| Works for Me |

Can You Help Me Find a Career?

A career coach gets on the job

I’m 27, single, and working from my bedroom at my third job in three years. 
I spent the first 24 years of my life following the yeshivah track, getting the best education there is, and then suddenly everyone around me was married and had it all figured out, while I feel like I was thrown off a cliff with no direction in how to build a career. I had dreams of making lots of money and tried jobs that seemed like they would get me there, but it’s not working. At this point I don’t even know how I’ll ever support a family.
Can you help me? 
—Hoping there’s more to work than this


Thank you for your brutally honest question. I think one of the hardest parts of having a typical clear-cut life path to follow is that it feels disorienting and confusing when your life takes you on a slightly different route.

Instead of wallowing in disappointment, let’s reorient and look at the compass from where you actually are right now.

First, let’s think about the goal of your career. From your question, it seems that you think the only goal is money. That mistaken premise explains why you’ve made the choices you have: You chose a job solely based on its earning potential, instead of based on your potential. The sad irony is that choosing a career that way often ensures the exact opposite.

Let me take you back to what it seems you missed in your wonderful yeshivah education. Chovos Halevavos tells us exactly how to choose a career: Choose something that fits your natural talents. Rabi Meir in the Gemara takes it further, adjoining us to choose a profession that is “Nekiyah v’kalah,” translated as something not too hard that won’t ruin your reputation. He furthermore explains that a person’s career choice has zero correlation to his income.

Of course, there’s a lot to be said on this topic in terms of understanding your natural talents and choosing something that has the potential to earn a generous income. I think you’ll find studying these sources very interesting, and I hope it will give a new perspective on your current situation.

From what you shared about changing jobs approximately once a year, I think it’s time to adopt a new measuring stick for work. The ideal reason to move from one job to another is that you’ve developed new skills and can now use them in a next-level role, in order to continue gaining more valuable skills. Instead, I’m guessing that none of the jobs you’ve had used your best skills, nor have they provided you with new ones, leaving you wandering from one “potential gold mine” to another.

It’s time to start this process over, starting with you in mind. Otherwise, the only thing that will have happened a year from now will be… that another year has elapsed. The most important thing you can do for yourself is take the time to discover what your best skills are, and what kind of career paths utilize those skills. This way, you’ll approach a job search from the inside out — starting with what you enjoy, and building on that. At that point, the kinds of job you’ll accept will look very different from the ones you’ve had until now. You’ll find that you’re motivated to learn, grow, and move up within a field that taps into your natural talents.

I dare say that figuring out what your best skills are and applying that to your career can only have a positive impact on the other areas of your life. I suspect that by following the Torah’s career blueprint, you’ll find that your personal life, your goals, and your future family will be aligned with who you really are. And isn’t that the kind of generational wealth and legacy we all really dream of?


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 992)

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