Hybrids Professionals Do What They Love

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isn’t the dream to do what you love and make a living doing it?

…but how do we do that when we’re stuck in a job we don’t love? Hybrids know how.

If all of us were doing what we loved, and making a living from it, imagine what a wonderful place the world would be. The problem is that many people are not doing what they love or have no idea what they love. Even if they do know, the other part of the equation is figuring out how to get paid for it. If you love eating cupcakes with sprinkles or riding attractions at amusement parks, why would anyone pay you to do either of those things? Alas, the things we love become hobbies or are sidelined to weekends when we’re not at our day jobs.

The “do what you love” mantra plagues me. It often seems idealistic and unrealistic when faced with the other side of the coin, which is “what the world needs”. There are thousands of jobs on job boards, but most of them sound unappealing or are not a match for my talents, leaving me feeling underwhelmed and apathetic.

How do we do what we love when what the world needs is not exactly our perfect fit, and we’re not ready to leave our job or in the position to figure out how to get paid for our hobbies?

That’s where being a hybrid comes in. Hybrid professionals are people who work in the intersection of their professional identities and blend and combine various talents together, to fit their passions with a role. For instance, under the guise of a formal job title, a hybrid might merge what they love with what their job dictates, finding a divine sweet spot.

Let’s back up for a moment. Paul Graham of Y Combinator wrote in his blog in 2006, “The test of whether people love what they do is whether they’d do it even if they weren’t paid for it — even if they had to work at another job to make a living. How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free, in their spare time, and take day jobs as waiters to support themselves?”

I like this test as it’s a clear way to identify the work, or parts of work, that light you up. For those of us who can’t afford to leave our current roles to do what we love, if we at least have an inkling of what we love, then the next step is to creatively, and thoughtfully, try to combine it with our paid employment.

Hybrids are masterful at finding ways to crossover and “hybridize” their work so that there’s a bit of what they love mixed into their daily grind. This could be soft skills like getting to socialize more if you typically spend a lot of time paper pushing, or it could be hard skills like baking cakes for coworkers and clients if you secretively love to bake after work. Combining unlike workstreams together is why hybrids find pleasure in their work. Hybrids truly love what they do because they hack how to let their best skills shine even when that’s not explicitly their job title.

It is possible to do what you love when you don’t love your job. Try becoming a hybrid professional and see how you can combine your job with your passion.

Sarabeth Berk