Profan Career Ambiguity

There's a peculiar ambiguity to turning your hobby into your career, the life of the progeek, profane, and protaku.

Work and hobby fuse.  What we love to do and what we do for money are fused and seemingly impossible to separate.  What we do at home teaches us lessons to use on the job, what we do on the job gives us new ideas for our hobbies.

Co-workers and friends become hard to define.  You hang out with co-workers because you understand each other's unique experiences.  You introduce friends to your industry due to shared interests.

Casual reading?  What exactly is that when what you read for fun also gives you ideas for work?

You get the idea.

So when we, the profans and progeeks, look at our lives and careers, we ask ourselves "what is hobby, what is job" in that vague quest to figure out just where the division is.  Maybe we're compelled to find the division so we can relax more, or work harder, or just because we figure we ought to know where the division is.

Here's what I've found: stop looking.

The ambiguity between hobby and job is not a problem in the profan lifestyle – it's a feature.  The ambiguity is what makes you a hobbyist-turned pro, a working geek, a protaku.  You can't find a separation point because there isn't one.

When you do what you love as a career, what you're really doing is finding a way to connect the different parts of your life together.  At times things are more "recreational", at times more "professional" but at all times it's about your life – one giant, wriggling, connected mass of you, your past, and your future.

If you could pick it to pieces, then your life would not be unified.  If you could divide it up you probably wouldn't be that working geek or successful fan because then your life would be composed of several separate pieces, and your passions and interests would be constrained.  Sure that's not the case for everyone who turns what they love into a career – but it's true for most I'd wager.

So if you're a profan and you're having trouble finding work/life division, maybe it's time to accept the ambiguity of your situation.  Maybe you need to focus on different issues like "relaxing" or "working harder" or "spending more time with family" as opposed to trying to break your life into convenient chunks.

Chances are, some time ago, you didn't want it broken into chunks anyway.

– Steven Savage