Work where one gets stressed and sick is work one is not suited for. Once in high school, for example, I went door to door selling encyclopedias along with a superstar salesman and several youth OJTs. I needed money for personal and school expenses, so I applied and interned.
Now there’s nothing wrong with that job. In fact, a number of those with us excelled and earned a lot. But my problem was, for me, knocking on doors in strange neighborhoods and offices is an unnatural act. The work does not fit my personality. Yet I decided to do it anyway and somehow I made it look right because of the money. I lasted less than one month. My heart was not in it.
Looking back on that experience (and yes, I committed other mistakes like it!), I realized I am not cut for some occupations. I have a specific set of gifts/talents, dispositions, and attitudes that require a specific type of work. As a psychotherapist and mental health caregiver, I have come to believe that this is true for every person.
Dr. Marsha Sinetar once wrote, “Right livelihood is an idea about work which is linked to the natural order of things. It is doing our best at what we do best…Some of us are uniquely equipped for physical work, athletics, or dance; some of us have special intellectual gifts that make possible abstract or inventive thinking; some of us have aesthetic abilities and eye-hand coordination that enable us to paint, sculpt, or design.”
I want to call it the “therapy of right work.” Right work is just as important to personal health and wholeness as the right foods and nutrients are for our physical bodies.