Buddhist @ work – part 4

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.

5. Use company resources conscientiously and avoid waste

This advice applies to all manner of trade and any position we hold within an organization. It is not limited to materials and includes all forms of company resources. From power and water to Human Resources, Even the food and drinks in the pantry. By being careful and avoiding waste, we cultivate a mindful approach to our work. Furthermore, we demonstrate respect to the business owners’ expenditure.

If we are wasteful simply because it doesn’t concern our own wallet, then there is actually an element of disregard, We wouldn’t be that wasteful if the resources belongs to our loved ones correct? Therefore, such a wasteful mindset counters our Buddhist practice to treat everybody kindly and equally.

And if we believe in Karma, then we ought to know that whatever we do unto others, we will receive in kind in the future, Also, with global warming and resource depletion weighing upon humanity, preventing wastefulness is something that we ought to practice for the benefit of all.

6. Develop a loving and caring mindset towards our work-related maters, affairs and resources.

While the previous advice relates to not wasting resources. This advice tells us to have a caring mindset towards all work-related affairs. In this regard, we should use the company resources with care and refrain from rough handling things at our workplace. Sometimes, we get frustrated by challenges at work and might be tempted to vent on our stationery, photocopier, cabinets, etc? Do you have some “banger” in the office? Slamming things doesn’t reflect well on us. Such actions don’t demonstrate power, it only reflects a weak mind with no self-control.

Besides inanimate objects, we mustn’t forget our fellow sentient workers. If we hold a position of power, then we ought to extend the same care toward our subordinates. Do not vent on people too.

The above can be easier said than done, especially when we encounter stressful moments. Our minds become unstable. During such moments, I find it useful to find a quiet place and do metta reflection. Start with a few minutes of deep and slow breathing. Then say to myself, “May I be well and happy.” That simple sentence also connotes a wish that whatever problems troubling me will be resolved. After calming down, then reflect towards other people. Just as we wish to be well and happy, our colleagues and subordinates also wish to be well and happy. Thus we say to ourselves, “May they be well and happy.”

By adopting a caring mindset at work, we improve the energy at our workplace. In the long run, this will benefits everyone in the company.

7. Keep good and concise records of all expenditures and usage of resources

Sometimes, we may think. “If you put me in charge, then you should trust me” While this is true, it also shows the “laziness” in our personality. We want the other party to be responsible for trust but refuse to put in any effort on our end.

Trust is very important at work but we must also remember one thing. Like any other relationship, trust is a mutual responsibility and needs to be built up from level “ZERO” In this case, keeping good records to track usage of company resources is an invaluable habit. While many people understand the importance of tracking money outflow and supporting their expenditures with proper invoices and receipts, there is one resource that people overlook.

That resource is TIME. You see, we are paid to work for a certain number of hours a day. Many companies still operate in that manner. Most people are expected to clock in 8 hours of work. Do you monitor how you spend that 8 hours and keep a record of it? How do you spend your week in the office? How much time is taken for each task?

Since our time is paid by the company, it is not ours anymore. Therefore, our bosses and supervisors have a right to enquire. And if we can happily produce a record of time usage when asked, it builds trust. When we understand that that time is not ours, we will not be offended by such a request. We will also not get emotional when our bosses decide that we ought to utilize our time in another manner.

Last but not least, keeping track of material and resource usage, including our time, can be useful when we need to ask for more. That’s all for this week.

To be continued.

May all be well and happy.

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