Hobby, Interest and Entertainment – Differentiating for Employability

Sometimes my thoughts appear to be radical and offending to some people. I agree that difference of opinion exists and I will move on.

My basic education was in my mother tongue. My mother tongue is not English. So this blog may not be syntactically great.
As part of my long career in IT and as an Entrepreneur I have seen few hundred resumes that I was forced to screen and recruit. I see lot of youngsters from India cut and paste their resume from other resumes and sometime fill certain unwanted information into the resume. Lot of times that information conveys the interviewing person about candidate’s innocence or lack of common sense.

Let us look at the Hobbies column being filled by many fresh graduates. I have seen a big list of hobbies that includes Playing Cricket, Watching Cricket, Watching Movies, Watching TV Serials, Playing Video Games, Internet Browsing, Cooking, Painting, Reading etc. If you look at this list you can blindly argue that all of them are Hobbies or we can put some serious thinking into it.
Put a question to yourself, why does a company want to know about your hobby!! what does it convey to the interviewer and how does he evaluate you on that.
A hobby typically conveys self learning ability of a person. If a person is learning Painting, he might have acquired some knowledge and practice out of his academic curriculum. But he continued developing his ability on his own by reading about painting and by practicing painting. This kind of a person understands how difficult or easy it is to learn a new activity or a new concept. If required there is a higher chance that he attempts to learn a new concept on his own or learn a new skill on his own. And companies desperately require this quality. Because they cannot teach or train a new employee on what they require because Technology is changing at an ever fast pace.

So how do we differentiate between Hobby and Entertainment. It is simple to differentiate. Simple logic is “are you creating something” or “are you consuming something created by another person”. For example if you have created a new music tune or you practiced singing a song and sing it well – it is creation. You have put all your efforts to fine tune your voice and from the raw voice you bring a nice song that others can listen and entertain themselves. That is creation. And every one has a voice but you have taken extra interest and tried fine tuning it, tried understanding the lyrics and remembered the lyrics. And also practiced to replicate the way the song was designed and recorded.

Let us say you listen to music, then you are consuming music created by another person. Then you are entertaining yourself. Let us say you are watching a movie – your eyes, ears and mind is consuming a movie created by someone. So it is entertainment. Let us say you enjoy eating good food, you are consuming food created and prepared by someone else. So you are entertaining yourself.
But if you enjoy cooking wide variety of food, then it is a hobby. Your mind experiments food in different restaurants and your hobby pushes you to prepare the same food at your home. That is a hobby. Your mind is working creatively and your mind is sharpening A hobby challenges you to concentrate your mind and energies to organize, learn and create something.

Most of the times a good hobby relaxes body since you get an exceptionally good concentration when you are creating something because you like doing it. And you are doing on your own without any one pestering you at the back. Because you are doing it out of your interest.
Some people might argue by consuming also I can learn something etc. But consuming is something anyone can do and it does not require a will and self motivation to do it. Mostly it does not require an effort on you to consume something. As long as you have your five senses in good condition, you can consume things. So there is nothing great you are offering to yourself, your family and your probable new company if you are good at consuming and entertaining yourself.
That is the reason a 3 year old kid can consume and an old man of 80 years can consume. An young man can consume and an young woman can consume. A successful person can consume and a street beggar can consume. A well educated person can consume and a villager who is an illiterate can consume. There is no bar to consume.
So a person who has a hobby and is trying to create something, is directly communicating to us that he rejects or he has the ability to reject the temptation of the same consumption opportunities that he gets like watching TV, watching movies, watching etc etc.

Companies are here to create something useful for others and sell others who consume, so a consuming person is of no use. They only require some one who can organize or create something. And for creating and organizing you need will, motivation and attitude. And that is communicated by your Hobby and Interest.

Now let us put a question what is this “interest”. An interest is something which may stay longer and you continue to pursue much longer than a hobby. For example I like politics, history and religion. So I have been reading many books on these topics. I dont know how and when the interest will help me but the interest keeps me in reading, acquiring knowledge and discussing etc. And sometimes it may help me in regularly practising.
When I was a kid I used to collect stamps. That was a hobby. I collected them, stored them in hardbound books and adored them and fascinated by them for few years. Whenever i go to my relative’s houses, I used to check if there are any old letters from which I can take used stamps. Or whenever a new stamp is being released I used to check with the main post office if the “First Day Cover” is available for the stamp and I used to pay little premium to buy it. Even though I dont know what type of a country is Mangolia, I used collect Mangolia stamps as they used to have the best Space related stamps. But I could not continue after 10th class my stamp collection. At a later point of time I picked up Coin Collection. But after sometime my stamp collection became a history and coin collection too. But my interest in History, Religion and Politics continued even today. I used to read about Indira Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Gandhi during my school days. Today I read geo politics and current politics and world politics. My interest continued.
So an interest will basically inspires you and motivates you to know more about that subject and understand the latest things in that subject. You can observe that if you like a Hero or Heroine, you will try to see the new movie faster than others. And you will try to see it multiple times. Similarly if you have interest, you follow that terms that are associated with the subject, you will try to read the new about that subject etc.

We can also argue that How collection of stamps is a hobby? Since you are consuming stamps others created. But it has given me some skills. As a kid due to my obsession with stamp collection, I used to befriend with the post man and ask him who got a new stamp in the street. Shamelessly I used to go to that house and used to ask that uncle about the stamp. They used to laugh and encourage give me the stamp without any hesitation. Even my teachers used to call me and offer me any new stamp that comes to their post box. So a hobby gives some skill. I know you might get an idea that by consuming also you may acquire some skills. If your mind is encouraging such thoughts I want you to refer my first sentence of this post.
We need to understand a hobby gives opportunities to interact with the practical world with a purpose outside your academics and family and friends.

Now how does it help in my employability if I know the difference between hobby, interest and entertainment. When the interviewers ask a fresh graduate why did you apply for this job, you tend to say I am very much interested in IT field that is the reason I applied for it. Now you put a question to your self, if you are interested in a job in IT, what extra effort you have put on the so called “Interest”. Have you acquired latest knowledge about that interest or have you tried building or picking up a hobby in that area.
So what is that extra effort that you put to confidently say that you have an “interest” in this field. That extra effort matters a lot for getting that job without depending on your luck.
Do you know the latest Operating Systems that have come in the IT?
Do you know the latest programming language that has come in the IT ?
Do you know the new features or the difference between the old one and new ones.?
Have you tried exploring them and see how easy or difficult it is to work on them?
So you have a higher chance of getting your first job if you build your interest in the field you are planning to have a career rather than putting up your entertainment as your hobbies. Your employability index will go up if you understand this simple difference and prepare well in advance during your education for building your interest.

So by the simple understanding of the difference between Hobby, Interest and Entertainment and building a good interest improves your employability.

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