In the midst of our busy schedules, hardly do we get the time to pursue our favourite hobbies, right? But if you are equipped with good multi-tasking skills, you could turn your hobby into a part-time career. And if you are lucky, your employer will be more than happy to help you in your endeavour.
Rohan Kini started a bikers club. He also organises a lot of bike workshops. And since childhood, he has been a cycling/biking enthusiast. And even after joining as a programmer at Thought-Works, he hasn't given up on his hobby. "ThoughtWorks (TW) encourages its employees to indulge in hobbies and a few have also executed their own ideas, both social and commercial in nature," says Kini. Today, as a co-owner of a high-end bicycle store, his aim is to build communities across India and encourage people to commute using bicycles. Thought-Works was wholly aware about the venture right from the beginning and they have been hugely supportive of my hobby-turned-business and all my colleagues do their bit to spread the word. "A year ago, I took a month off because I wanted to spend time concentrating on my hobby and they were accommodating enough to allow me and encourage me to do so," adds Kini. By pursuing these two jobs, he has been able to use the learning from one job and implement that learning in the other. "It's helped me sharpen my skills when it comes to handling customer expectations. It's helped me develop a more balanced perspective on things," he adds. However, it's vital to have a clear idea about why you want to spend so much time on this particular hobby and be transparent with the company where you work about this hobby/business so that you'll never have to hide something you really love from them.
It's a known fact that sales is a highly demanding occupation. But R Mahindar Balaji, a sales officer with Bharti AXA General Insurance, Bangalore isn't complaining, as his life isn't consumed by the demands of his job. Infact, he has a dual job. "I also pursue my hobby of playing professional Tennikoit. I have been playing the game for the past twenty years," he says. Till now, he has represented India in a Triangular Series between India, South Africa and Germany. Clearly, juggling both the jobs could have been a daunting task if it weren't for the able support provided by his employer, Bharti AXA General Insurance. "It is with the encouragement from my seniors and colleagues that I am successfully able to balance my hobby as well as my job. I am going to Germany at the end of this month to represent India in the World Tennikoit Championship for which I am getting full financial support from my company for the participation that includes my travel, stay, etc. They have also been accommodative with my work schedule enabling me to participate in various championships," he says. A few companies may be wary of individuals with dual careers but progressive ones realise the benefits derived out of it. "Tennikoit, as a sport, has helped hone and enhance my skills. Any form of sporting activity instills a sense of team spirit and enthusiasm in you. It has helped me be physically fit, active and motivated me to achieve my goals, on field as well as at the workplace," he asserts. But there were other challenges too. He says that sales can be pretty demanding. Sometimes, in the days leading up to a tournament, he has to practice everyday early in the morning and later, in the evening too. This can be a little taxing, as he finds it challenging to concentrate at work after such rigorous practice sessions. "With the support of my managers/colleagues, I have been able to sail through this without any hurdles. I have tried not to let Tennikoit be ignored," he says. In such situations, the onus is also on the employee to return the noble gesture by defining a distinct divide between both jobs, right? He answers, "I am aware that I will have to divide my efforts between my sales job and Tennikoit. I try to work harder on the days I don't have practice. I divide my time in such a way that at the time that I have my targets coming up, I take a break from Tennikoit and when I have a major championship coming up, I try to achieve my targets well in advance so that I don't fall behind on it." He shares a few learnings learnt: 1) If you are juggling two careers, learn to divide your time judiciously between the two, 2) if you are committed to a goal, you tend not to see the obstacles cropping up in your path and 3) don't ignore your health and personal life.
If Tushar Gupte, officer-recruitment, Lionbridge had given up playing the tabla, a passion he has been pursuing since he was 10, his 9-5 regime would have made his life monotonous. A professional tabla player, Gupte says, "Lionbridge has always been supportive of my hobby. I have been granted leave whenever I needed it for some public performances for which I had to travel outside the country or Mumbai. That apart, the organisation has provided me a platform to display my talent to my fellow employees in Lionbridge." "Yes, it makes for some long days when I put in nine hours at work, spend two hours on my commute and then, energise myself to
spend another four-five hours on my second job. But I am clear about my priorities. My Lionbridge job comes first and my second job comes second," he confirms. Since his two jobs are very different, there are not too many instances when the two clash. Most of his concerts are usually in the evenings or on weekends. Also, he believes that you need to ensure your hobby does not conflict with your role in your organisation – otherwise, you might run into some sticky situations. For instance, if you are a software programmer, you need to check with your HR whether you can run a web portal or some business related to software development. He concludes, "A steady job provides me my bread and butter while my second job provides me the creative satisfaction and sometimes, a bit of jam as well."
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