Have you noticed what an impact people's attitude has on their happiness or satisfaction? I was thinking about this after talking with two people the other day.
The first has a job. The work has become more difficult and demanding because of cutbacks and increased pressure to produce. His work is closely monitored, literally to the minute, as he deals with customers by phone. The pay is modest and barely covers his expenses.
Whenever we talk, his voice is laced with resentment and criticism. He'd leave in a minute if he had another opportunity, and he's afraid that he may be laid off anyway due to further cutbacks.
The other friend is looking for a job. He'd do anything to have a job like the one the other man has. When he hears about the micromanaging of employees, the increased workload, the poor morale among employees, he throws his hands up, wondering, "What does all that matter? What can't you do with God's help?"
It's easy to see that when we get caught up in office politics and gossip, the spirit of dissatisfaction, criticism, or self-pity can be contagious. There may be genuine issues that need to be resolved, but stewing in the juices of complaint isn't productive. Our days become increasingly unhappy. This has to have a bad impact on our job performance, and it makes progress even more unlikely.
We aren't always aware that it's our attitude rather than the job situation that is key to our happiness and progress.
Take, for example, the situation faced by Joseph in the Bible. His brother's jealousy was so great that they sold him into slavery. He went from being his father's favored child to being sold in the slave market. He was bought and added to the household of Potiphar, an Egyptian official.
It's hard to imagine the surge of emotions that must have rocked him. What would your attitude be the first day of work! But Joseph actually excelled in this environment. Then he was falsely accused and tossed into jail. And stayed there. But even this failed to destroy him. The Bible reports, "The Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper" (Gen. 39:23).
Now the Lord is with us as much as he was with Joseph. So if we can deal with adversity as well as he did, we, too, can triumph over every difficulty.
Hatred, self-pity, anger, bitterness. These would seem to be natural emotions under such circumstances, but they would never help Joseph or us to prosper.
After studying the account of Joseph's life, it's clear to me that he was able to keep a conviction that his life was in God's hands. He had a sense of God being in total control. His brothers didn't govern his life. Potiphar didn't govern his life. Injustice didn't govern his life. God did. Wherever he was, he was under the jurisdiction and care of God. The Bible says, "My times are in thy hand" (Ps. 31:15). No matter what happened, Joseph appears to have remained certain that this was an unalterable truth.
No form of jealousy, anger, betrayal, callousness, or vengeance could separate him from God. Because God, unwavering good, stayed as the center of his life, he kept expecting and receiving good from God. Despite the outward events, God was leading him in paths that worked "together for good."
As we grow in our own conviction that God is the ultimate power in our life, we are bothered less and less by the actions of a boss or organization. We start to realize that our life, our boss's life, and the organization's life are under the control and government of God, and this powerful truth brings about adjustments that benefit us and our boss and our organization.
"All is under the control of the one Mind, even God," wrote Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pg. 544). This book has helped me to see that Joseph's ability to prove this and to overcome adversity isn't unique to him, but is a spiritual opportunity that is given to us all. When our attitude at work is governed by God, we can prosper, whatever the circumstances.