It’s always important for a person to have a project they’re working on that’s outside of their work, school, or other “obligations.”
When you spend too much time on your “job,” you often integrate it too closely with your sense of self. This runs into problems whenever people retire (or otherwise leave their job). If your sense of identity and worth come from your job, not having one can be very challenging.
A Project of One’s Own [Paul Graham] – “A few days ago, on the way home from school, my nine year old son told me he couldn’t wait to get home to write more of the story he was working on. This made me as happy as anything I’ve heard him say — not just because he was excited about his story, but because he’d discovered this way of working. Working on a project of your own is as different from ordinary work as skating is from walking. It’s more fun, but also much more productive.”
It pairs nicely with this video by Elizabeth Gilbert on Distinguishing Between Hobbies, Jobs, Careers, & Vocation:
Now for something fun – here’s a story about how the government set up a fake bank to catch drug traffickers:
Episode 418: How The Government Set Up A Fake Bank To Launder Drug Money [Planet Money / NPR] – “One day in the early 1990s, a man walked into the U.S. embassy in Ecuador. He said he had information somebody would want to hear — information on how to go after some of the most powerful drug traffickers in the world. The man worked as a money changer. He said he was getting a lot of requests from traffickers who had a problem: They had so much cash that they didn’t know what to do with it. They couldn’t figure out how to launder their money. What they needed was an offshore bank to help them. On today’s show, we hear how two U.S. agents — one IRS, one DEA — created a fake offshore bank to catch drug traffickers.”