“Never be satisfied as a drone worker, just showing up and going through the conveyor-belt routines you’re taught. In any position, always be looking for things to improve. And never, ever compromise your moral standards in the name of ‘Everyone is doing it.’
Are you uncomfortable with anything you see at your workplace or in any other position in which you serve? What should you do about it? Why do you think so many people just go along with wrongs they see happening every day?” –From Wavemakers, by LIFE Leadership.
This passage troubles me. In fact, the sheer weight of it makes me want to curl into a ball in the corner. Don’t put this on me! Don’t saddle my integrity with this! Don’t you see I’m doing the best I can?
There’s a lot that goes on in my workplace that I don’t agree with—from teasing that goes beyond friendliness to signing for work that hasn’t been done.
It actually takes work to work an honest eight-hour day because the culture is to waste the first and last fifteen minutes in visiting. You mean we actually work at a factory? It’s not a social club? It takes concerted effort to do a good job because people are so accustomed to accepting ‘good enough’. I should never have to ask the question “did you actually do this, or are you just saying that?” But I do.
I’m not saying I’m perfect—far from it. This week I’m nowhere near my usual cheerful self, and holding tight to my integrity is a daunting task. I’m struggling to stand. How hard can I push for excellence without breaking relationships? I don’t want to be a legalistic taskmaster. I just want to do a good job.
This really bothers me because I am weak right now and I wish my coworkers wouldn’t make things harder for me—unintentional though it is. I don’t have the energy to pick a side in their political games, or discern whether they really calibrated the scale or they just filled in the numbers.
Do I say ‘No, I will do right,’ or be washed away by the current?
This quote offers some insight. It’s not exactly on topic, but read it through the lens of your workplace and I think it will make sense. Edward Snowden said:
“If living unfreely [sic] but comfortably is something you’re willing to accept—and I think many of us are because it’s human nature—you can get up every day, go to work, you can collect your large paycheck [sic] for relatively little work against the public interest, and go to sleep at night after watching your shows.
But if you realize that that’s the world you helped create and it’s gonna get worse with the next generation who extend the capabilities of this sort of architecture of oppression, you realize that you might be willing to accept any risk and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is so long as the public gets to make their own decisions about how that’s applied”–as quoted in Wavemakers.
He was talking about national freedom. I’m talking about personal freedom, job quality and heck, the jobs we wish we could work at. The job we have—the culture, conditions and general attitude—is what we have helped to create. Whether by commission or omission, our workplace is what we’ve made it.
We want a supportive, inspiring, positive environment. We want fulfillment and advancement. We want freedom. But who will create that if we don’t?
Who will shine bright if I won’t?
“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little. Do what you can,”—Sir Sidney Smith.