I Want to Switch Jobs

November 22nd, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 14 comments


I enjoyed your book Thou Shall Prosper. I am looking for any suggestions regarding the frustrations I am having with getting a job. My degree is in engineering and I have worked several jobs as both a sales engineer and technical support person. I don’t like engineering! My family coaxed me to do engineering. 

I have also owned two businesses in landscape design and supply. Both of which I sold. I recently tried two technical sales support positions and I did not enjoy either one. I enjoy customer support but no longer enjoy the technical side. Any suggestions?

Cori Z.


Dear Cori,

We had to laugh reading your question because, it could have been written by me! (Rabbi Daniel, not Susan) I also went into engineering after being encouraged to do so by my family. I guess they hoped there might be a redeeming economic value to the mischievous and disruptive contraptions I engineered that got me thrown out of several schools.

While I do have an aptitude for engineering, I was miserable working in that field because I was working with things rather than with people.

I had also started and sold a business, in my case a boat-building company. In other words, I feel your pain.

Then I went into sales. And I loved it! Every encounter was another opportunity to get to know another person.  Winning a customer was just another way of helping another human.

It sounds that, like me, you prefer working with people to working with things.  Like me, you have probably also discovered that once you have learned how to sell and are comfortable doing so, it is relatively easy to change what you are selling or for whom you are selling it.

(Both of us again)  Any company should be interested in someone who walks through the door and announces, “I will bring in more sales revenue for less than it will cost you to hire me.”  If you are good at sales, a commission based income is better than a salary. While you may need to start out with much less than you hope to earn, increasing your income is in your own hands.

The important thing is to sell a product or service in which you truly believe and that you are passionate about. We are not saying you should seek only fields for which you have enthusiasm and passion.  We are saying find the right people and product to work with or for and then devote yourself to developing passion for what you are selling.

In this area, we don’t know a better teacher than our dear, departed friend, the late Zig Ziglar, who work is carried on so ably by his son, Tom. Buy their training resources and absorb them into your very bloodstream.

If you are working for a company, you should make sure that you agree with the company’s core values and are confident the relationship will be one of integrity. For us, we began sharing ancient Jewish wisdom, first with Jews who had not been exposed to it and later with Christians who had lost that part of their heritage. That has been our passion for many years now.

We hope you can follow a similar path by finding the intersection of a need that your fellow human beings have and your passion to cater to that need. As a bonus, please be assured that understanding how the physical world works through the lens of engineering will really be useful in other areas of your life.

Finally, we want to suggest gently that for the young person you sound like, the six positions you have already worked at is a few too many. (Unless we’re wrong and you are describing a sixty year career!) Please, commit yourself soon to a job and don’t even consider quitting until you’ve been successful at it. We think that by that time, you will be enjoying it immensely.

Wishing you success,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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Sound advice, Rabbi! Some of us take a lot longer to find our path but once discovered, become, ‘like a tree planted by the water that will not be moved’.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear Carol-
Thanks for commenting. I hope you are watching the tv show in which Susan and I find our paths available online here http://www.tct.tv/watch-tct/on-demand-ajw
happy thanksgiving

Margarita says:

Very nicely written. Good advice.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thank you Margarita–
I’m happy you think so and even more importantly, so does the person who asked the question–see below!
Happy Thanksgiving

Mike Wallace says:

Fantastic, sage and thoughtful advice – thank you Rabbi.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Thanks Mike-
It makes me happy to know you found it useful enough to take the time to write. Thank you. We also got a lovely letter from the guy who sent us the question in the first place. See below.
I hope you are already enjoying our TV show on which we also tackle questions. It’s viewable online here: http://www.tct.tv/watch-tct/on-demand-ajw

John Fritsche says:

Thank you, Cori, for asking this question. I am currently studying electrical engineering, and I too enjoy working with people more than things. I’ll be sure to pursue a more people based role.
Thank you, Rabbi, for the insight,
John F.

P.S. This week’s podcast and the idea of shutting down all universities gave me a much needed perspective. It helped me stay balanced and see how unrealistic this environment is. Do you have any suggestions for how to guard myself and family while here at the university?

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Dear John-
And thank you for taking the trouble to write. Many companies love hiring engineers in sales roles–they sometimes call them “tech-reps” and as we wrote, I loved doing that for the Dutch electronics giant Philips. Oh, and one more thing, John, you do know that my plan to shut down all universities was in jest–mostly. But what is not in jest is that I strongly advise parents to be very sure that it is worth sending their kids to university. If they want a certain professional qualification it might be unavoidable but otherwise, there really are many other alternatives some of which could be better choices for some people. Three, four years or more on a campus definitely can dumb down a smart person. And there are additional perils too. These institutions are no longer the apex of American civilization that they once were.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

PS: Hey John, hope you see our tv show http://www.tct.tv/watch-tct/on-demand-ajw

Cori Z. says:

Thank you, Rabbi Lapin, for your insightful response to my frustrations. I was filled with awe in how God is so faithful in answering our prayers when I opened your response this morning! I have been floundering and frustrated since I sent you this inquiry. When I finally made the decision to get up two hours earlier in the morning than I usually do and seek the Lord for His direction, I received your response within 3 days! Thank you for being the vessel the Lord used to speak wisdom and guidance through in answer to my prayers for direction.
I appreciate you and Susan so very much and enjoy your show on TCT!
God bless!
Cori Z.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin says:

Hello Cori–
We don’t often hear back from those people whose questions we select to answer which made your letter all the more welcome.
It sounds to me as if you are already well on your way to a new, rewarding, and fulfilling professional life
Happy Thanksgiving

Lynn Perrizo says:

LOL! I’m still in shock that MY RABBI was thrown out of not one school but several? Oh my!

Susan Lapin says:

Rest assured, Lynn, that I (Susan) sat with my hands folded and paying attention. We are a mixed marriage.

rdlapin says:

Dear Lynn
I never sore much yoose for skool myself. Yuge waist of time.
Seriously though, George Bernard Shaw said he was too busy getting an education to interrupt it by going to school. I read extensively in the woods rather than going to school. “…Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything” said Shakespeare and it was true for me. I didn’t really begin to understand how the world REALLY works until my late teens.
Anyway, enough about me. Thanks for commenting,

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