Jul 09 2012

Sacrifice And Compassion

There are times in your life that necessitate that sacrifices are made. The small act may not seem like a big deal at the time, especially if the right sacrifices is made, and is done with our hearts so we can demonstrate our compassion, our understanding and patience.  Things like giving up your seat on a bus for a passenger who is elderly, has mobility issues or is pregnant might not seem like a big deal.  In fact, doing so is the right thing to do!  But when you do little things that illustrate your integrity and humanity, you open yourself up in new ways that allow others to see into your heart and feel your warmth.

Are sacrifices and compassion a necessary part of your work life?  Quite possibly Yes, but you may not even realize it because of how much is expected of you while on the job, and the demands work places on your life.

Making sacrifices at work isn’t just about giving up the corner office, or letting go of long-time clients to help a member of your team build their customer base, though these are both laudable actions. On the job, you may be encouraged, or even pressured, to give up time with family and friends until projects are completed.  You might be asked to give up personal time to attend meetings or conferences or events, possibly at personal expense. And hopefully getting noticed for doing so.

Sometimes it is our own pride in the work we do, our respect and appreciation for those we work with, a shared commitment, and the common enjoyment of certain activities that dictate we make sacrifices.  Whether it’s a company picnic, sponsored industry event or outing, going bowling with your immediate collaborators or to a baseball game with your department, or giving up your personal time, all will require the altering of personal schedules.   Going to these events and making an appearance might involve sacrifices with family and friends to demonstrate your commitment.  Let’s not forget that when making a sacrifice, you do so because others will benefit.

Some sacrifices that occur on – or as a result of – the job, are made by the many rather than by a single individual.  Recently I read about an office worker who had developed some severe health complications.  After using up her own sick days and medical leave, the entire staff where she worked each sacrificed their sick days and voluntarily gave them to their coworker so she could continue to receive her salary and take the time off needed to see her doctors, receive treatment for her illness and some extra recuperation time at home.   No one demanded that the staff do this; the sacrifices were made from the heart and given willingly as a demonstration of compassion for a member of their team.

Acts of compassion and kindness like these are not always easy to execute on a timely basis.  In a large organization it may be more difficult to execute all the time off-donor participants, but it should be do-able!  All it takes is a group of compassionate coworkers each willing to make a small sacrifice.  In a smaller company, the “buy-in” is easier because of the stronger likelihood the one (or many) who benefit from those sacrifices is more familiar.

Yes, there are some sacrifices we make that are just part of having a job.  Like the longer commute because a meeting ran late; or worse – missing your child’s recital or sporting event.  If these kinds of sacrifices are too frequent, I encourage you to seek different employment!  But they are part of the job!

But having compassion for others in the workplace also helps create stronger bonds among coworkers.  Being open and sensitive to those around you at your job makes us better people, helps us maintain our motivation and reminds us that even though we are at work, there’s more to life than work!  Demonstrate your compassion and make a sacrifice – great or small – and you’ll see a return in the compassion and sacrifice you’ll see in others.

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