Hello. I've only been practising for about a year, and don't know anyone else who practises in my country (Trinidad). I'm 34 and an Accountant by training and profession, and spent a large part of my career justifying unethical and sometimes illegal activities for my employers, telling myself that these were victimless crimes. I was fired a few months ago for questioning certain practices, and I know that regardless of where I work (in my country) unscrupulous practices exist. I've only just been getting by, and have had to depend on others, while at the same time trying to explain to them why I'm not looking for work as an Accountant, or even why I'm no longer financially motivated.
So I'm really lost at the moment. I've thought of changing careers and doing something worthwhile, and making a contribution to society, but don't have the finances required for a new certification right now. I've applied for low level positions, but the feedback I've gotten is that they think I'll get bored and leave.
So my questions are, what can I do for work (for now) that would not be harmful to anyone, but requires little to no training and experience, in a country that's rife with corruption? And what may be a better career path for the future (other than nursing and patient care)? Because of the culture of the country, the lack of ethics is shockingly pervasive and acceptable, to the point that I wonder if anything but self-employment would fit the bill...
Hi Diana. Yes, the levels of corruption in many parts of the world are shocking. Many of the people I know of who feel a deeper spiritual connection end up as some kind of freelance therapists or bodyworkers, taking courses to improve their skills rather than trying for a longer qualification.
I think in terms of staying clear of corruption and stealing, which is one of the Buddhist precepts, it’s best to find a job where you can charge an honest wage for your skills. That’s a pretty broad description and fits everything from working for a supermarket to working for a hotel.
Perhaps you can read a few autobiographies in order to get inspired
That's all you can do where you are, that with 100% certainty will not be harmful to others.
The Buddha declared that there are 5 practices (jobs, businesses, employment) that are inadvisable, and one should not partake in.
However, the reality is that sometimes, we need to put food on the table, and money in our pocket. It's a question of survival, compliance, co-operation and being able to make it through, because the First Precept is to do No harm, and that includes - PRIMARILY - to ourselves.
I consider this:
If I am engaging in a practice that might be construed as harmful to others - how much of that harm is their choice? How engaged are they - as adult human beings with a choice before them - in doing something which can harm them?
I work in a little grocery shop.
people come in every day and buy cigarettes.
All the packets look exactly the same, and are plastered with terrifying images of some of the consequences of smoking.
I hate to sell cigarettes, but that is the buyer's choice. They know, they're extremely aware of what could happen, but they do it anyway.
So, albeit personally reluctantly, I sell them cigarettes.
Alcohol is another matter.
A person addicted to alcohol harms others as well as themselves, is often not in complete control of their faculties and is open to far more immediate and dangerous consequences.
(It is actually against the law here to supply alcohol to someone who is obviously under the influence, and incapable of making a lucid, coherent and sensible decision.)
The dilemma is understandable, but at the end of the day, the person you have to safeguard above all others, is yourself.
Look to what you need, and decide for yourself what you can do, considering the limitations placed upon you by the Buddha.
Modern Life is far from easy, but it does nothing to help you whatsoever, if you beat yourself up about it.
Welcome, and thank you for your question.
The following links for work in Trinidad & Tobago
Have you looked into the Tourism industry ?
So much of the world system is interlinked to 'nasty' things.
But some things a worse than others. Yea its hard when you are carrying out somebody elses rubbish particularly if you know its harming someone. Although in any case most things will harm people to some degree.
Working at something that is actually meaningful is one thing that is important. How is your job affecting others in the world, is it really necessary? (Read about how many jobs are bullshit jobs i.e. Not necessary)
In the end though if nothing else, do something that will bring you some joy at least and enough to survive. And always question things, see if there is anything to improve your situation.
I guess one option is going abroad hmm welp
If you have any spare time, volunteer work can at least bring you some experience..
If you are thinking about self employment, perhaps you could sell and trade goods online? Just an idea.
Selling and trading goods online is not so easy mind you, I have a cousin who tried this and her crafting skills are not bad but in order to really stand out you have to be excellent at creating things. You might want to have a look at Etsy, the online crafting and trading platform.
Have you considered poverty? Living on next to nothing is part of advanced Buddhist sangha and hermit methodology.
Live long and prosper ??
Being an artist is a great way of doing no harm, doing what you love and just about making ends meet, in a good year! Living in a fairly decrepit cottage in the middle of nowhere also helps
(But don't cut off your ear to spite your face. Or something like that....)
Wise words, @federica! Poor Van Gogh, now he was a master at self punishment. The painting of the crow field, his last, hangs in Cardiff Museum, it's one of the most amazingly things I've ever stood in front of, awed. Artists need a lot of watching
@Diana3407 -- Shoulder your responsibilities. There is no such thing as an occupation or deed that does not reach out of even the most-purified precincts and touch or mingle with what the careless refer to as harmful.
Why else would Buddhists, for example, make up ethical guidelines to adhere to? Imagine the confusion: "What if someone made up ethical guidelines and there were nothing to guide?" Nothing fancy: Just saying that the guidelines rely on what is guided as much as they try to regulate and improve.
Do what you need to. Reflect. Correct as necessary. Don't be a worrywart. Remember, Just because you are indispensable to the universe does not mean the universe needs your help.