Day 12- Overcoming a Workplace Dilemma with Love

The battle for my mind and to reclaim my space and time reached a critical point today. I reckon things must get worse before they get better. And boy did I feel the worse I have ever felt in a very very long time.

It would seem that Day 9’s realization was the precursor to Day 12’s precipitation. Faced with a workplace situation that then plunged me into a huge ideological dilemma, I began to shut down and shut things out. I slept most of the day to avoid thinking, conflicted and invasive thoughts that derived no conclusions to the quagmire.  So I slept…

I resurrected rested but still disturbed.

I forced myself to begin to organize my thoughts and feelings. I was hurt, angry, confused and sad. How could the leadership of my organization speak of justice for all, respect for workers and empowerment of the working class and then deny its own staff the time and open ear they deserve? How then, when the staff take a silent form of protest to draw the leaders’/”managers’” attention they are shunned, told by an authority “had I the power, I would fire every one of you who wearing the [form of silent protest]”?

It is all good for workers to protest against other managers, in other companies, but similar actions are suddenly “out of timing” and uncalled for or inappropriate when the shoe is on the other foot.

All workers are important, and all workers’ issues, big or small are legitimate until proved otherwise…but they are less legitimate when they are your workers’ issues? Something’s not right there! It’s like someone advocating for women’s rights and empowerment and said person has a maid who is underpaid, and exploited.

I was called “ultra-liberal” when I explained to an authority of the oranisation that I saw the workers’ action as an act of love and self-interest, and that I am in solidarity with them. I said that these workers were merely upholding the legacy of what had been taught and touted for years in this organistion. The leaders should in face be proud of these workers for standing up for themselves. Actions like these we take pride in, except when the butt of the action isn’t some company manager but you.  It was explained to me that these workers often do not do what they are asked; that many waste time doing other things than what they are “supposed” to do. Even if that is true, I have heard that argument before. But the counter argument is that such situations are as much a manager’s fault as it is the worker’s. For there to be workers who don’t do what they are “supposed” to, it means there are “managers” or “authorizes” who for a long time have condoned it have not sought to effectively address the situation.

It is also said that these workers dare not take this kind of action under another leadership, but because the current leaders are more open they are being taken advantage of. I could imagine and understand that they must feel hurt and betrayed by the action, but the workers’ action was not without warning.

There are any numbers of counter punches from either party for any argument presented. My view after having laid out all my thoughts is that there needs to be a commitment on either side to do their part. There needs to be an open and honest discussion about expectations, and more importantly, this juncture gives rise to an opportunity to devise a mechanism/structure that would help prevent situations like this from occurring again.

On my own part however…I have begun to make changes.

I once loved my organization soo much, I would spend ungodly numbers of hours at my desk working. There were times when I slept in the office to ensure the completion and success of a task. I recall planning to leave the birthday party of my ex’s mom  one weekend to head to the office…to work! To say the least, my ex-boyfriend and his family (and my mom) were not pleased.  I saw nothing wrong then, it was critical that I did my part in the name of workers and the working class.

Today, some 3 years later, I love my organization no less but I have vowed to reclaim my space, my time…my life. I don’t think it’s too late nor is it a selfish act. I will give my full 100% within working hours and whenever possible outside of those times, but my family, my health and my future are also worthy of my time and energy and love.

I’ve concluded…being bitter or angry will serve no one. The blame game is useless. I will continue to do my part for my organization, and workers of my country. But what I will not do is be a willing accomplice to something that’s wrong and I will speak out (with or without words), even if the wrong-doer is a friend/family/lover/leader/comrade.

It is s/he who has your interest at heart who is best positioned to point out when you have erred.  The criticism must be received in love so that a space is made available to have open and cordial discussions to craft a way forward. If doors are closed and responses are violent (from either part), it thwarts even the possibility for peaceful resolution.

I hold firm that there is a way forward and I am confident that we will get there.

(This post was originally to be published on Day 12-July 29th)

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