Workplace: Making It a Great Place to Be

Mormon Working

Millions of people go to work every day. Some despise it, some endure it, some love it, and some are absorbed by it. The questions in this aspect of life are: “How can we balance our lives with work?” and “How can we truly enjoy work?” Let us make every effort to understand and appreciate all the facets of the workplace, work itself, our relationships with co-workers, future possibilities of promotions and pay increases, the real time commitments, and above all, the ramifications regarding our personal and family life. These considerations are important in order to enjoy life.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: . . . Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house . . . nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:7-9, 15–17).

These excerpts from the Ten Commandments illustrate the code of ethics that pertains to the workplace environment, just as it does to all venues of our activity in this mortal sphere. If our workplace modus operandi is based on enduring principles of truth, then the relationships that develop there will be wholesome, trust will abound, productivity will be promoted, and the gospel cause will be advanced.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). We do not always think of the workplace as the environment of charity; however, if charity does not prevail there, then greed and unrighteous leadership go unchecked. Charity is due all stakeholders in the work environment: employees, employers, shareholders, customers, vendors, and community alliance partners. Charity in the work environment implies a win-win ethic, honest effort for honest pay, rendering value to the customer, and promoting good citizenship and service in the community. We have an obligation to promote charity and good will in all of our professional relationships.

We should never stop learning:

“No service that matters can be given over a lifetime by those who stop learning. A great teacher is always studying. A nurse never stops facing the challenge of dealing with something new, be it equipment or procedure. And the workplace in every industry is changing so rapidly that what we know today will not be enough for tomorrow.

“Our education must never stop. If it ends at the door of the classroom on graduation day, we will fail. And since what we will need to know is hard to discern, we need the help of heaven to know which of the myriad things we could study we would most wisely learn.

“It also means that we cannot waste time entertaining ourselves when we have the chance to read or to listen to whatever will help us learn what is true and useful. Insatiable curiosity will be our hallmark.

“For many of us, the feeling bears down on us that we must choose between spiritual and secular learning. That is a false conflict for most of us, particularly for the young. Before we have families, there is leisure time even in what is our busiest day. Too often we use many hours for fun and pleasure, clothed in the euphemism “I’m recharging my batteries.” Those hours could be spent reading and studying to gain knowledge, skills, and culture” (Henry B. Eyring, “Education for Real Life,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 14).

If subscribed to and adopted, the following four principles can help us enjoy work and help our co-workers enjoy work too.

1. See the big picture.

  • Be a participant in a compelling vision. View yourself not as an isolated link in a chain of production, but as an important part of an overall vision.
  • Do what you love to do.
  • View yourself as an achiever.
  • Put family first. Your work is there to support you in your extraordinary calling as a key member in your own family. Keep your priorities straight.

2. Strive for excellence.

  • Make a personal commitment with yourself to strive for excellence and quality performance.
  • Uphold high standards. Be a person of total honesty and integrity. It makes work fulfilling.
  • Know your duties. Be sure you understand your job description and all that is expected of you.
  • Communicate with clarity.
  • Use your creative mind. Use your talents and ingenuity to find ways to improve quality and productivity.
  • Make yourself indispensable. Make sure your performance is such that you would be sorely missed, even considered indispensable. There is security in that kind of performance.
  • Understand how you are being measured and evaluated. Make sure that you keep your own score and be prepared with evidence of your contributions.

3. Be a team player.

  • Compliment and praise with genuine appreciation. Your environment will be magically transformed.
  • Be cheerful and pleasant around your family and co-workers.
  • Build relationships based on trust and respect for the individual.
  • Keep confidences. Don’t be a party to gossip, fault-finding, or laying blame. Be a constructive source of achievement in your daily duties.
  • Show initiative wherever you serve. Leadership is the ability to mobilize people in a good cause. Whether your associates are superiors or subordinates, you can contribute to their momentum through enthusiasm and being a good example of productivity.

4. Never stop learning.

  • Learn and study to move forward in your position. Seek out those who are successful in your trade and talk to them.
  • Advance through skills. How you perform your duties will in large measure fuel your professional rise. Find a way to do it better, cheaper, faster. Add more value to your company and its customers.
  • Put special emphasis on improving interpersonal abilities, decision-making, creative problem-solving, self-control, and self-mastery.

This list of recommendations could be enlarged to include many other aspects of life within the workplace. Remember, everyone needs help, and everyone really wants to feel good about his or her work. One individual can make all the difference at work because of his or her cheerful, positive outlook and true desire to help everyone feel good in the workplace. You can be such a person.

The work environment is—along with our family life, our church life, and our community life—one of the most important venues of our existence. We are to earn our living by the sweat of our brow; we are to be good productive citizens; we are to contribute to the building up of our communities and nation. That takes effort, learning, skill, and innovation. The workplace becomes a showplace for our values and standards. If we reflect in our dealings the principles of honesty, integrity, concern for others, and if we promote honorable outcomes for all stakeholders in the enterprise, then we have contributed to the cultivation of friendship, charitable relationships, and the reflection of Christian values. If we balance home life with professional endeavors, leaving ample time for the primary role of parenting and home-building, then we are more likely to find happiness and joy. Let us give our due to our employer; let us provide lasting satisfaction to our customers; let us develop our professional talents to the maximum in order to ensure that our contributions to society are generous and honorable. But let us always remember at the same time to honor our special obligations to family and God. It is in a proper balance that we find harmony, peace, and fulfillment.

This article has been adapted from What We Need to Know and Do, by Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen

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