Alone at Work?Alone at Work?
Whoever isolates himself . . .
breaks out against all sound judgment—Proverbs 18:1
Work is a place where we men are apt to live, not as our true selves, but rather as carefully crafted and false versions of ourselves. Work is a “compartment” where we try to be, not who God created us to be, but images we create all by ourselves. Why? What makes work different? Well, at work, the prevailing culture is too often (and too much) self-focused: outperform, get promoted, achieve, get ahead. It is too often permeated by greed, pride, and narcissism.
When we live according to the prevailing culture of work, we hide our true selves, for exposing ourselves would upset our plans to build our images (and our careers). So, we protect our images by cutting ourselves off. We don’t let anyone in on our fears, struggles, pain, excitement, victories, joy. This is foolish, given that many of us spend more of our waking hours at work, with work colleagues, than we do away from work, with loved ones and close friends.
Living according to the prevailing culture of work can transform our workplaces into dismal, desolate places of adversaries and mere acquaintances. Workplace relationships become characterized by superficiality and materiality. Spending years under such conditions leads to cynicism and apathy, burnout and bad choices. Purpose and meaning fade. We protect our images, but we lose ourselves.
Okay, so what do we do?
Betray the prevailing culture, brother (Philippians 2:3-4). But don’t do it alone. Track down at least a couple trusted friends at your workplace and begin to fight for one another, keep each other accountable, keep each other humble, be transparent with one another, confess and repent to one another, pray together, laugh and lament together. Set up regular lunches. Grab coffee together, weekly. Start a regular prayer group or a company Bible study.