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The careerist’s guide to hobbies

As the New Year gets into its stride, employees' thoughts turn to taking up a new sport or hobby

Preferably, of course, one that will impress the boss by showing that you are acquiring key skills needed by the organisation. So what can you take up that will boost your credibility and enhance your promotion prospects? 

Creative writing

Of course, you have an incredible talent for this, witness your CV and the ‘relevant experience’ section of your job application. Better to soft-pedal those on the whole. Concentrate instead on the marvellous opportunity to hone your communication skills and listen to constructive criticism. When asked what kind of thing you write, on no account say “a comic novel based on the modern office”. Instead, frown and tell them it is far too early to say.

Coding

If this is your new hobby you need to drop it sharpish. No employer wants yet another anorak who can’t communicate with anyone. Taking a coding course in your spare time will simply annoy the rest of the team who still haven’t figured out how the new telephones work.

Historical re-enactment

This may do you more good than you think. Clearly, you’ll be up for whatever wince-making role-play HR dreams up for the next staff development day. This will buy you a lot of brownie points with your manager. If you can persuade the rest of the team to join in and pretend to be serving wenches, foot soldiers, horses or whatever, the next leadership vacancy is yours, no question.

Marathon running/walking

This has potential as long as you explain that you have taken it up solely in order to walk into central London from Croydon the next time Southern Rail staff go on strike. There’s no need to actually get in shape. Saying this is your reason for taking up marathons should do the trick. Luckily, strike days are announced in advance, so be careful to sustain a sporting injury that means you can neither walk nor run, well before the strike.

Learning a musical instrument

Not bad, as it shows commitment and outside interests. However, on no account bring the instrument to the next office do, so that everyone can sing along to a selection of popular party favourites. This is the quick route to redundancy.

Camping

This is the key hobby of the managerial middle classes and showing an interest in it will quickly establish a rapport with your boss. However, it is a class minefield and you need to spend several afternoons surfing the relevant websites. Caravans no, camper vans yes, is the basic rule. If you can possibly find out which campsite your boss is going to, you can borrow someone’s camper and arrange an accidental meeting by the toilet block. Asking earnest questions about zig units and driveaway awnings will get you further than anything you can say in a meeting at work. Your manager will think camping builds self-reliance, sound values and respect for nature. Only you need know that it builds a burning desire to book into the nearest Holiday Inn.

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One comment

  1. On the off chance that this is your new side interest you have to drop it sharpish. No business needs yet another anorak who can’t speak with anybody. Taking a coding course in your extra time will just irritate whatever is left of the group who still haven’t made sense of how the new phones function.

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