated. I respected why he had done so (the health benefits that really ended up keeping my other alive), but I also knew that he couldn't have been happier when I ended up with a teaching career.
I also know I was fortunate in ending up teaching up as a professor in a community college for an institution that rewarded me for that work, instead of the cut-throat publish or perish 4 year institutions I had taught in previously. But in retirement, when I took up my long deferred dream of writing historical fiction, I was equally fortunate to do this just as self-publishing took off, and that meant that I was able to turn what could have only been a "retirement hobby" into a second rewarding and profitable career.
This was a terrific piece, and while there were no surprises for me, I am very glad that you made the decision to pull it rather than allow the alternate one to be published. So Kudos to you for staying true to YOUR vision!
I live in a building that was built by a textile union for its members. It's in lower Manhattan, and it still blows my mind to think that a 1-bed with a nice big living room and a big bedroom was considered a normal apartment for a working class couple or small family. We've gone so far from dignified living standards for manual laborers in this country.
The tenement museum in NYC shows what it was like before this type of housing was provided by unions. Families of 7 or 8 would live in tiny apartments and often had a doll in the living room where the lady of the house would stitch beads onto dresses or do some kind of 'craft' work to make ends meet.
When I was 40 I moved to rural Japan to teach English and farm in the countryside. The farmers who still lived there couldn't imagine why I would want to do such a thing. It was backgreaking, thankless work and the soil and climate is not conducive to farming in Japan. I was spoiled by the black dirt and even ground in Michigan where I grew up gardening.
I'm really wary after learning about the history of the trades in NYC and my own failed experiment with getting back to the land of romanticizing that type of work. The shift from the farm to horrendous factory conditions may have happened because, as bad as they were, those dimly lit and dangerous factories were better than life on a farm.
I tend to look forward rather than back for a dignified way of life for people that's not centered on production of goods and services. I think Graeber's main point was that automation and machines offered us the chance to remove 90% of jobs altogether, and instead we created an entire ecosystem of unneccesary jobs as a way to redistribute resources. I'd love to find a vision where we center leisure rather than work in our lives and see what comes of that.
Imagine if didn't squeeze relationsips and socializing in around work. I dream of that.