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Monday, March 24, 2014

Give It a Rest!

Earlier this year, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch announced a rather interesting policy. As the New York Times reported, the investment bank unit told its low ranking analysts and associates to try to spend four weekend days away from the office each month. This “gracious” directive came in an internal memo. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase are also thinking that time off might be best.

Some within the banking world say they actually ENJOY the long hours. One fellow claims it fosters good camaraderie and better bonding. The younger set (translation: millennials) seems to think that there may be more to life than hellish work schedules. I’m there.

No doubt Wall Street leads the list of places where work demands, and the drive to succeed, create an unwritten rule of neverending work. We say that people in these stressful conditions are on the job “seven days a week.” But that’s silly. Basically, they never STOP working.

Forget the corporate concession that work overload is simply “too much.” We got that story straight thousands of years ago when the Creator of the Universe stamped this message on His famous tablet memo we call The Ten Commandments:

“Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.” (Exodus 20:8-11 / The Message)

For those under 30, you should know that Sundays in America were quite different just a few decades ago. The so-called “Blue Laws” put restrictions on what could be bought or sold on Sundays. Many of those laws still exist. And not only in the U.S. Places like Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway keep most stores closed on Sundays. Some Islamic nations ban working on Fridays. A lot of Israel closes shop on Saturday Sabbath.

It’s well known that Chick Fil A and Hobby Lobby locations are closed on Sunday. Both companies emphasize it is to give all of their employees a break. I’ve found that despite my conviction that a Sabbath rest is absolutely the right way to go, the change in our culture finds me frustrated when stores DO close on Sunday! Poor me.

Doing business this way takes some guts. What about all that potential revenue lost? Both Chick Fil A and Hobby Lobby are not hurting. And their employees can come back Monday refreshed. That WAS God’s intention.

The broader message here is for employers to apply their faith in caring for the well being of employees. And each of us needs to set boundaries on our workload. It is a biblical imperative. Ignore it at your own risk.

Consider this bit o’ wisdom: “Hard work never killed anybody. But why take the chance?” C’mon, man. Give it a rest!

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

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