Do you bring Jesus to work with you? Perhaps, like me, you suspect that Jesus would not be too popular in your workplace. I work in the public sector as a labour relations specialist. I deal with people in their lowest moments—discipline, medical issues preventing them from being at work, performance struggles, even terminations. How do I bring my faith into such an environment? Telling someone they’re fired, “But don’t forget Jesus loves you and I’ll pray for you,” would quite likely get me in trouble. Advising an employee struggling with performance to lay his struggles at the foot of the cross might well land me a harassment complaint. How am I contributing to the “greater glory of God” when I am working on a case to terminate someone’s employment, leaving her without an income to support her family? In the professional world, it can sometimes feel like faith and work are at odds with each other.
It’s been my ongoing project to finds ways to bring Jesus to work with me—to remember who I am even in the context of my work—and some days are better than others. I think St. Francis of Assisi can give us a good starting point with the adage he is said to have offered, “Go out and preach the Gospel; if necessary, use words.”
It’s not so much in our words but in our actions that we can practice our faith at work. There are no rules against praying for those employees I know are struggling. I can always be mindful to treat each employee with compassion and respect in administering just consequences for their actions. I make an effort to find God in the struggling employees, frustrated managers, and in the support and collegiality of my coworkers. I try to be truly present to everyone I deal with by avoiding the temptation to check my e-mail while we are talking. These might seem like small things, but they are nonetheless letting Jesus into the door at work, and that’s a start.
How do you let Jesus into your office?