EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The importance of hobbies

I once worked for a division president who wouldn’t hire anyone who didn’t have a hobby. His theory was that your brain couldn’t be active and productive if you didn’t have something to think about other than work.

While he admired those with “fire in their belly,” he was a man with hobbies. The two I remember best were road rallies and running.

The road rally hobby was an interesting one. As I recall, he participated in the macho class where all you were allowed was a stop watch and a clipboard. The theory as I understood it was that you had to arrive at your destination and at several check points at a very specific time. Being able to keep track in his mind how much he was up or down in seconds made him a formidable negotiator during our budget trimming exercises. While I had to rely on my calculator, he did all the figuring in his head. Not that he was always right, but it was a great mental test and high entertainment.

Knowing you have a passion for something softens your edges and makes you a more approachable person. And, hopefully, it gives you something to look forward to during your leisure hours. If you have no outside interests, I don’t think retirement is for you.

While I have never gotten into golf, it appears to be a wonderful and very social game. Tennis also appears to be a good way to get some exercise and build friendships.

One of my hobbies for many years was fine scale modeling. It was absorbing, although not very social. I actually haven’t had the time for it in recent years. That said I had a delightful conversation a few years ago with one of our members in Boston who is currently a very active modeler.

Hobbies, even if you aren’t currently active in them, give you something to talk about. Like so many other things in this world, such as talking about your children or grandchildren, they provide you with easy ways of relating to others.

If someone tells me about their hobbies, it provides me with insights about who they are and how they see life.

I often see hobbies listed on resumes. Here is one place you have to be careful. While I believe it is important to hiring a “complete” person, you don’t want to list hobbies like reading or walking on the beach because they might put the wrong spin on your intensity at work.

Just thought I would pass along this random thought tonight. If any of you would like to share how your hobby or hobbies have helped you in the world of work, do send your thoughts along to Leads@TheFENG.org and we will publish them under our Notes from Members column.

I would enjoy hearing how others feel about this topic.

Regards, Matt

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