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Is there a word for something that's between a "job" and a "hobby"? It's a phenomenon you'll sometimes see among people who don't need to work, but for whatever reason choose to be employed. Their job's characteristics include several of these characteristics:

  1. Very flexible work hours
  2. Low stress
  3. Little or no metrics for determining success
  4. Little or no involvement of a supervisor/boss
  5. Undemanding
  6. Modest pay

The people I see who have these types of "jobs" generally have wealth from some other source (nearing retirement, rich parents, rich spouse, etc). Their financial picture probably wouldn't change significantly if they suddenly quit. So they've got reasons for working that are non-financial. Whatever you'd call their gig, it'd be inaccurate to call it a "hobby", because it's not enjoyable enough, and it generates a non-trivial (albeit modest) amount of income. Yet because of its very undemanding and flexible nature, I think it's unfair to call it a full-fledged job. And there's nothing wrong with these types of "jobs", but it's really frustrating when people start comparing them with real jobs that people have to work because they need an income. It'd be like an 18th century "gentleman farmer" comparing himself to a "normal" farmer.

Yesterday, I heard a mother who works part time in her dad's prosperous business compare her job to a single parent working 50+ hours in a diner and as a maid. She said,

"We both have jobs, so we both know the challenges of balancing work and kids".

I thought,

"No, the waitress has a job; You have a ______".

But what's the word to use? I feel the vocabulary is limited here, because she's technically right -- both of them have "jobs".

  • 9
    Avocation (as opposed to vocation = job). – Dan Bron Jul 27 '16 at 19:17
  • 2
    You have a “nice little gig – Jim Jul 27 '16 at 19:28
  • 2
    @DanBron it also can be defined as a "minor" occupation. Pls move it into an answer so I can do something more meaningful than agree. – Stan Jul 27 '16 at 20:31
  • 1
    Someone "who works part time in her dad's prosperous business" has a job, whether you like it or not. – Alan Carmack Nov 29 '16 at 21:56
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    @Tom22 I make a bad habit of doing the opposite of what other people ask me to do. Let’s see if I can make headway against that habit here. – Dan Bron Jun 22 '18 at 0:48
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sideline

Oxford dictionaries

An activity done in addition to one’s main job, especially to earn extra income:


Merriam-Webster

Simple Definition : a job that is done in addition to your main job

Full Definition : 2. b : a business or activity pursued in addition to one's regular occupation

  • 1
    There is no main job to accompany in this case. It is the job being referred to by the question. – Stan Jul 27 '16 at 20:26
  • @Stan ~ You can have a sideline to other sources of income; doesn't have to be a job – user180089 Jul 28 '16 at 20:14
  • In my defence, I was strongly influenced by the word "main" in "main job" and the word "job" in "main job." Silly, I know. I'm so literal in that respect. ; ) – Stan Jul 28 '16 at 20:21
  • @Stan ~ sarcasm aside, yes the definition specifies "main job" but the term is used in business contexts where the main source of income requires little effort on the "worker's" part and thus the worker is allowed to pursue other interests, i.e. sidelines – user180089 Jul 28 '16 at 20:23
  • Oh, I gave you that point already when I responded in such an irreverent way. I apologize (sincerely). I was having fun at your expense. I added a smiley but it wasn't enough clearly. – Stan Jul 28 '16 at 20:31
3

The closest I can get is a sinecure.

A position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit:
political sinecures for the supporters of ministers

Reference:
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/sinecure

2

I recommend gig or moonlighting (only works when you have a primary job, too).

It is worth noting that there are other ways English tends to resolve this distinction: we will tack on an adjective and say "well his position as secretary is largely perfunctory in any case," or "it's very much a cush, part-time position." Alternatively, sometimes people will attempt to distinguish between a career and a job, although I think this is mostly connotated and not denotated.

  • To me "moonlighting" has rather negative connotations. Please provide relevant links to explain the meanings and substantiate your suggestions. – TrevorD Jul 28 '16 at 22:47
2

Tongue in cheek, but the word you're seeking may be the following neologism:

jobby: an endeavor between a job and a hobby

This is how new words come into being, right? It also lines up with your multiple use of "jobs".

