I have played the flute since age ten, piano since age five. Music is strictly a hobby for me although at various times in the past I've taken it more seriously than others. About four years ago I attempted to join a community orchestra here in San Diego. What a shock! If you want to play in a high-calibre, amateaur group here in southern Cal you need a PhD in music performance. I am not kidding- there are professionals competing for unpaid community orchestras around here. There is one orchestra in particular that attracts professionals and high-quality amateurs. You have to be a very good musician to join and you have to know the right people.
Three years ago I started taking flute from a former member of the San Diego Symphony. Last summer she invited me to perform my Quantz Concerto at the First United Methodist Church in La Mesa. (She is music director at that church). One of the ushers was a teacher/professor at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. He asked me about my day job and I told him I had taught some chemistry at community colleges and worked in industry around San Diego. Small world! He told me that he taught physics at Southwestern and gave me the name of the department chair. The rest is history.
I did not perform at that church to get a new job. It was the last thing on my mind. I strive to become a quality musician; even someday join a high-quality orchestra here in San Diego. My performance at that church was purely for furtherment in the musical world. However, I walked away with a new contact in the chemistry education world.
You never know who in your network can help you at any given time in your life. Networks, skills, hobbies and ALL of the people you know are very important in your network.