Bringing Jesus to the Workplace

office buildingDo 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?

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Cara Callbeck holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and works in the public sector as a human resources professional. Cara recently completed the Spiritual Exercises and has since felt quite drawn to Ignatian spirituality. She is now on a quest to learn more and grow and to incorporate Ignatian spirituality in her life as a professional, mother, and “woman for others.” Cara lives in the Canadian Prairies with the two greatest blessings in her life—her husband and daughter.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Cara, your mindfulness in treating employees with compassion and respect in administering just consequences for their actions speaks volumes about what it means to live one’s faith. We can’t always know what leads people to behave in a self-defeating manner, and it isn’t our place to condemn, but we can always bring Christ’s love to them through our thoughts, words and prayers.

  2. I am retired now, but previously worked as a teacher in a corrections facility. I tried to make sure the original assessment was in private. Often someone had dropped out of school because of pregnancy, drugs, or learning disabilities. I tried to create a safe and confidential atmosphere so the resident could feel more comfortable. Ann

  3. Thank you, Cara, for sharing this reflection on our Baptismal call!
    We wore that “white garment” at Baptism, and have been called to “wear” Christ out there in the world…workplace included!
    As a visiting nurse, I am especially mindful of God’s presence in the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
    There are days when I receive blessings from hearing my patients stories…
    Yesterday, a 99 y.o. woman shared some advice that her East Indian physician gave her about getting a good night’s sleep…”Before you go to sleep, put your troubles into your hands and lift them up to God. Ask Him to hold them for you, and care for them, while you sleep.”
    I loved hearing that faith prescription from my workplace.
    Praying for your employees….reminds me to pray for my patients, caregivers and doctors, too.

  4. Cara, this is very inspiring and empowering. I also worked in human resources and my desire was to be present to each person. It isn’t easy to be in your position; however, you bring an unspoken compassion by your very presence. We also owe it to people to explain the reasons for what we need to do, no matter what our position in the workplace. Treating others with respect is what Jesus calls us to do.

  5. For sure, “‘Telling someone they’re fired, “But don’t forget Jesus loves you and I’ll pray for you,’” is as helpful as saying sorry you lost your loved one but it was God’s will. Guess whom they don’t like now. As far as feeling guilty for firing someone for not doing their job or following protocol, they make their own choices — they reap what they sow. Jesus was always warning us about that.
    As for letting Jesus into my office I work alone so I need him beside me constantly so I don’t forget who the real boss is here.

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