You see it every time. This unraveling of a human being full of soul into lifelessness akin to a doll, brought about by the overbearing crack of the whip from “leaders”. The desensitization of the workplace has been an ongoing problem. I’ve watched several teams dissolve simply because the authority refuses to believe they cannot be the authority forever. Yet, here we are again, finding ourselves reacting to the crumbling when leadership could’ve simply been proactive in stabilizing the foundation which made this job a good find.
It has happened in different ways several times, as if peering through the window into a multiverse, if such things existed. A person comes in, excited, ready to work, ready to earn, and ready to help. They settle in, showing their true nature, because humans can only pretend for so long. They deal with the frustrations of the job, knowing that things can’t always stay the same and people don’t remain kind after you’ve been working with them for a while. They become discouraged because troubles are seen and ignored. They withhold their best because they feel their complaints have been ignored by supervisors, managers, owners, and commanding officers. Their cheerfulness degrades into numbness, hopelessness, or anger. They quit.
Sometimes, this happening is just one person. Sometimes, this cycle includes the whole staff. People sign up for jobs they don’t know the full depth of. They didn’t know it’d require a certain amount of effort, efficiency, or consistency. It’s almost as if they didn’t know what the job was to begin with. They only knew the demand in theory because the job description never details the work week as it is.
They don’t tell you your manager likes to talk down on people in front of the whole staff, or that the job refuses to keep its office fully staffed. They don’t tell you that the manager is arrogant and condescending to his or her subordinates. They don’t tell you that the customers think less of you than the rats walking the gutters of the streets. They don’t tell you that you will have to do the work of two people because one person can’t keep up. No. Occupations are never that honest. It’d require them to improve or pay more in order to employ you.
How many have found out there’s an unchecked racist in the office? How many have discovered an overt sexist in leadership? Who has discovered the pervert running amuck? How many have found out that there is a manager with so little time on their hands that they use that free time to micromanage those who are busy with work? How many of you have found that the workplace culture is toxic, destructive, and borderline traumatizing? Yet, they want you to believe that what they pay is enough for them to treat you any kind of way.
They tell you, “You should be happy to have a job,” as if you can’t feel abused after the last time your manager talked to you sideways. They don’t see that you’re very close to punching your coworker if she puts your name in her mouth one more time. They don’t see that their “livable wages” leave you with cancerous meals, neighbors who like to shoot each other, or homes that are infested, crumbling, and moldy. No. They ignore what really matters until it becomes disruptive to their own work and lives. Then, they blame you as if you wanted to become this disruption.
To my people in authority, when did it become okay to ignore the terrible work environment? You simply watch as people bully one person at the job? You ignore the fact that a parent can’t be with their child as much as they want because the work is too demanding? We say, “It’s not my problem,” when a coworker’s health deteriorates because of the high and costly work hours? Why are we so comfortable watching the morale of our office tank?
Where are the celebrations, the thank you’s, or the humble, appreciative compliments? Are we really so wrapped up in our own authority, command, education, and title that we think we are the only group worth paying attention to and listening to? Have we gotten so occupied with pleasing our bosses that we forget about those who we are in charge of?
I can say I’ve learned a lot from watching how people in leadership treat those in the workforce. I am blessed to say I’ve had a lot of good bosses, but I’ve also had some terrible ones. I don’t understand why anyone would volunteer to be a lesson on what kind of boss not to be, but here we are with a list of prayers against those lessons:
I pray I do not lie. I pray I do not promise a promotion that will not be available. I pray I do not lie and say I hired someone as a worker under my employ when I’ve instead hired them as a contract employee who must pay higher taxes in the next year. I pray I do not tell someone they can take off, only to return to them and say they can no longer be off after they’ve already made plans. I pray I am not dishonest just to keep people working, but rather, I pray I am more considerate of others and truthful.
I pray I do not show favoritism. I pray I recognize when one person is able to take off the most, come in the latest, and be away from their desk the longest. I pray I am always fair and just with those under my leadership. I pray I do not treat the worst employee worse than the best employee, but rather giving grace where grace is required and reward where blessing is required. I hope I am more attentive to the patterns and more conscious of the perception by my staff.
I pray I do not bully anyone. I pray my actions always be light-hearted and my intentions to uplift rather than tear down. I pray I am always encouraging and always defending those who are being talked about behind their back. I pray I am also wiser with my words whether in front of them or behind their back. I pray no one ever calls me a bully and mean it. I pray I recognize when conversations need to be had in private and not out in the middle of the office for all people to hear and tease about later.
I pray I remain humble. I pray I continue to recognize that my success is dependent on the success of those under my leadership. I pray I always think to thank them, bless them, and pour appreciative comments down on them. I pray I never boast of my title, ability, education, or authority as if God can’t replace me with anyone at anytime from anywhere should He see fit.
I pray I am never racist, sexist, prejudice, perverted, or pious in my action or thought. I pray I treat the atheist as the Christian, the man as the woman, and the like-minded as the opposing thought. I pray I always let God deal with people on their sin, never trying to step in and play judge, jury, officer, or executioner. May the fairness and justice of God always be reflected in my actions. May no one ever feel like I was against them because they didn’t look like, think like, or work as hard as me. Let me always show the love of God most and foremost in my actions.
