Re: Describing your hobby

Peter Ness

Over the years of responding, for me, the most suitable response is; "I play with trains".  As others have commented usual responses range from knowing someone in the family that also plays with or used to play with trains, to an admission the querent used to play with trains.  VERY rarely, but sometimes, they respond they also play with trains or their spouse plays with (or collects) trains. I can't say I've met many nasty folks - whatever the definition is - but the worst I get is a grunt to which I respond; "Hey! In some ways I guess I never grew up!" If there is any follow-up conversation I say my interests have changed over the years and I model a specific railroad in New England and tell them they can take a look at my website if they are curious.  Sometimes mentioning New England changes the course of the conversation to visits they have made or family that live there, etc. If the initial response is either fish eyes on ice or deer in the headlights I go straight to the "never grew up line", chuckle and move the conversation along.

One thing I've also noticed over the years; in many - but not all - cases the hobby question is asked of me AFTER the person has already told me their hobby.  If they have already told me of their hobby, I pattern my response along the lines of theirs; if it was a brief "I collect guns" I reply; "I collect trains", if they have waxed eloquent over the fascinating and creative world of scrapbooking I counter with the joys of modeling the New Haven Railroad in 1959. If this is not what prompted their question, it is usually my follow-up.  Heck, of someone wants to take the chance to ask of my hobby, lets put them on the spot as well.

I've had the question asked on job interviews and give exactly the same response.  Over years I've learned from the HR POV this can be a checkbox question.  It is better to have a hobby than not. And it is better to have a hobby that is NOT surfing the interwebs or playing video games. In interviews with hiring managers I have learned that having a hobby that involves use of hands is a strong plus, indicating a "hands on" approach to problem solving - a very desirable trait in any field. Little do they know...but still, I like to think there is some merit to their line of thinking. I have a link to my website on my resume and LinkedIn.  In (hopefully) my most recent hire (back to my home in New Hampshire, last planned job before retirement), my hiring manager posted a complete sentence that my hobby is model railroading in the org announcement. To date at work, no one has contacted me about model trains, but 4-5 guys have come to introduce themselves because I drive a Trans Am and they also drive a muscle car.  Oh well.... 

Peter Ness

Join to automatically receive all group messages.