Buddhist @ work – part 3

I had wanted to do a series on practical Buddhism for our workplace but did not know how to start until I encountered a sermon by a Thai monk (Luang Por Jarun) recently. That sermon was translated from Thai into Chinese and I am happy to translate it into English for sharing.

The sermon contents by Luang Por are in yellow boxes. My comments are not coloured.

How to make your boss like you?

There are 3 types of bosses. [1] Employers, property owners, company owners [2] Supervisors, managers, directors. (My personal note: Those that are above us on the org chart) [3] Colleagues who assigned tasks to us.

2. Preserve and maintain our workplace cleanliness and tidiness.

This advice is actually steep in Buddhist practice. Even Buddha performs area cleaning when he was alive. A monk even attained enlightenment by sweeping the floor. Convinced yet? When we help to keep our workspace clean and tidy, we are also being considerate to the janitor/cleaner. We help to lessen their workload. Therefore, maintaining cleanliness is not limited to our desk or workspace but extends to the toilet, pantry, and other common areas.

Besides our physical space, we should also keep our “tools of trade” clean and tidy. For an office worker, this includes our files on the computer. Arranging and archiving documents in a cohesive and responsible manner reflects our professionalism.

3. Try your best to rectify any mess without your boss having to ask you

In our modern language that means we should be proactive in our job. Take the initiative to improve our workplace and work process. When we do that, we change our work environment for the better. Naturally, we should get the approval of bosses before doing so.

Our sincerity to improve our work environment should be the result of compassion. This is because we know that such improvement will help our fellow teammates as well.

4. Engage in useful work and don’t be calculative. Try to contribute more than what we are being paid for.

This advice is actually very useful because it grasps our monkey mind from discontentment. I am not saying that we will not fight for a pay raise when the opportunity arises. But most of the time, our monkey minds can be delusional and create a super ego for ourselves. When we are constantly discontented with our pay, we no longer work happily.

Personally, I would try my best to do beyond my work scope (with my boss’s approval). That way, I will usually do better during the appraisal.

Another key phrase in this advice is “Useful work”. What we think is valuable may be worthless to others. That is why it is important for us to consult with our bosses. There is no use bulldozing our way through work and then feeling disgruntled when our bosses do not appreciate the extra work we do. Wise right?

Last but not least is the Buddhist concept of Karma. When we do more than what we are paid for, we clear away our bad karma too. In this case, we imagine Karma to be like a balance sheet. Bad Karmic debt can be “paid” off in this manner when our motive is pure and kind.

That’s all for this week.

To be continued.

May all be well and happy.

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