So, you’ve recently decided to make the switch to a vegan lifestyle and you are having an ethical dilemma about where to work. Should you get a full vegan job with a vegan company or work at a non-vegan job which may conflict with your values from time to time? Both of these options have their pros and cons. I will walk through each possibility and tell you a little about my personal experience with both!
Getting a vegan job is probably one of the most satisfying things in the world. Imagine being able to walk into a workplace that corresponds to your set of morals and values each day! In a world that is constantly against and mistreating your values, this is like a safe haven. You are likely to feel at peace with yourself each time you walk through the doors to work. The people you work with will probably be on the same page as you, and you will vibe with them well. Furthermore, this setting will be welcoming and accepting towards you.
If you are against working for someone else, you could start your own vegan related business (the possibilities are endless!). It will be hard work in the beginning, but this will pay off eventually and be satisfying beyond belief!
There are some cons to getting vegan job (I know, hard to believe right?). First of all, vegan jobs can be difficult to find. If you do not live in a major city it may be difficult to find a vegan place that is hiring. Going off of this, it may be hard to find a job that will support you financially in the long run. Many vegan places are small businesses or restaurants, and if you are not a head chef or the owner of the business it may be difficult to support yourself solely on this pay. Finally, because you are a vegan working in a vegan environment, you will not interact with as many non-vegans. This greatly reduces the number of people that you can influence and talk to into becoming vegan themselves!
Obviously, the biggest pro of a non-vegan job is that there are so many more options and chances of finding a job. The options are almost endless. In addition, working in a non-vegan place teaches you to be able to be a functional vegan in society. I know society sometimes sucks, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be there. People tend to live their lives differently, and vegan or not, we need to accept this. With this in mind, by working at a non-vegan job, you will be spreading the vegan message. Some people have heard of veganism but have no idea what it actually is. By being a vegan in a predominately non-vegan establishment, you will spread the message of veganism through yourself. If you are a positive, healthy, upbeat individual, you will most likely attract someone to look into the lifestyle themselves, which is so awesome and rewarding!
Now onto the cons of a non-vegan job. First, people you work with/customers you interact with probably won’t be as accepting. This will all boil down to the type of person you are. If you can stand being different and have a strong sense of yourself, you will be fine in this situation. However, if people’s thoughts of your lifestyle take a toll on your mental health then this is not a good environment for you to be in! Next, you will probably encounter tasks that directly conflict with your morals and lifestyle choices. This comes down to your own thoughts on whether or not this is okay or not for you. Finally, if working at a restaurant or food establishment, you will have less options when it comes to food. Again, all a personal choice in whether you would be able to cope with this.
My Experience With Vegan Jobs and Non-Vegan Jobs
For most of my life I have worked in the restaurant business as a waitress. For about the first 4 years that I did this I was working in non-vegan restaurants. It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience having to serve people steaks, burgers, pizza, and mozzarella sticks, but it made me a good sum of money each night. My managers were very accommodating towards me as well, and would even make me vegan meals during my breaks which was awesome! I think the most positive thing that came out of working in non-vegan restaurants was that I got many questions about my vegan lifestyle from coworkers and customers. I was able to share parts of my lifestyle choices with these people, and some of them even began to eat more vegan meals! So the ability for me to influence others was definitely worthwhile :).
This past summer, I was given the opportunity to work at a newly established smoothie/juice bar near my apartment in Erie, Pennsylvania. While here, I made smoothies and juices from only whole fruits and vegetables. They also sold grab and go food and hot brunch specials, which a majority was vegan. I have to say that this was probably the most enjoyable job I had ever worked at. It aligned with my values and morals, and I was able to eat almost anything that was sold here!
Overall, I would say that I found the most enjoyment and fulfillment from being employed in a vegan establishment. I felt excited to work and I never felt like I was being hypocritical by contributing to something that I didn’t believe in. However, it’s all a personal decision based on how you feel and can handle situations in this environment!
Choosing a career path as a vegan is a much harder task to do then just the black and white question of “should I work for a vegan business or not?”. If you choose to go to college, there are millions of career options to choose, and sometimes being vegan doesn’t even come into play.
My best advice for someone looking to pursue a career that aligns with vegan values is this: 1. Act as if veganism wasn’t in part of your career equation. 2. Choose the career that you are most passionate about. 3. Tailor the way you carry out your career to align with your values, even if that is not the norm.
For an example to go off of, I will give you insight into my career choice. I wanted to get involved in the medical field long before I ever changed to a vegan lifestyle. I chose to go to school to become a physician assistant about a year before I went vegan. You can imagine all of the moral issues I ran into when I decided to switch my lifestyle. I no longer knew if I wanted to become involved in the medical field because I felt as if no emphasis was placed on diet and lifestyle choices in this field. I felt as if the medical field was corrupt and that the only thing they did was prescribe medications to mask problems that arose from poor lifestyle choices. Which is about 99.9999% accurate.
I have recently come to terms with this however. I have decided to embrace becoming a physician assistant and use my knowledge about lifestyle changes to guide my patients in the right direction. I am passionate about helping people with their health. I may not agree 100% with the medical systems ways, but I can tailor my medical practices to a holistic approach that aligns with my morals and values.
So as you can see, it is not so hard to tailor a career choice that you are passionate about to align with your morals and values in life! Take this into consideration, and I wish you the very best of luck in choosing a job or career path! 🙂