Balancing life, hobbies, and a job(search) can be stressful. What keeps you going?
Tamara: For me, it's the promise of recognition and the threat of never moving on. I want to provide something that actually matters, live a life I can be proud of, and claim my independence. In less abstract terms, I do projects that require regular updates, so it always feels "real" and it's got a one-step-at-a-time feeling to it. I need to see progress. One last big thing is that I am trying to be very careful what I commit myself to in the first place.
Serdar: Meditation, friends, family, and -- I think this is key -- the daily re-examination of the work I've done. It's very easy to look at what you're doing and dismiss it as crap that no one except you cares about. I should know; I've done this far too often to count. But if you can stop every so often, look over your progress, and see that it is indeed progress -- and that it has a meaning exclusive to you which absolutely no one and nothing can invalidate -- that helps. A lot.
Bonnie: Making sure I make time for everything that needs to be done, and time for other people - but also time for myself. I always make sure I at least get a few unstructured hours on weekends to do whatever I feel like doing - even if it's just sitting around with my iPad watching videos. Sometimes, doing nothing can be just the something you need.
Scott: Sheer stubbornness at times. Beyond that, downtime is always useful, whether it's a chance to just sleep in or spending time with friends. Thus, hobbies, as a way to maintain sanity.
Lauren: Now that I have only one job, it's been easier to maintain a work-life balance. Back when I was teaching, I would work 9 to 5 and then do lesson plans and office hours. Now, I force myself not to do anything work related in the evenings. I've managed to stay away by picking up some of my old, offline hobbies again: knitting socks, building gunpla, and playing MTG with my fiance. Heck, sometimes I even leave the apartment to hang out with friends!
I don't think we talk about this difficulty enough. When geeks end up with their hobbies as their careers, it can be very difficult to pull away from that work. It's important to remember that life is about experiences— I'll never remember that day I spent working for fourteen hours, but I'll always remember that evening playing D&D with my friends.
Ellen: Where I am, I loathe my job and love my hobbies to a severe point. I keep myself going with little things, like planning a super yummy breakfast, or making sure to bring caffeine with me to work, and also by using the "hobby" (finishing my novel) as a motivator. Only an hour until lunch break, and then I can rewrite that chapter. As far as factoring the search for a new job into that, it is admittedly harder to find time. The novel becomes a consolation prize for this, too. At least you can go back to the job where no one has to hire you, and no one can fire you.