Thursday, May 23, 2013
Only If Necessary, Use Words
Sunday, September 06, 2009 Comments (0)
The Adecco Group is an international provider of human resource solutions. Consequently, they are constantly checking the pulse of the workplace in order to stay abreast of critical issues. Last year, they conducted a survey of workers in the United States, asking them to identify topics of conversation they considered to be “off limits” at work. Here are the top five responses:
· Religion – 29%
· Office gossip – 27%
· Personal life – 16%
· Politics – 14%
· Money – 14%
My first reaction is, “Well, what then is there to talk about?” Aside from sports, what other topics can be discussed in order to connect with colleagues on some sort of personal level? But then I understand how most workers want to be left alone to focus on their business and how so many of these topics can cross the line of good taste and leave someone uncomfortable.
Still, I would guess that every one of these topics gets mentioned in the workplace on almost a daily basis. But they come up, only after a level of trust has been developed and people feel safe broaching them during “down times.”
My interest, of course, is on the topic of religion, which received the top rating of topics to be avoided. As the Labor Day weekend draws near, I see this as a time to ponder how we can bridge our worship and work in faithful and heavy ways. I believe Christians can and should speak about their faith to their colleagues, but I also understand that we must earn the right to speak by living in such a way that our words have credibility.
A good guide in this respect is a quote from St. Francis of Assisi. As you know, St. Francis was a 13th century monk who sought to live his faith in ways that might transform his world. The Order he founded, the Franciscans, have continued to seek such transformation as their goal. St. Francis taught his followers, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Francis understood that words and deeds are both necessary to change society.
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