A new language for work, hobbies and meaning?

Do we need a new way of thinking about meaning in our lives, in work and in play?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Jonathan Wynn writing on hobbies, “Ghost Work” and identity:

Here’s something I wish we had a language for, both culturally and sociologically: the side activities that don’t really pay the bills but that, importantly, enrich lives, giving meaning and value to them. When I studied tour guides, most of them did the work as a side hustle and a hobby. I found that this was often a gig that brought in some money, yet satisfied an intellectual and creative supplement to their more (in their words) “ho-hum lives.” It was a hobby that happened to pay a little.

The intersection of work and hobbies is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. At three distinct points of my life I’ve turned things that were hobbies into my career — or at least part of it.

I acknowledge that I’ve been phenomenally lucky (he says, typing this at 36,000 feet, somewhere over the Atlantic), but the interplay of work, life and hobbies has been crushed by the steamroller of startup culture in recent years — is it any wonder that the products of that philosophy haven’t always been good for us?


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.