I don’t watch many comedies anymore – whether on TV, at the movies, of through anime streaming. But I can never resist Working!!!, which is such a joyful show. It just does so many things right, including giving the audience that feeling that we, too, want to work at Wagnaria. And besides the assuredly low pay, why wouldn’t we? It seems like so much fun!
There’s a camaraderie among all the employees built on genuine love and caring for one another. Those who’ve worked in the food service industry know that it’s critical to have genuine friendships in the kitchen if you want a good working environment – it makes a stressful job easier to handle. It also helps to have caring supervisors like Kyouko (in her own way) and Otoo. In fact, bad managers is why so many of us quit our jobs.
Have you ever had a manager that treats you like you’re less than? As if you’re not their equal, as if you’re just someone to be used for his benefit or the company’s?
And it doesn’t have to be a supervisor – co-workers can treat you the same way. Someone very close to me, who works in education, is frustrated at being treated like a second-class citizen by the teachers around her, as she isn’t credentialed like they are.
Or…are you the person who treats others this way?
Whether the cause is pride, stress, or something else, poor treatment in the workplace is a miserable thing. And it runs deep – the way we treat people denotes the way we feel about them. While there’s hierarchy in the workplace, there shouldn’t be hierarchy in humanity. We’re all on equal footing. But when one treats a co-worker or subordinate in a dismissive or condescending way, he or she is basically saying, “You’re not my equal. You’re less than me.” And when we take equality away, we’re stripping away someone’s humanity. We’re treating them like animals.
I think this is a foundation for Christ’s teaching about the angry words we say to others:
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
– Matthew 5: 22 (NASB)
When we call someone a “fool” or anything similar, we’re tearing them down, destroying them through our words. We’re putting them below us and stripping away the beauty of their humanness. And even more so if we do it in public, which is often indicated by use of such strong language.
Christ came to restore us, to repair the brokenness within us and in that way, make us more human, more like we once were, and again in relationship with God. When we turn to him, He gives us a new heart, one bent on godliness and being like Christ. He lifts us up rather than tears us down.
For those of you suffering in the workplace, I hope you’ll remember your worth to Him, who means so much more than anyone else. For those of you who aren’t careful with your words at work, remember that you are no better than your co-workers, you are just the same sinner in the same need of grace. And for those future supervisors, please keep this in mind that your words have the ability to bring pain to those you work with or to shower them with grace and build them up. Even in the workplace, even in the workplace, you can – and should – be like Christ.