9/1/12 | 1022 views
Mortification in the Workplace
What is mortification? The word has several meanings. In its virtuous sense, mortification is a decision to deny ourselves natural pleasures to gain strength to ward off temptations.
For the most part, our society does not welcome mortification. On the contrary, the moment we sense that we're hungry, we make a mad dash for the microwave, or as soon as we see something sensual, we stare at it until our eyes sting, or if we feel even the faintest frustration, we fumble for a flask or fly off to the pharmacy for relief.
There are, of course, some notable exceptions to our democratic disdain for mortification. For example, last month we watched 10,500 athletes arrive at the UK Summer Olympics to compete for a medal that only two percent of them could wear when leaving London. Yet, they all devoted years of mortification to their nutritional diets, physical pleasures and psychological moods for the mere possibility of receiving a medallion that is 60 millimeters in diameter and 3 millimeters thick, coated with a metal veneer that tarnishes. Can we attempt just a fraction of that Olympian mortification on our job site to obtain a far more spiritual compensation and certainly a more lasting reward?
Banish the Break-Room Munchies
Let's start with one of the toughest mortifications: food. Yes, we all enjoy eating. Yes, it's wonderful to go to the break room for a cup of coffee and discover that a generous co-worker has contributed fresh blueberry crumb muffins for everyone to snack on. Can we practice the virtue of mortification and return to our workstation with caffeine but no cake?
Diminish the Daydreaming
Do we daydream on the job when we don't have enough work to do or when we have too much work to do? Allowing our minds to wander away from reality can actually be a healthy outlet for getting through tough times and maintaining our sanity, but not while we're at work! The virtue of mortification helps us resist the temptation to escape from being bored or overburdened and provides the discipline to stay focused. Later, when we're not on the clock, we can fantasize to our hearts content. But work time means production time and mortification can assist us in keeping this time on task.
Avoid the Virtual Village
Scientists have discovered a physiological center in our brains that can seduce us into becoming addicted to living online. No wonder our dependency on cell phones has escalated to unhealthy proportions. Forget distractions while driving, the state of New Jersey has recently banned texting while walking!
Like it or not, our most cloistered enclaves have been invaded by invisible hot spots. Most organizations could not function today without being electronically connected despite the fact that the World Wide Web did not exist 22 years ago. Can we practice mortification on the job by refraining for one hour from surfing, e-mailing, blogging, tweeting or texting messages that are not work-related?
Bumps not Bronze, Sand not Silver, Glass not Gold
The most important result of mortification, of disciplining ourselves not to give in to temptation, is the grace we receive from God to be strong when disappointments arise at work. The virtue of mortification will help us weather the unfair bumps and the sinking quicksand and the shattered dreams that are part and parcel of being employed.
For Holy Homework: This month, let's select three work days to practice the virtue of mortification: a day away from the break room, a day away from daydreaming, and a day away from personal time in the virtual village. But begin by taking a guess: which of these three days will be the most difficult?
Comments can be sent to: FatherBobPagliari@Yahoo.com
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