You're good at knitting... try international relations! The hobbies that could change your life and tee up a whole new career

  • Many hobbies and careers share similar skill sets
  • Painters with a passion for color and design could make good gardeners
  • Other linked hobbies and careers include reading and politics

The start of the year is a time for new hobbies, new interests and - some hope - an entirely new you. But what if your job is holding you back?

Little more puts a dampener on a fresh, new year than a job that you just can’t stand. But while a passion for frequent socializing might not alone  help you find a career you adore, other hobbies could hold the key to a new direction at work.

Whether you love knitting or can’t get enough of the great outdoors, here’s how your hobby can set you on the path to career nirvana.

Sign of things to come: A passion for knitting could lead to a career in international diplomacy

Sign of things to come: A passion for knitting could lead to a career in international diplomacy

LOVE KNITTING… BECOME A DIPLOMAT

Knitting requires patience, the ability to plan and a penchant for spotting a pattern – and so does diplomacy.

While having your knit one, purl one down to a tee isn’t the only thing you’ll need to make it, the skills used to create a cosy scarf also translate to international relations.

Much of the work done in the U.S. embassies around the world is a study in patience, with diplomats working slowly towards finding solutions to thorny questions of trade, alliances and disputes.

More than that though, diplomacy is an exercise in planning: ensuring that the United States’ interests are protected now and in future, and all while spotting patterns of behavior that could be destructive.

Languages and analytical skills also help, but having the patience to knit suggests you could find the art of diplomacy easier – and more entertaining – than you might have imagined.

LOVE PAINTING… BECOME A GARDENER

As any keen amateur painter will know, success is all about getting the composition right – and so is landscape gardening.

Eye for colour: Painters and gardeners share an eye for colour, form and design

Eye for colour: Painters and gardeners share an eye for colour, form and design

An eye for color will help you compose a theme and decide whether clumps of crimson rose bushes will look good next to the lavender beds or need to go elsewhere.

Knowing how to use space and perspective will also come in useful, as will a steady hand for drawing when the time comes to pull a plan together for clients.

A knowledge of admin and tax returns is handy, as is a working knowledge of health and safety while an eye for design will help you create a gorgeous website to advertise your wares.

LOVE BAKING… BECOME A BUSINESS MOGUL

There’s no shortage of people who have turned their love of making cupcakes into a bakery business, but clever cooks don’t have to stop at small-scale start-ups.

Being a good baker requires a slew of skills that also translate to big multi-nationals, as well as banks and other types of big business as well.

For starters, there’s organizational skills and an eye for numbers – both useful when it comes to keeping an eye on the bottom line.

Ultimo boss Michelle Mone
Richard Branson

Clever: Ultimo boss Michelle Mone and Virgin tycoon Richard Branson are both happy to innovate

Then there’s the creative flair that leads to all innovative new business ideas and the ability to spot the special ingredient that will turn a so-so sponge into a glorious gateau.

Managing your time, as any baker will tell you, is another key to great cakes – and indeed, great business leadership.

LOVE READING… BECOME A POLITICIAN

‘History,’ as Karl Marx once wrote, ‘is doomed to be repeated, first as tragedy and the second time as farce.’

Wise words and some that politicians - the men and women whose job it is to ensure the country ticks over while also making sure it keeps doing so in future - should heed.

Well read: Like most politicians, President Barack Obama is fond of reading

Well read: Like most politicians, President Barack Obama is fond of reading

Lessons: As Winston Churchill knew,  lessons can be learned from the past and picked up through books

Lessons: As Winston Churchill knew, lessons can be learned from the past and picked up through books

And that’s not the only way in which a love of reading translates to political skill. Many politicians, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, have used brains honed by a love of books to come up with innovative solutions to seemingly endless problems, as well as using their love of literature to give them the edge in debates.

A love of reading also has practical benefits for people in government, not least because much of their work involves absorbing information and picking out the key points quickly.

And if all looks like it might be going wrong, they only have to look to the history books to see where things could be improved and what the worst-case scenario might be.

LOVE TRAVELING AND HELPING OTHERS... BECOME AN AID WORKER 

Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Phililppines offer opportunities to share your time and talents with some of the world’s disenfranchised communities, while also offering rich cultural experiences.

One of the hidden secrets of the aid world is that many of the humanitarian workers spotted throughout refugee camps - in addition to having big hearts and a desire to nurture the world on a global scale - are also avid travelers with a passion for understanding and living among different cultures.

Flexibility, a willingness to jump on a plane when a crisis strikes, and the ability to be organized and nimble are all ideal traits for aid workers and those seeking to make a difference in peoples’ lives. 

Aid workers need to be flexible and willing to jump on a plane when a crisis strikes and help may be needed

Aid workers need to be flexible and willing to jump on a plane when a crisis strikes and help may be needed

Making a difference: As well as travelling, aid workers can make a real difference to peoples' lives

Making a difference: As well as travelling, aid workers can make a real difference to peoples' lives

ABOUT STRAYER UNIVERSITY 

Opened in 1892, Strayer University has been a hub for those eager to expand their learning and boost their career prospects for 120 years.

Campuses are dotted all over the country and the majority of degrees can be done online, allowing students to work at their own pace and fit their studies around jobs and families.

More importantly, with degree courses covering everything from business to criminal justice, accounting, education and public administration, Strayer’s programs lead to real world skills that translate to real life jobs.

Whether you see your future in diplomacy or hospitality, Strayer has a study program that will help you achieve your dream career and more.

For more information or to sign up for a course of tuition, see www.strayer.edu

 

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