I work in an off-licence. What to do?

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I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby EnirehtacNI » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:13 pm

Hi everyone!

I started working in an off-licence at the start of December as a part-time job doing 7+ hours a week. I'm 18 and I'm still in education, though in September that could all change and I might have to leave my job and move away. Though, I might still be at home for another 2 years in college to work on and improve my A Levels which means I'll be keeping the job.

So far it's going ok and I'm still being trained. We sell alcohol and tobacco and we're always strict about who we sell to especially if they look underage or if they come in drunk as it's our policy to refuse anyone who we deem unresponsible.

I enjoy my part-time job and it's my first ever job. I enjoy dealing with the public especially the friendly local ones who stand and talk to you for a while and the responsibility of dealing with money. I wanted the job for gaining experience and having responsibilities and something to add to my CV to help me along in my career. The money side of things is just a bonus which will help me with my studies and help me become independent.

I dip in and out of Buddhism which I don't know if it's good or bad and I know I should really try a bit harder live by Buddha's teachings but I feel that maybe I've taken the wrong step in life and should have at least found a job in not selling alcohol and tobacco. I don't feel bad at the time when selling to people but when I reflect on the teachings I start to feel bad. Will it affect my Karma and things? What should I do? I don't really want to leave my job because I've only just started.

Thank you for taking your time to read!
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:34 pm

Its a difficult issue

My personal advice would be to leave and change your job as soon as the time is right. In the mean time continue to be strict in who you sell the tobacco and alcohol to
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:51 pm

It sounds like you have a good moral compass and between that and the rules society has in place governing the sale of alcohol and tobacco, it doesnt sound to me that you are doing much, if any, harm. If you werent there, someone less responsible and ethical might be.

In fact i think you should be congratulated at your age to have the depth of consideration that you do for your fellow beings and your own responsibilities to them.

My advice would be to keep doing what you are doing, enjoying your job, and following through with your plan :)

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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby nalandaleong » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:41 am

since this is not a regular job but just something to gain experience from and a few bucks to spend, then I would suggest that you start looking for another more holistic part time job to start off. Please DROP it like a hot potato. I am sure there a lots of alternatives for such an enterprising and hardworking guy like you.

The fact that this job is already getting on your conscience is exactly giving you a hint on what you think RIGHT LIVELIHOOD should be...a big SADHU to you on your high moral principles at such a young age. It will put many grown-ups to shame.
things when done on a regular basis do tend to become a habit which may stick...guess those hardcore drug peddlars/criminals out to make a few bucks at first started off the same way.

With metta.
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:46 am

clw_uk wrote:Its a difficult issue

My personal advice would be to leave and change your job as soon as the time is right. In the mean time continue to be strict in who you sell the tobacco and alcohol to



Seconded, lets not get all moralistic here, there are no jobs free of vipaka. Dont rush away, review your situation and take appropriate and considered action accordingly.
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:48 am

nalandaleong wrote:since this is not a regular job but just something to gain experience from and a few bucks to spend, then I would suggest that you start looking for another more holistic part time job to start off. Please DROP it like a hot potato. I am sure there a lots of alternatives for such an enterprising and hardworking guy like you.

The fact that this job is already getting on your conscience is exactly giving you a hint on what you think RIGHT LIVELIHOOD should be...a big SADHU to you on your high moral principles at such a young age. It will put many grown-ups to shame.
things when done on a regular basis do tend to become a habit which may stick...guess those hardcore drug peddlars/criminals out to make a few bucks at first started off the same way.

With metta.

Thats called the " slippery slope " arguement and is seldom useful.
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:54 am

Well, you are not the producer of alc and tobbacco, nor retail it, which would constitute dealing in "bad stuff".

You are also not the one who orders this for his shop for the purpose of reselling hazardous things.

You are an 18 years old selling what is already there.

It is imo more important that you make some extra cash to sustain yourself and pay your studies than be unemployed and a burden on others.

If you find something better, go for it, but as long as you don't and can't -well, you decide.


I would NOT kill or trade animals for the purpose of killing them, nor host a cigarette machine to make money.

Hope that helps?
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:56 am

It just made me think about selling pets.

That would do me in....I would probably be stressed out if I am really giving them into good hands.

Waahh... :(
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:07 am

Hello all,

This might be of use:

[Definition of right livelihood, the fifth step in the Noble Eightfold Path:]
Abstaining from livelihoods involving trading in weapons, human beings, meat, intoxicating drinks, and poisons.
(Anguttara Nikaya V.177)

with metta
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby nalandaleong » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:20 am

Refraining from intoxicants is one of the five precepts. and tobacco is proven beyond a doubt to be harmful to health.
So unless this job is your only bread and butter which you and your family depends on for your daily sustenance then I don't see a real problem in changing jobs.
Of course if this is a long entrenched family business then you should really think over this very carefully and to change gradually and in the proper time.
BTW I think this ''sliding rule'' principle is still very much relevant and applicable in this modern age . Whether progressing towards good or bad it is always done in small steps.
with Metta.
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby PeterB » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:27 am

The vast overwhelming majority of those who work in off licenses do not go on to become drug dealers...neither do their customers..
There may be all sorts of good reasons to consider alternative options , but lets not resort to hyperbole....
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby nalandaleong » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:55 am

PeterB wrote:The vast overwhelming majority of those who work in off licenses do not go on to become drug dealers...neither do their customers..
There may be all sorts of good reasons to consider alternative options , but lets not resort to hyperbole....


That's probably true but if one is really earnest in adopting Buddhism as his way of life then right effort should be exerted to start off on the correct footing.
what is at stake here is just a part-time job for some pocket money vs a clear conscience in taking the first correct step in the long and treacherous dhamma journey.
This approach is definitely more beneficial once one embark on a proper career path after graduation.
I am sure the writer already has some course of action in mind when he post this thread and just need an assurance to prod him in the right direction.
with Metta.
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Re: I work in an off-licence. What to do?

Postby EnirehtacNI » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:04 pm

Thanks all who have replied to my problem. I wanted to seek some guidence from those who know better about the teachings. I know the job I have at the minute may have a negative effect on me but I'm thinking it might help me in the long term. I may receive money from the job to help me progress my studies but would also help my understanding about the teachings as it is applied to my current situation. Both my parents are retired so I'm trying not to rely on them so much by getting this part-time job so they can save their money. I think the whole negativity of the job has turned into something positive as I have and still am learning from it and applying what I have learnt from Buddhism to another situtation whereby I can maybe act more thoughtfully in the future.

However, I still have a problem...

Cooran highlighted;
Definition of right livelihood, the fifth step in the Noble Eightfold Path:]
Abstaining from livelihoods involving trading in weapons, human beings, meat, intoxicating drinks, and poisons.
(Anguttara Nikaya V.177)


I'm on the path studying towards starting a Biomedical Science degree which involves cell pathology, tissue diseases and the like which involves running tests on tissues and cells from those who have given a sample at hospitals and diagnosing what their problem is. I want to progress onto research instead of working in a hospital, but specifically in pathology and maybe in cancer or diabetes research. Is there a sense that if I sacrifice working with 'bits of people', I might be able progress cancer research and develop a new medical drug or technique which will help a lot of people in the long term? I don't intend to solely do it to make money but to genuinely help people.

With Metta
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