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There are three reasons I am thrilled to share today’s post with you.
- It is the first guest post I’ve had on Stumbling Toward Sainthood. My ultimate goal behind this blog is to help others grow in holiness by finding someone with whom they can relate as they struggle to live their faith. Hosting a guest post is a great way to share a new perspective.
- My husband wrote this piece. I’m incredibly biased, but I think he has some pretty excellent insight when it comes to living our Catholic faith. A while back, I told him that if he ever wrote a blog post that would fit this blog, I’d love to share it. I am so glad he finally took me up on this offer.
- This is a piece I never would’ve written myself. As I was reading through it, I was so impressed on how articulately Ben connected how we do our work with our faith. Honestly, this isn’t something I would’ve even considered. When I think of working well, I think of completing a task ethically, on time, and of high quality; this makes it easy to look past if we were a little distracted while completing the task. However, as Christians, every aspect of our life should be done for the glory of God, and I think looking beyond the outcome when we’re judging our work is a really important aspect.
So, without further ado, here is Ben’s post on the virtue of justice when it comes to work.
I’ve decided to make some changes at work. It’s not because my work is low quality, but because the way I’m working is low quality.
I came of age surrounded by screens, sounds, and Internet access. The years of this digital noise have kind of ruined the way I work. I have a short attention span. I can hardly sit at a desk without putting headphones in my ears. It’s tough for me to get a task done without having started another at the same time.The years of this digital noise have kind of ruined the way I work. Click To Tweet
I’ve decided to make a change because I find this to be unjust. There’s nothing inherently immoral about multi-tasking, but there are certain forms of multitasking that may end up being wrong. For instance, I’m doing something wrong if I’m focusing more on the podcast I’m listening to while I work than the actual work itself.
So how is this unjust?
Justice is defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as “the cardinal moral virtue which consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and to neighbor.”
Let’s break that down in the context of work.
“… to God and to neighbor.”
God has blessed me with a stable job. He has willed me to work for the employer I do. Therefore, I should do my work well with honor and thanksgiving to God. My neighbor in this situation is my employer or even my co-workers. They are paying me in exchange for my work. My co-workers may rely on me to get something done for them. I would not be helping my neighbor by neglecting my work. It helps me to work better when I frame my tasks and projects as things I am doing for God and others.
“… to give their due…”
To give what is due at work is to do just that: work! It is just for me to do work at my job. In other words, it is unjust for me to not work, to waste time, at my job.
“… the constant and firm will…
This is where it becomes tough for me to practice the virtue of justice in my work. I don’t always want to think critically for a long time. Perhaps the task at hand is uninteresting or straight-up boring. Regardless, I need to buckle down and sacrifice. Personal growth, especially growth in virtue, cannot happen without sacrifice. The sacrifice doesn’t need to be large either. For instance, I don’t listen to a podcast when I know it will distract me. I just put on some classical music instead. It’s the small changes and sacrifices like this that have helped me focus more on what I’m there to do: work. The hope is that by making small consistent sacrifices each day, I will truly become a just worker, not just somebody trying to be one. However, virtue takes practice, so for now, I am somebody trying to be a just worker.Personal growth, especially growth in virtue, cannot happen without sacrifice. Click To Tweet
I recently heard the phrase “single-tasking”. Single-tasking is exactly what it sounds like: doing one thing at a time. It sounds silly that this is news, but in today’s hyper-productive world of smart-devices, 24 hours news cycles, and constant notifications, it is a seemingly foreign concept.
I’m integrated single-tasking into my work life by making some simple changes.
- I’ve disabled almost all notifications on my devices. This includes email on my work computer. I only receive notifications for text messages and phone calls.
- I don’t listen to spoken word audio when I need to concentrate and think critically. Doing otherwise is like doing math homework while talking on the phone: neither task is getting my full attention, and the attention it is getting is subpar.
- I occasionally limit myself to one computer screen. I have the luxury of getting to use two widescreen monitors at my desk. That said, I don’t need two monitors to type an email, to read a document, or to map out a flow chart. Simply turning the second monitor on and off as needed helps reduce the chance or getting distracted.
Those are just a few ways that help me single-task. Sometimes the simple solutions make the most profound impacts. All of this is done in the name of working justly for the sake of God and my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord.