16. I Can’t Find a Career

What if you’re trying to choose a career and nothing suits you? I just don’t have a talent, I just don’t have an inclination, I just don’t have any particular type of melachah (activity) that really suits me, that really appeals to me. What do I do?

The Marpeh L’Nefesh, one of the commentaries on the Chovos Halevavos, explains what the problem is. He explains that every person has an inborn inclination, but oftentimes we don’t want to listen to it. You see, a person of my caliber shouldn’t be working with his hands. A person of my intellect shouldn’t be working in a lowly industry. And our seeking honor, our desire for money, will often block us from understanding instinctively what we should be doing.

If a person frees himself up from any preconceived notions — forget the dollar amount, forget honor — ask yourself what’s your nature, what are your inclinations, what do you enjoy doing, what just sort of suits you, explains the Marpeh L’Nefesh you’ll see that each individual was given aptitude, tools, talents. Each individual was given an inclination. You have to put away your preconceived notions, you have to ask yourself what suits me, and then you have to go into the marketplace and ask yourself how can I use this skill set, how can I apply it. And then you have to know you’re going to earn exactly the dollar amount that Hashem determines, not a penny more and not a penny less. Exactly the amount of honor and prestige that you’re supposed to enjoy you will enjoy. Your job is to use the world in the ways of the world, knowing full well that Hashem determines exactly your station and position in the world.