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Monday, March 16, 2015

Don’t Cut Off That Nose!

Certainly most readers are familiar with the idiom, “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” I’m not much for cutting off any part of my body and particularly my nose. We understand this idiom to mean that we don’t do things our of spite which may come back to bite! And the bite can be much worse than the spite.

A few months ago, I read a blog by career coach and leadership trainer Kathy Caprino titled, “The Top Five Things You Should Never Do At Work.” She describes a pain-filled 18-year corporate career in publishing that left her empty. Along with gender discrimination and sexual harassment, there were other joy killing work related issues.

In admitting she made mistakes and witnessing others, Kathy identifies five “blunders” that she considered “as the most negative, damaging, and irreversible in your career and professional life.” I find them all worth noting for a particular reason. But first, here are the five:

  1. Speak, behave, or quit out of rage or revenge
  2. Backstab your colleagues
  3. Lie
  4. Proclaim that you’re miserable
  5. Burn bridges

I think it quite possible to add to this list, but it is hers. One might call it “Kathy’s Five Commandments for the Workplace.” Of course, she would be borrowing one of them from the original list given by God to Moses.

Speaking of that original list, (which you can read in Exodus 20:1-17 if your memory fails you) some believe they are the ten suggestions. Based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, living out those commandments gets much harder if you’ve done them or the equivalent in your heart.

Kathy’s list, while valid and appropriate to our everyday work life, has companion teaching in the Bible. For example, of her first blunder to avoid actions based on rage or revenge, we find this directive from Ephesians 5: 26-27: “Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry and don’t give the devil a chance.” (CEV)

As for backstabbing colleagues, “Don't speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law.” That is found in James 4:11…among other places. (NLT)

Lying, of course is one of the Big Ten.

Ephesians 4:29 addresses Kathy’s fourth concern about sharing misery. It reads, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)

And then there’s that last piece of advice about burning bridges. The essence here is to recognize the importance of relationships. While we may tend to discount certain people in the workplace as unimportant to our success, we never know what the future holds. One day, you may be calling on a former associate for a recommendation, a job, or a new business relationship!

We are most likely to burn bridges with those we consider our “enemies” in one sense or another. Jesus’s teaching on this is quite clear as well. As it’s recorded in Matthew 5:43-47: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? … And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary?” (Good News Translation)

The bottom line here is to realize that reading your Bible faithfully can truly impact and improve your career!

Huh. Who knew? And you can save your nose in the process!

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

Catch “Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand" weekday afternoons from 4-6pm on AM 1160 Hope for Your Life. To listen to the live broadcast or a podcast of previous shows click here.

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