- Your passion shouldn’t necessarily become your full-time job.
- That’s according to career coach and ex-Googler Lindsay Gordon. An avid baker, she took a pastry-making class and learned she should keep baking as a hobby – for now.
- If she were a full-time pastry chef, she’d have to wake up early and make the same things every day, instead of getting to learn and challenge herself all the time.
- Gordon encourages clients to test out their passion on a small scale and see if they would still enjoy it as a job.
I’ve had more than one friend tell me recently that they’d like to open a bakery.
They love baking; they’re good at it – why not ditch the corporate world and go all-in on their passion?
Ask Lindsay Gordon and she’ll rattle off a number of potential reasons why not. Gordon runs career-coaching company A Life of Options; she previously worked at Google, most recently as a career development and team culture program manager. In the past few years, Gordon has confronted head-on this question around whether to make her passion (specifically for baking – it seems to be a common theme) her job.
Gordon loves to bake and she’s quite adept at it, too – so much so that people are constantly urging her to become a professional baker.
As she describes in a blog post on her website, in 2016 Gordon took a five-day pastry class at the San Francisco Baking Institute. “I’ve never had more fun in my life,” she writes. But at the end of the course, it was pretty clear to her that she didn’t want to be a professional pastry chef.
Gordon realized that what she loved about the class were the opportunity to learn, as well as the constant challenge and novelty. But she wouldn’t necessarily get those things from a career as a pastry chef. More likely, she’d be starting her day around 3 a.m., making the same types of pastries over and over again.
Gordon told me she learned a key lesson from this experience – one she draws on when coaching clients who are looking for the next step in their career. “I love encouraging people to test it out and try it,” she told me. “What’s the smallest way you can go test out something that excites you?”
The idea, she added, is that you’re having fun and exploring, landing somewhere between 0% (not pursuing your passion at all) and 100% (turning your hobby into a job).
Timing is key when considering whether to turn your hobby into a full-time job
Over on TopResume, Natalia Autenrieth advises readers that if they want to pursue their passion for, say, art as their full-time job, “You may need to compromise the kind of art that you make, show up earlier than you would like, and do the selling. Does the thought of that drain you?”
And on Glassdoor, Heather Huhman suggests that readers think carefully about timing: “Map out what kind of time frame you would need to get things up and running and take your personal life into consideration. If you’re getting married, buying a house, attempting to pay off student loans or credit card debt, making a risky career transition may not be the best at this time.”
As for Gordon, she’s careful to note that one day, she may in fact want to open her own bakery or become a full-time baker. At that point, she could design a job based on what she’s learned about herself. In the blog post, she writes that she might open a pop-up bakery that sold one thing every day, so she could try her hand at new recipes.
Now, when well-meaning friends and family tell Gordon (as if they’re the first one to think it!) that she should open a bakery, she can say with confidence: “I appreciate you thinking that and here’s the reason why I don’t think that would be a good fit for me right now, based on what I know.”