Beyond office politics

At least one career consultant thinks playing office politics is necessary to a successful business career. When asked in a recent interview whether the typical office worker has to play politics to get ahead in a job, she replied: "Absolutely. I've never seen a working environment that's politics-free. Whenever two people work together, there's bound to be a power struggle of some sort as each tries to get what he or she wants out of the relationship."

She concluded, "The choice all of us face is not whether we're going to get involved in office politics but where and how." n1

n1 U.S. News and World Report,m January 12, 1981, p. 35

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Is this really our only choice? Just because so many people believe office politics are a fact of life, do we have to take a Machiavellian approach to getting ahead at work? Is learning how to manipulate and influence others really the only way to advance?

It just isn't true that "whenever two people work together, there's bound to be a power struggle." Such a belief involves a wholly materialistic view of man that denies the possibility of divine grace operating in relationship. "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God," n2 notes Paul. When we hold to the truth that Godm is the only power and that Hem governs our career, this overturns the fear that opportunity is limited. The person who trusts God because he has an enlightened understanding of his relationship to Him soon discovers that what truly blesses one person must bless everyone.

n2 I Corinthians 3:19

God does not give to one of His children at the expense of another. There is not just so much good to go around. The Father of mercies has infinite spiritual substance to bestow upon His sons and daughters. And in Christ, sons and daughters of God -- spiritual creations of the one Spirit -- is what we are. Christ Jesus showed that through the true understanding of God and man that he presented, each of us could come to know and prove individual spiritual identity.

When we bring even a little of this christlike understanding of what we really are to our working relationship, the whole context of our work is transformed. Divine grace comes into the picture, unlooked for and unseen, yet felt as the very presence of God, divine Love. We sense, to a degree, that we are present as Love's representative, not as an anxious or self-assured mortal vying for power with another.

The effects can be dramatic. A new employee came into an office where one supervisor tyrannized his workers. Immediately this supervisor began trying to establish his dominance over the new person. The supervisor's techniques were well honed: bluster and criticism alternated with insincere flattery. At first the new employee felt all but overwhelmed by the mental warfare. He soon found himself hating the supervisor. But as a Christian he knew this was wrong, even if it seemed justified.

Jesus' command was, "Love your enemies." n3 But how? In exposition on this theme, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, asks, "Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good, -- that blesses infinitely one and all?" n4 Divine Love, the employee realized, could never lose its object, man. Love is never without its man, and man is never without his Love.

n3 Matthew 5:44

n4 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 8

This was the true perception of reality. He could love his superior as God's child and reject the evil as no part of Love's man. This is what he did. He refused to kowtow yet expressed a genuine affection.Within two months, the whole situation was reversed. Divine grace had wrought a wonder, or so it seemed to others. Not only did a genuine respect develop between supervisor and employee, but others commented on the remarkable change for the better in the supervisor's character.

The office, our homes, our friendships, the world itself, need Love's transforming grace. And it's in the very nature of things that this grace be expressed in us, as Love's representative. DAILY BIBLE VERSE God resisteth the proud, but giveth grac e unto the humble. James 4:6

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