The Workplace and Society: Loyalty, Denial, and Suffering.

Awareness.

At some point during each day and during life we possess and manifest this faculty… awareness. It is being “aware” of something, someone, or some aspect of where a person is and the circumstances of a situation.

We are bombarded with a lot of information and material stuff during each day; some of this is useful for us and some of it is not. We can to a degree screen out or tune out that which is not useful and attend to what is useful, but this takes energy and saps that which we need to focus on what is useful or worthwhile or necessary.

It is possible then to have too much information. You can consider this mental clutter.

It is as bad as having a cluttered house or a workplace. If a living space is filled with junk, stuff you do not use or which is being hoarded, such accumulation is a distraction from healthy living. Sooner or later clutter could attract dust and allergens, vermin, odors and then, if it really gets bad, visits from the fire department and the health department. At that point the situation is out of the hands or the jurisdiction of the owners or residents; it is being given strict attention by authorities who will give orders to the folks to clean up, to straighten things out, and to put the area in safe order before thirty days runs out.

Clutter as we have seen can cause dust and allergens to gather. In a workplace, dust is unsightly and gives the impression that the workplace is not being cared for, the merchandise does not move and is not useful or is outdated, and that employees do not care about appearance of the business. Dust might cause problems for customers who have severe allergies to what gathers in it, and then the business might lose customers. One bad comment can cause a lot of problems.

The circle of being in business involves those who work at the business and those who run it (manage, own). Satisfaction is relative; look at the way of conducting business as “do not assume things are good until they are”. Sure, good is a relative term, so think of the business environment in other ways than the ideas of good or bad, high or low, or broad terms such as these.

Consider the safety of those who work there and who are customers. Look at the workplace environment: what meets the eye or the senses when you walk in there? Are your senses met by neatness or by clutter, by clean and fresh shelves and air or by stagnant air and dusty shelves and dirty floors and cluttered displays? Is there room to maneuver safely, especially if you have a disability or other special needs? Is there room to do your work, allowing plenty of space for customer transactions or showing merchandise? Can the customer easily see the items available for sale or rental? Are the displays relevant to the mission of the business and the needs of the customers?

Safety – so valuable an asset that it must be considered at all turns of the work day – must be thought of in every way, from cleanliness to space to work in. Is it likely a person is going to trip over something, or get hair or a limb caught in something like a display or a stand? Are aisles free of clutter that narrows the space in which people can walk and look around and see what the business offers? Is suffering caused when people are frustrated that they cannot feasibly reach something or see something: in the case of the worker who due to clutter has a hard time reaching something a customer wants to see and thus has to take extra time to get to the item and makes the customer wait too long? What if there is too much to work with, to the point that the employee has to shuffle through a shelf display to get to the requested item?

A boss who does not communicate cannot expect the employees to communicate with them. Suffering cannot be known until it is talked about or until someone is made aware of it, is cognizant of the fact that conditions of “suffering” exist. Someone has to think that something is wrong or know something is, and tell someone that it is so that the situation can be addressed and solved. Without that knowledge, the problems continue. Denial is in itself a form of suffering – the one in denial tries to turn off or tune out the causes of the suffering (mental or actual clutter, lack of business, lack of capital, employees who do not perform to the boss’s standards, etc.), and thus might tune out the sufferings of others, namely those who work for them.

One must be careful about crossing the line of that which┬áI call “micro -managing”. To micro -manage is rather like being a vulture that sits on a high post waiting for someone to mess up or be perceived as doing something wrong and then swooping in and correcting the person before the full situation is known. The supposed offender is vulnerable to attack before the situation is completely and fairly assessed and this can be a real morale -buster. Micro -managing is nit -picking and it is not a good idea. It is casting the stones before removing the board from one’s own eyes, it is arrogant and assumptive and foolish and dictatorial. Such an attitude can lose a business not only customers but employees as well, and without customers, what business? Without employees, what business?

Such tactics can also lead to a loss of good manners; those who micro -manage might perceive their employees as not going fast enough, or talking on the phone in the proper way or in the right order. The employee might be doing just the right things but is the boss aware of it or just hearing what they want to hear? Rude behavior is not acceptable; anyone with a modicum of knowledge of manners should know how to talk on the phone and how to interact civilly with others, not to interrupt, not to shout, not to push ahead in line or speak when others are talking.

We can break the cycle of suffering but we must be aware that it is going on and know what we can do about it.

What will you do about alleviating suffering?

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

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