Currently, I work at home taking calls for tech support for a cable company. I work to help solve customers' issues as best as possible over the phone and send a technician if need be. The one thing I have been able to get past now is getting people onto the newest service available. The way that I see this being right livelihood is due to the fact that I am relieving suffering through poor cable services and possibly stress with paying too much (only sometimes is it paying more for the new service). I would like some thoughts on this as this has been running through my mind lately. No harm is being done through this job from what I can tell.

Thanks in advance and Big Love!

  • Welcome to this Stack Exchange! As it stands, imho, this post is more like a call for opinions than a concrete question. I would suggest that you add a question (however broad it may be) to make your post more useful for other readers. Metta.
    – arturovm
    May 4, 2021 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


At the core of The Right Livelihood training rule is the same principle as behind the rest of the Eightfold Path: to stop creating causes of suffering.

The jobs and professions that involve creating suffering, either directly - by killing or torturing others, or indirectly - by creating latent conditions for conflict, confusion, physical or mental sickness etc - are obviously unwholesome.

Jobs that focus on healing, rescuing, reconciling, educating about healthy lifestyles, etc. - in other words those that create direct or indirect causes of peace and harmony - are obviously wholesome.

Everything else falls somewhere in between. A job that you describe definitely falls on the "good" side of the spectrum, since like you said it saves the people from frustration and reconciles the potential conflict between them and the company providing the service.

Perhaps if you transmit enough warmth in your communication you can even make a deep and long-lasting difference in someone's life. This definitely sounds like a good livelihood, in my opinion.

  • 1
    Thank you so much! This helped a lot, and having warmth in my tone is something I work hard to ensure is coming across while over the phone as it is much harder that way when body language is taken out of the equation.
    – Nick H
    May 1, 2021 at 17:24

As long as a person engages in professions or businesses or trades that do not fall in one of the five types of unwholesome businesses or trades stated below and undertakes the observance of the five precepts stated below, it is considered fulfilling the criteria of Right Livelihood for lay followers.

From Vanijja Sutta:

“Mendicants, a lay follower should not engage in these five trades. What five? Trade in weapons, living creatures, meat, intoxicants, and poisons. A lay follower should not engage in these five trades.”

A business in living creatures is like prostitution or slavery. Intoxicants refer to alcohol and recreational drugs.

The five precepts:

  1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  2. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
  5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Incorrect speech here refers mainly to telling lies or misleading others. Sexual misconduct refers mainly to infidelity and adultery i.e. cheating or inducing the cheating of a partner in a committed exclusive relationship.

Professions like butcher or soldier may violate the first precept.

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