Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's Your Hobby?

I had a phone interview today for a job that sounds promising and interesting but I was thrown by two questions: 1) how do I deal with difficult people and 2) what are my hobbies.

The "dealing with difficult people" question was tough because I had to be honest - I don't thrive in environments where difficult people are tolerated and I only suffer fools up to a point. I see it as disrespectful and cowardly when a difficult employee or employer is allowed free reign to make the lives of others miserable. I went on some ramble about the television commercials I saw for "Kell on Earth" and how I didn't understand how her employees thought it was a thriving environment... I hope the interviewer appreciated my grasp on popular culture. (Surprisingly, this didn't seem to do me in but who knows.)

I have always grappled with the hobby question, even as a kid. I remember being asked about my hobbies in class, or staring down at some form where I was asked to fill in my hobbies. I was often confused as to what the definition was - is a hobby any activity that you do for fun? Is it something you do in your spare time? Is it just any activity you do? I don't think running or swimming are hobbies. I don't consider cooking a hobby either. Therefore, I was always on the search for an Official Hobby - the one thing I was really passionate about and dedicated to. A hobby to me had to be something like gardening, collecting, crafting, model trains, radio-related, or drawing. As a kid, my only hobbies I felt were legit were drawing, reading and science/astronomy.

However, when the interviewer asked I blurted out, "the internet." I have often said, in a self-deprecating and joking way, that the internet is my hobby but, it actually is. I spend so much time online reading, writing, researching, playing, talking, tooling around, - it's something I enjoy, especially researching. I was an amazing researcher prior to the internet - making great use of my encyclopedia and the library's reference desk. Seemed like no one my age knew that you could utilize the ref desk; Librarians often took me behind their desks to show me which books to pull and how to get the information I was looking for and I would linger for a while watching them (and no one knew you could call up and they would help you over the phone, and walk you through what they were doing). It was a great advantage, but one that I didn't put to great use grade-wise. I just liked knowing random things and looking things up - my parents were forever telling me to "look it up" (and it's why you want me on your trivia team). This little internet hobby of mine has served me well in collecting, with genealogy, with my job, and with satisfying my general thirst to look things up and get caught up in it. (Tangent: As a kid I was obsessed by science and the BBC series "Connections" and "The Day the Universe Changed." If you know these series and know of James Burke, this would explain a lot about where this passion and love for research comes from. James Burke... I still want to be like this guy.)

When the interviewer asked me what other hobbies I had my mind went blank. No, actually it went back to my childhood rigid assumption of what a hobby was and then it went back to a month ago when I was searching Hunch for a hobby and found nothing I liked so then I said "reading," my most consistent hobby. When I got off the phone, I realized I had a bunch of other hobbies like: all the trivia I've been playing on xbox live , collecting Automat memorabilia, exploring the outdoors, the 365 Project could be considered a hobby even.

I just researched hobbies and found this quiz. Surprise, my hobby is Technology. If you want to play around with finding a new hobby, I think Hunch is a great resource to get the ideas flowing (and I'm going to play around with it some more when I'm done with this post!).

So, what are your hobbies? Do you have the same ones from when you were a kid? What do you do when you want to discover a new hobby?


Lori said...

Yes, what are my hobbies? I was looking through Hunch and I laughed at the classic film buff con - yes, you would become absolutely annoying. So, no.

I actually have a huge interest in paper craft, but mostly to see and not do myself. Which I'd like to change - less museums and more working on my own projects.

I wish I was a gardener, but I'm dumb around bugs and worms. I'm hoping this year I can plant a few things and go from there.

Swing dancing was always an interest, that and beatboxing (jk)...

When I was younger I loved chess (but really only as a means to have a drink with a guy and then beat him at a game).

Nowadays, it's cooking and hiking and arts/crafts. Who knows? I never seems to stick to a hobby. It changes every 4-5 years...

vivzan said...

@Lori, I too like the paper crafting. I learned some things at Etsy's free craft night ( like making a rolling ball book out of paper and matchbook valentine's out of card stock. I found working with paper a lot more enjoyable than the other labs concerning fabric.

Do you like origami?

I like gardening. I always thought I had a black thumb, but I planted stuff on the roofdeck this year. Squirrels were my major threat, though. I rather deal with bugs and worms! :)

I think you should pursue the human beatbox hobby.:p

Chelc said...

Well, despite the quiz being very obvious with their questions, I followed through and - surprise! I'm "creative" with possible hobbies in "sketching, photography, sculpting, playing an instrument, singing, journaling, scrap-booking or designing clothing". So at least I know I'm doing what I should be enjoying!

I hate having that question thrown at me too. I always felt I had to have something athletic on there, but something out of the ordinary as well to catch attention. So things that I don't do much with but am still interested in (like whitewater rafting and firefighting) end up on the list, when really I end up spending more time crafting or playing video games - or, like you, I love surfing the Internet! And reading is an old standby, but people always seem so bored by that. This is why I never put that on my resume anymore - seems odd that they would ask you that in an interview as well, but I guess that's how they try to gauge people's personalities. Hope the interviewer liked your answers!

vivzan said...

@chelc - the athletic thing always stumped me. I considered sports to be separate from a hobby. Except for golf. That's a hobby!

I think my answer to the difficult person question revealed my TV "hobby!" :p

Firefighting? Did you do that? I think that deserves a blog post!

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