Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Readers,

The goal of this column is to give advice. So, here goes.

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Baruch Hashem, I am blessed to have a job/profession that I really love. Is that important? Yes. Why you ask? As they say, “Find a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

So, lets talk about parnassah, something that does not always go smoothly for people and which sometimes comes with hard choices.

For example, some men and women end up working for a parent or in-law who has an amazing business or professional opportunity that will establish them for life. However, this may not be an easy path. As a rav once told me, “Never work for your parents or in-laws and you will be happy.”  On the other hand, sometimes these types of situations work out best for everyone involved.

How do you know when entering into this type of situation if it is ideal or if it will be a disaster?

Our younger generation spends sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education and then they have trouble finding jobs. Other times, they find the best work situation possible right away.

How do you know which type of career to pursue?

Let’s first make clear that all things, and most especially parnassah, are set in Shamayim. What we do here is simply hishtadlus.

Here is one hard rule: Do not choose your path in life solely because you think you will make money doing it. Pick something that you enjoy doing and that you are good it. You have a greater chance of being successful that way.

Shawn Achor, a positive psychology expert and best-selling author, gave a Ted talk on “The Happy Secret to Better Work.”  His talk focused on his theories about happiness and work. Specifically, he says, that when we are positive and happy, we have an enormous advantage in life and in work. In his book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, he brings studies on positive psychology that show that happiness fuels success. When we are happy with what we are doing and are in a positive frame of mind, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.  The happiness advantage means that when we are happy our brains work at a much higher level than when we are unhappy, stressed, or neutral.

Modern society has taught us that if we work hard, we will be successful, and if we are successful, we will be happy.  However, Achor’s research shows that the opposite is true. In actuality, his research found that happiness is what engenders success, not the other way around. We really need to focus on being happier people, so we can be more successful.

According to Achor, the three greatest predictors of happiness are optimism, how we perceive stress, and social connection.  A positive outlook helps us reframe our state of mind and become happier people.  Additionally, if we perceive stress as a challenge instead of a threat, we will be able to rise to the occasion instead of letting it make us anxious and take over.  Lastly, positive social connection helps us be happier, which will lead to more success.

Ultimately we don’t truly understand Hashem’s plan. All we can do is our hishtadlus. So, before pursuing a job you may hate just for the lucrative potential, research jobs that can make money but that you will also love.  Remember, ashirus, wealth, is considered a challenge as well. Yes, we all dream about being rich and not worrying about money, but we have to be careful what we wish for.

I hope that you all can use these techniques to become happier and more successful! Hatzlocha!

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.