2 thoughts on “Are you working around someone?

  1. Chris,

    Thank you for your insights into a subject which is a significant challenge for those wanting to balance respecting the needs of individuals as well as the integrity of the organizations that employ their talents.

    I appreciate your suggestions for how to address and correct working around people. Of the four, creating and privileging a culture of speaking honestly over politeness stands out as quite difficult to navigate.

    I think this may be particularly acute in organizations, such as non-profits, whose missions are less discrete than a company where inputs and outputs are more objectively quantifiable.

    There can be a trope toward romanticizing the value of someone who 'embodies' an ethic or role, particularly one that lives near the heart of it's constituent members and, perhaps, seems undervalued in the local or wider community.

    This may lead to a hesitation in critically assessing their performance: separating out the work from the person.

    And yet, ideally, if the work is valuable, both parties will seek honest appraisal over politeness - rigorous and transparent process over the desire to ensure no one's feelings are hurt.

    Separating the work one performs from their being, their personhood, is, in itself, a complicated relationship in our culture.

    Again, thinking of social service agencies, non-profits and religious organizations, I know that one's identification of vocation in the context of a spiritual 'call' can make candid job assessment seem coarse and impolite. I believe it is possible to honor that sensibility while still setting forward clear expectations, but such a relationship necessitates an even more explicit understanding of what is being evaluated.

    I am still weighing the merits of having very clear boundaries between a 'work life' and 'home life', something that seems like a vestige from another generation, and yet which might serve as a needful firewall for the cultivation of a healthy self.

    It might be useful to break off here, as the questions rising are becoming more philosophical in nature: is it unhealthy to strongly identify with one's work? why do we monetize and value certain kinds of work the way we do?

    Thanks again, Chris, for this rich exploration.

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