I pray I never micromanage, but show grace when grace is required. May I use my free time to always find new ways to bless my employees, make their jobs easier, or provide encouraging words. I pray I am not the one asking, “What are you doing?” when coworkers decide to talk for a minute instead of work, being the hypocrite as I could also be finding some work to do. I pray I do not let the title of manager or supervisor become the excuse for meddling. I pray I do not allow gossip or ill-gotten rumors spread. I pray I do not become the employer that makes people do work outside of the job description just so they won’t be “stealing” money by working on their own lives in the free time they’ve earned by completing their work early.
I pray I am never okay with someone living in a dangerous neighborhood while I live in a mansion. May I always pay my employees a true livable wage, giving my employees the option to have a safe neighborhood to afford. If I cannot afford to do that, may I at least find a way to make sure those who can’t afford a safer home have peace in the workplace. I pray I do not add stress at the job but always create peace.
I pray I am not petty, refusing to assist someone because I do not like them. I pray that I am considerate of their feelings, even if they went above my head to complain about me. I pray I never laugh at someone because they’ve made their work harder than it should be, but that I remain willing to teach better ways and help when someone is falling behind. I pray I remain considerate on my bad days and my good days.
I pray that I never demean someone else’s suffering. I pray I am always kind and considerate. I pray that when we are low on staff, I am more understanding, never telling someone, “Quit if you don’t like it,” but rather fostering a solution to the problem. Help me to be wiser with staffing, circumstances, and compassion. Help me to always understand that my lengthy experience does not negate wisdom from a new worker. Help me to remain humble in knowing that what I went through doesn’t mean the next person has to go through it. It can, and should, always be better for those who follow after me. Anyone inheriting my position should always have it better than I did.
I pray I do not prioritize the company over the people. I pray I do not fire someone because they don’t want to work for my organization for the rest of their life. I pray I do not look at someone near retirement and think I can’t hire them because they won’t give me many years of work. May I never try to trap people in their position, but always cheer them on if they feel they need to leave my employ. I pray I do not treat people as numbers or expenses, never learning their names or lives, or thinking their value is only as good as the money they make me. I pray I do not fake writeups, provide terrible reviews to future employers, or do anything to jeopardize someone leaving my team. May I always love them for what they put in during the short or long time that I have the opportunity to lead them.
I pray I am always an exemplary leader, leading by example rather than by word. I pray I do not become so lazy that my employees think it a waste of time to come to me with any problem. I pray I am not so lazy that I refuse to learn the ins and outs of the job I am assigned to. I pray I do not become the leader that relies upon someone else to find a solution because I never took the time to learn the jobs of those under my authority. I pray I know everyone’s role and what they do, so I can step in, should they need me to, and help do their job as well.
I pray I am never a lover of money, but rather using the tool to bless the people You have placed in my path. May I never attack someone just to get a promotion. May I never kiss up to someone just to get a pay raise. May my work be great in everything that I do, working as unto You, and may that get me the promotions and raises above all else. Let Your integrity be hands molding my character. I pray I am always a reflection of You, Lord Jesus, never letting the work culture affect me but letting me affect the work culture. Amen.
I pray that I am never like all of the leaders who betrayed, hurt, or disregarded me. I do not wish to become someone’s lesson. I hope no one ever has the ability to say, “Dario was a terrible boss.” While I do not expect to be perfect, I do expect to set a good example. It is my desire, as given to me by God, to be the kind of person people hate to leave, even if the opportunity ahead is better and even God-given.
To Matthew, Cleveland, Nile, Alex, Chris, Erica, Haynes, Hernandez, Preston, Lillian, Robert, Pardeep, and Norm, I thank each and every one of you for being an awesome leader. I still remember your faces and what you did to make my work environment better. I pray each of you are continuously blessed for what you have done for me and I pray I can be an even better leader than you in the future.
To the people who lost my respect, you are not worthy of villainizing. I will not name you, for your impact was listed in the prayers above. I understand you are human, full of mistakes and at one time put value in titles, wages, authority, and accomplishments. I hope you have learned as I have learned. I thank you for showing me who not to be.
Work is never just a job. It’s never just about surviving, getting a paycheck, or being where you’re supposed to be in order to afford some other things. The job is a place where you can literally have a new family. You can literally make all kinds of lifetime friends. Leaders and workers alike need to show more respect for that environment. People are not just tools for making money. They are masterpieces handcrafted by the only living God. They deserve respect, love, honor, consideration, appreciation, and safety. I hope you grow into a leader or servant who is more concerned with blessing others rather than teaching them who not to be.
P.S.: Below are scriptures for my people who need to readjust their thinking about work.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. - Romans 13:1-2
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. - Colossians 5:22-25
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. – Proverbs 14:23
Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother or sister living irresponsibly and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not irresponsible when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living irresponsibly, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. – 2nd Thessalonians 3:6-10
No one can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. - Matthew 6:24
But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. - 1st Timothy 6: 9-10