By Rev. Canon S. Sebastian Campbell
WE all must have heard someone say, “love your job and you’ll never have to work again.”
But how do we begin to love our jobs? The barrier between work and home has been removed. Thanks to technology - computers, faxes, cell phones, pagers and laptops - most of us go into the office early, stay late, often work on weekends, have little space for ourselves and our families, and feel tired most of the time.
We are the recipients of stress and wear “burnt-out” as a badge of honour. Many times we beg for sympathy with “poor me” as our life’s chorus. But who notices; in fact who cares? We know our problem, but have no fortitude to rectify it. Too many Bahamians are content being poor and secured in government jobs where they are being knocked over by supervisors, heads of department, etc. who stink with an attitude problem and are steeped in insecurity. We dare say that this inhumane experience is also real in some areas of the private sector. Our prayer must truly be, “from poor attitude, insecurity and bullying on our jobs; good Lord deliver us…….” However, we must never forget, God helps those who help themselves. We are rendered helpless in the court of many of our uncaring and insensitive bosses and there is no court of appeal to give us a second chance for justice. Our system protects many ‘Hitlers’ in the public service, even government ministers complain about the system that perpetuates it and which renders them almost helpless. Until a younger and fearless generation of leaders surfaces we may as well forget about changes. For now, we change governments but the “baloney” stays.
The obvious solution, for now, does not lie so much in changing systems, but in changing the person we see every time we look into a mirror. The route must involve education and training along with intestinal fortitude that will cause us to rise up and do whatever necessary, save that of being rude and ill mannered. Too many feel stuck in their present situation and fail to get up and move out. Why are we afraid of new challenges?
Until we grab hold of ourselves the very thought of what we face at work is enough to make us want to stay in bed. For example:
A boss throws a temper tantrum when his or her plans are thwarted.
A supervisor possesses a management style best described as that of a “bully” or a “Third World dictator”.
A boss takes pleasure in humiliating workers in front of the whole office.
Your superior asks for advice, yet immediately discounts your suggestions.
A manager responds to constructive criticism by questioning your adequacy and your commitment to the job.
Your boss never seeks advice, but pushes his/her ideas down your throat.
The boss has a controlling spirit that renders all subordinates with their training, talents and job description useless.
What we face at the work place, of course, is not only about the boss.
We also endure:
Fifteen hour work days.
Inadequate staff and support, causing never-ending overwork. (This is especially true as long as government has the freeze on hiring).
Guilt about not having an outside life and enough time for
family and friends.
The long wait for Friday to roll around, yet ending up too tired to enjoy it, or so fired up you overdo it.
Sometimes your boss may be a pleasant person, your work interesting and the office environment pleasant, but still do not sit on your laurels. The contemporary work place can be riddled with uncertainties. There is always “streamlining” and “downsizing”. Be versatile. Sucking up can hardly help you in these vulnerable times. Training never stops; have vision, look around corners.
Many of us hate to get up in the morning because we know that someone else has power over us and that we don’t have control over our own lives. As a result we trudge off to work, dreading each weary moment of the coming day. We are unhappy because the work place does not satisfy us. Some days, as you look around your office, or listen to your friends’ gripes it seems that the business world is full of people who have listened to the wrong voice, taken the wrong road, and are now in careers where they find little pleasure or purpose, yourself included.
Work improvement workshops or leadership retreat weekends are of little benefit if healthy people are in a dysfunctional work environment. Even when leaving the dysfunctional workplace, if you find new employment under equally dehumanising conditions, you will find yourself unable to get out of bed in the morning.
There must be a better way. Life was meant to bring happiness. Most people are miserable because of issues with the work place. Healing begins when men and women reflect upon what they were really meant to be, learn how to integrate their values and their belief systems with their work and find inner peace by developing a spiritual approach to work.
All we do in life ought to bring some satisfaction. Too many people only want a ‘job’, job; and it’s only for the money. So the emphasis is wrongly put on the wrong career. The job then is only a stepping stone to another job with more money. It’s like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. We grin and tolerate many an intolerable situation all for the money. Life must be a track for which we equip ourselves so that in this race we might find satisfaction and even joy amid the daily demands of work so that some days, at least, we actually feel like getting up in the morning