Dear Father ...

When the workplace is filled with intrigues, gossips, and backbiting …

I am a member of a Catholic movement of married couples. Attending meetings once a week with other couples, I feel truly inspired and motivated to do my best at home and at work. However, I find difficulty living my spirituality at work where the air is filled with intrigues, gossips and backbiting. Do you think I can live spirituality at work amidst this kind of environment? Can you suggest some techniques so I don’t go down from the spiritual heights I experience during meetings?

Dear friend,

Recalling Jesus’ words before he went up to heaven, he said, “Make disciples of all nations; teach them everything I have commanded you,” that is precisely our mission – to proclaim the good news and to make disciples even in the smallest circle we find ourselves in – in our homes, in school, in the workplace, in the community, in the country, etc.

Apparently this is easier said than done. As we try our best to evangelize people, still our acts of kindness are repaid by hurts, retaliation, and envy. The danger is that we fall into discouragement, worse, we end up doing the things we hate doing to others. How do we go about being Christians in an unchristian workplace? I suggest the following:

First, no matter what, do not forget who you are – a light shining in the darkness. Resolve to live in a Christian way, no more, no less. Remember the words “Do not counter evil with evil, but counter evil with good.” The depth of our Christian faith is tested only in times of trials and not when we feel good in prayer meetings.

Second, arm yourself with practical skills to counteract crises resulting from intrigues and backbiting. Learn psychology, sociology, human resources management, etc. Understand what kind of persons would do such things and the best way to deal with them. Learn from the Lord as he said, “be gentle as doves but cunning as snakes”; this simply means to use the resources available and use them. Act according to the level of wrongdoing enough to correct it and for it not to escalate into something big.

Third, focus on any proactive activity each day. Initiate social activities that harness teamwork and respect for fellow employees. Be an inspiring presence to others. Remember, every small deed we do each day account for something great tomorrow. We reap what we sow.

Fourth, if in case it is really hard to adjust in a negative environment and you sense that you not fulfilled with you job and it is not helping you grow mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually, you might opt to look for another job. But answer this question before you decide to leave the workplace: “What have I learned in this ordeal? How can I end up becoming a better person?” Because no matter how you move from one workplace to the other, you shall always be encountering bickering, envious, selfish people. Remember the parable of the weed and the wheat. But be sure you are a wheat that matures and bear fruit in due season.

Finally, pray. Only God can change people’s hearts in his own time. Also, pray to be a better person in the workplace. It is not because the environment is perfect as we dream it would be; rather, it is because of our very presence as Christian that transforms the environment into something better.

photo taken from:

Fr. Joselito Jopson