Striking the balance when you work at your hobby

Q: I love the theatre. From an early age, I was on stage, and, in my 20s, I still take part in plays with my local amateur drama group. Alas, I’m not destined for a career on the West End.  I did business studies in college and I have recently seen  a job advertised as a marketing person with a theatre production company. I think I’d love to do it, and I know I’d be good at it. I have loads of ideas already for promoting the company in all sorts of ways. But I am worried about the whole thing of mixing work and pleasure. In other words, whither your hobby if your hobby becomes your work? Any thoughts?(JC, email).

A: It’s an interesting question. I have personal experience of what you’re talking about – and, on the whole, I’d urge you to go for the role, but to remain aware of the need for some other outlet if theatre starts to take over your life.

This job excites you. It is not easy to find jobs that do that – jobs that leave you tossing and turning at night as flashes of inspiration come to you. In company, your mid-distance stare descends as you think of just how you you’d hook in new audiences with a clever campaign.

‘We could do this, and then this, and then that…’

Marketing roles have that sense of limitless possibility. There has never been a better time to be interested in marketing, public relations, event management and jobs of that nature – technology has opened up all sorts of previously unimagined vistas.

Your videos can go viral. Your Tweets can reach behind media defences. Your Facebook posts can get people talking. Your Audioboos (if you haven’t checked out Audioboo, do) can get people listening.

The modern-day communicator has every possible skill at his fingertips – design, broadcasting, photography, blogging, and so on.

It sounds to me like you are built for marketing – the ‘loads of ideas’ line reveals it all.

Ergo, I’d be inclined to go for this job, presuming the other elements (contract, conditions, expectations, systems) stack up. When we work with passion, we go higher than we ever thought possible.

You may need to learn how to switch off so that you are not overwhelmed by the rampant fertility of your own mind. That’s where an alternative hobby might come in. A hobby – such as running or cycling – that burns off physical energy, thereby replenishing your mental energy, might be a good idea, but each to their own.

First, though, as we always say, focus on making them want you. If you have a portfolio of brochures or flyers from previous events, bring it with you to the interview.

Or, better again, if you have a personal website or blog, tell them about that in your CV. You could possibly bring your laptop to interview to show them your personal website – I don’t see why not, given that it is just a modern form of a portfolio, and portfolios have long been de rigueur in interviews.

Best of luck. Break a box office record, as the old thespian saying almost goes.