I am in an odd familiar place as I close off career #6 – as a pulpit rabbi — this evening. These career shifts have always amused my friends and family because of the oddness of the careers, the sequencing, and the fact that they can’t usually explain them easily to their friends, except maybe for my first and last careers – lawyer and rabbi. And that last one certainly gets a lot of questions, especially when people find out I started that one at age 65. As for the rest of the careers, please don’t ask me for explanations, or better yet ask my friends and family.

There is a method to the madness. Firstly, I can’t imagine staying in a job or career where I dread going to work in the morning. Life is too precious. There are too many hours in the day devoted to work, and I seem wired to find joy in what I do. I also tend to sense when burnout or boredom or simply a different trajectory is just around the corner, and I initiate change on my own terms, always with a lot of curiosity about what might happen next.

I also learned the hard way that just being good at what I do is not enough. I need to love what I am doing. As Warren Buffett once noted, his job doesn’t feel like a job, and he gets to tap dance to work every morning. That’s it, exactly.

For me, it hasn’t been about money – so many of my careers have been in the not-for-profit world and they have mirrored my volunteer commitments. They have been about building healthier communities and about helping others. And I sleep well at night because I have a sense of purpose in what I do every day, and that means that I have purpose in my life.

I know that I have been fortunate to have these options. But I do owe so much to my parents and grandparents who came to Canada with no education and no English and empty pockets, but with a work ethic and a keen desire that their kids should exceed them. And I owe so much as well to the incredible people who have come into my life on this great journey, including so many of you who happen to be reading this. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again.

Hmm, I wonder what’s next?

Shabbat shalom,
Rabbi Allan