Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finding the Best Job for You

Livelihood (gainful employment) tends to follow family lines. One is born into a groove, and inertia wins out. However, a better way to take charge of your destiny is direct experience. The following opportunity is an excellent and fast route to experience.

WORK LIFE: A little bit of everything

Can't decide what to do with your work life? Who says you have to? We meet Sean Aiken, who is trying 52 jobs in 52 weeks. This week: stock picker. (Marketplace Money)

Listen to this Story

Regarding jobs, Buddhist teachings are that doing work that harms others, harms oneself, or harms both should best be avoided out of compassion (for oneself and others) and karma. The results of not avoiding a wrong-livelihood are catastrophic but not immediately apparent. Right-livelihood* for skillful, ordinary people involves avoiding trade in:

  1. arms (weapons, military)
  2. living beings (prostitution, slavery, ranching)
  3. meat production/butchery (slaughtering, selling, promoting)
  4. intoxicants and poisons (drugs, alcohol, pesticides, chemicals) [and any practice involving fraud or deception]

*Right Livelihood
is earning a living in an ethical manner, gaining wealth not only legally and peacefully but also without doing harm. The Buddha mentions four specific activities that harm other beings and should therefore be avoided: 1. dealing in weapons, 2. dealing in living beings, 3. working in meat production and butchering, 4. selling intoxicants and poisons. Any occupation that would violate the principles of right speech or right action should be avoided.

Applicants may also want to consider the open-ended vocation of Saddhu (Sanskrit shramana; English shaman; Pali samana; "wandering ascetic"), a position with great prestige, excellent (otherworldly) pros-pects, a medical benefits package limited to medicinal cannabis and fermented cow's urine. Positions now available in Nepal. Pay: tips, donations, meals.

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