Lining Things Up: How To Align Your Ethics With Your 9-5



Becoming an ethical vegan is a learning process filled with passion and a desire to change the status quo. So it’s fairly common to see a person who is changing their diet then change the clothes they wear, and maybe the personal care and household products they use. But somewhere along the line, as that person “veganizes” their life, it may also happen that they start thinking about their working life, and how they can bring it into alignment with their values.

Once a new vegan’s heart and mind have opened to a more compassionate existence many find themselves discontent with their mainstream jobs or careers, and feel like they want to contribute more to the vegan movement through the daily work they do. And yet this idea may feel overwhelming!

“Do I have to leave my job?” “What am I going to do now?” “I don’t even cook that well….” “Am I going to be able to make any money?” are all questions and thoughts we hear often in this situation. But don’t worry!

Veganizing your 9-5 can be achieved in a number of different ways, and even if the fit is not immediately apparent, you will ultimately be starting to align your ethics with your career.

You may not be a vegan chef or a product manufacturer, so how can you make this transition? Well, the first thing to remember is that veganism is much more than a diet. It’s a lifestyle choice, which means that career options and possibilities reach far beyond what we eat. The vegan business world needs designers, engineers, project managers, writers, and plumbers.

Maybe you’re an accountant or financial planner. Have you considered marketing your services specifically (though not necessarily exclusively) to vegan business owners? Not only would they benefit from your experience, but you might be able to provide a unique perspective because of your shared value system. For example, you could help clients structure their business correctly as they prepare to donate a percentage of their proceeds to an animal sanctuary. Or maybe you’ll advise them on investment funds that don’t include companies with ties to animal testing. Vegans often prefer to work with and support other vegans, so if you’re a vegan professional and vegans are not one of your target markets, what are you waiting for?

Imagine being known as the hairdresser who offers services with 100% vegan products, or the spa that only uses whole, plant-based products. What’s great about this approach is it doesn’t require you quitting your day job; it only means expanding your reach to the vegan and health-conscious community. Another way to share your skills is to work as a freelancer. This is a great way to earn money on weekends and evenings without disrupting your full-time job. As an editor, interior designer, architect, make-up artist or teacher you can work on quick projects or as a surge resource for institutions, businesses or families. With online sites like Elance, Odesk and Craig’s List, it’s becoming easier to find short-term projects that provide exposure, experience and revenue. Sometimes these starting opportunities turn into longer-term vegan job offers.

In addition to reaching out to the veg community, consider bringing veganism into your current workplace. We don’t mean handing out pamphlets (although it never hurts to have some in your briefcase in case people start asking you questions). But what we’re talking about is helping your employer to become more veg-friendly. This might be by offering vegan options, promoting products that are vegan, or encouraging a transition away from unethical practices like animal testing. Change must happen from everywhere, including from within; and many small business owners are eager to leave a lasting legacy.

Ready to make a change but trying to decide where to jump in? Here’s your to-do list:

  • Assess your skills. We all have strengths and talents to offer, so get in touch with your inner expert by making a list of all the things you do well.
  • Create a list of what you could do with these skills. It might be captivating a crowd, building amazing product packaging, leading teams, finding talent or securing deals.
  • Once you understand your unique offering decide how you would like to use these skills. Make a plan that identifies who you would like to help and how. Successfully veganizing your 9-5 requires a special mixture of talent, passion and a dedicated drive for excellence. So develop your own mix and let it shine!

Understand that veganizing your work life is likely to be a process…you may not find that perfect vegan job right away, and building a vegan business is a commitment that takes an investment of time and money. But there’s always room to do something and get started, even if it’s part time for now, or maybe volunteering to help another vegan organization or business on their way.

Always remember, what makes a business vegan is the person behind it.

A new, better business paradigm is reinforced every time a vegan combines their value system with their career path. As vegan professionals, our choices are influenced by an ethical framework. This refreshing approach to business creates an influx of pseudo-inventors as we look for ways to provide new services, opportunities, and products that don’t harm animals or the planet. Additionally, the compassion that’s born from vegan ideals often translates into our business approaches, handling of partnerships, and acceptance of individualism in the workplace. As trailblazers, we are not bound by the status quo; we have the ability to change the world not just one plate at a time, but one business at a time.

If you’re looking for a vegan job, or a vegan employee, don’t forget to register your resume or job posting with the Vegan Mainstream Job Board. You can do that here:

Take Action

Get inspired! Complete the to-do list above, and write down three possible ways you can align your ethics with your work moving forward.

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To help our community build better and stronger businesses, we offer free vegan business planning and training guides. Our training guides are organized by topic, so you can quickly and easily find a collection of information on the subject you’re interested in. Read individual articles online, or download a whole guide to read at your leisure.

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