Minute 730: Commissions

Harry had always worked for a fixed salary. It was nice to know a paycheck was issued by direct deposit every Thursday, but the downside was that his income was fixed annually in a year-end, review and salary adjustment meeting. When he performed successfully, the company might have profited — but he didn’t see anything in his pocket. At his new job, however, he had the chance to “score big.” He drew very little salary on a weekly basis, but if he could produce sales he would earn substantial commissions.

Unfortunately, by the end of the third month he began to feel the “pinch” created by his pittance of a salary. Commissions were minimal because sales were almost non-existent. Bills were piling up in unopened envelopes and the lack of available cash was becoming a shalom bayit issue.

Over lunch with a fellow salesman, Harry admitted, “I never imagined it would be so hard to produce sales. I’m working harder than ever before but just not clicking.”

“We don’t get paid for effort,” his colleague replied. “We get paid for results. No orders, no commissions. That’s what you signed on for when you joined the company. Keep at it. Maybe tomorrow things will start to happen for you.”

In the world of business, results are what counts. In the world of the spirit, intentions also count. “If a person intended to do a mitzvah and wasn’t able to do it because of external circumstances, it is considered as if he actually did it” (Berachot 6a). Our Creator pays for intentions as well as results. Try your best and your good intentions will reap commissions — whether you “make the sale” or not.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

There are people who want to do good for others; for a person who enjoys doing good for others, meeting a friend is a source of joy. He greets him pleasantly. He may be afraid that perhaps he has not hit exactly the right note with him — perhaps he has said something wrong. What pains him most is the pain of having offended someone, or of having withheld a kindness. (Chazon Ish, Faith and Trust, pp. 24–26)


Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.