Otherwise, I'm not sure there's a satisfactory one-word answer to your question. While not all jobs are created equal by any means, a job is a job: a regular remunerative position [M-W].

Addendum: As pyobum has pointed out, Wictionary provides several meanings of jobbie (or jobby), one of which is actually relevant:

jobbie (or jobby): (Britain, informal) a job, normally a task rather than a form of employment for which one is paid

So, a jobby is not a job as defined by M-W (see above), but at the same time it bears no obvious relationship to hobby.

  • Slight problem with this one (had no idea until I googled it): en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jobbie – pyobum Nov 29 '16 at 7:09
  • @pyobum LOL. I didn't think of googling it. Good find. The examples are hilarious. – Richard Kayser Nov 29 '16 at 13:00
  • @RichardKayser I have no comment to make on 'jobby' in BrE. My delicate sensibilities might go into overload, don't ya know. Salutations. – Peter Point Nov 29 '16 at 22:03
  • @RichardKayser Oh, wait a minute. If you're a budding thespian, you'll start out as a 'spear carrier'. If you're no good a treading the boards, you'll probably remain one for the rest of you're stage career. – Peter Point Nov 29 '16 at 22:13
  • @PeterPoint Salutations! Sounds like you know something about the performing arts. Re the answer: That's quite an unusual jobbie you have there! – Richard Kayser Nov 29 '16 at 23:03
2

Whereas your vocation is your job, your line of business, and how you earn your income, by contrast your avocation is a secondary or a subordinate occupation you take up in addition, especially for enjoyment.

For example in Collins:

Avocation

variable noun
Your avocation is a job or activity that you do because you are interested in it, rather than to earn your living.

[formal] He was a printer by trade and naturalist by avocation.

Similarly from Dictionary.com

Avocation

noun
1. something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, especially for pleasure; hobby:

Our doctor's avocation is painting.

This meaning evolved from an older sense, now archaic, where the word meant “a distraction”, but more particularly a calling away from your vocation (a + vocation):

From Etymonline:

avocation (n.)
1610s, "a calling away from one's occupation;" 1640s, "that which calls one away from one's proper business," from Latin avocationem (nominative avocatio) "a calling away, distraction, diversion," noun of action from past participle stem of avocare "to call off, call away," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + vocare "to call" (from PIE root *wekw- "to speak").

Which I think fits nicely to your need for a word which is “not quite work, not quite a hobby”. The call is so compelling it distracts you from your day job.

0

Consider diversion.

Definition from MW dictionary:

diversion: something that people do because it is enjoyable, entertaining, or pleasant

  • I think that a "pastime" also belongs to this definition. – Stan Jul 27 '16 at 20:27
0

A "labor of love" is work done for its own pleasure rather than chiefly for financial reward, which seems squarely on point.

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/labor#labor__36

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/labor-of-love

"Labor of love" is most apt for work that has intrinsic non-monetary value (or is expected to)--acting at a Renaissance Fair, cleaning a park, doing genealogy, tutoring children, or writing a book, say. It's not a perfect fit for something that merely gets one out of the house for some extrinsic reason--working at a zoo to try to meet attractive women, say, or getting a job as a Walmart greeter to combat loneliness and depression.

0

You may also consider this as a 'vanity job', 'vanity position', or (in the case of being self-employed) 'vanity business'.

This definition (adjective 1) is particular to authors and musicians, but I see it in broader use as well.

of, relating to, or being a work (as a book or recording) whose production cost is paid by the author or artist

It's somewhat derogatory:

Her husband is rich and she's bored sitting around the house, so he pays the rent on her vanity business that sells hand-knitted tea cozies made from hamster fur and unicorn dust.

-2

It would have been suffice for you to simply ask your question, "Is there a word for something that's between a job and a hobby?" And perhaps you should have just left it at that, instead of indicating your obvious judgemental tone towards what you consider to not be a "real job". Btw, this can be referred to as an ENDEAVOR, which basically can cover any and all hobbies, jobs & careers, studies, pursuits, activities & involvement, interests & passions, and so forth and so on (whether non-profit or for-profit). And fyi, some who have an endeavor as you are describing actually do WORK really hard for their success, and many depend on such an endeavor(s) as their SOLE source of income. Thank you very much!

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