A different take on business.
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I think the needs and limitations differ between people who work for a company and have a manager, and people in business for themselves, as well as between people with a lot of human contact, customers or internal customers on one hand, and people who only deal with themselves and a set of co-workers.
He went over the ideas that are common, but left behind many areas that the Catholics face and need decisions made, because they, in my opinion, will depend on the business ownership and role.
I can see how in some situations a prominently placed crucifix might be against the business rules; and if it is, I understand that it is not always the wisest course to fight the rule. I do not see how a Catholic calendar — we have great ones, filled with beautiful art, pick one this Easter, — can be against any rule if you have a wall or cubicle partition.
Also, be a crucifix: at meals, cross yourselves. There is no rule against that. You don’t have to say grace out loud to people not ready to hear it, but a sign of the Cross is aways available and always appreciated.
If you face the customers, do not assume that a display of Catholic, or any other, Christianity is a drag on business. This is the most common mistake secularists make: that Christian symbol repel non-Christians or Catholic symbols repel non-Catholics. Again, if you need a job you may have to live with the stupidest of rules, but if you don’t have a rule, or set your own rules, do not tone down your Catholic character. Do not use it as a sales vehicle, of course, but just be what you are. Your business will not suffer. Why? Because customers appreciate understanding the person they are doing business with, even if they themselves are from another confession. So long as what you have, a cross, or a fish, or an icon is a sign and not a sales display, people will be drawn to it, and like you better. I like it when people of other religions and cultures are open about it. I think, most people are like me in that respect.
I recall a story (told by Fr. Mitch) about a Muslim student arriving to a “Catholic” American university and seing a white sulhouette of a crucifix against the tanner wall. — Was there a crucifix here before? Why was it removed?” — “It was removed not to offend Muslim students like yourself” — the Muslim student was told. —”This” — he pointed to the empty wall — “offends me”, he replied. — “I knew this is a Catholic University; I chose to come here. I could have dealt with the crucifix”.
The business rules against overt religiosity originate in the desire to (1) have people concentrate on work; (2) avoid religious wars in the office; (3) be culture-neutral when facing a customer. The last one, I believe, very rarely serves a rational business need at all. The first two should not be a concern simply because, as a Catholic you should honor the committment to your employer, who owns your time when you are on the job. But if you are in a position to set these rules, think if they make any sense. For example, do you want people to check they entire personality at the entrance? Or is it that you are against a particular brand of religios behavior? Before you ban a crucifix, would you also ban a Shiva statue? Many businesses today encourage diversity, even have their employees go to seminars to learn how good diversity at workplace is. Is your workplace diverse enough to be welcoming to a Catholic?
First off, eliminate curse words from your vocabulary even when the boss hacks you off so badly that you want to facebook to the world what a !@#$% he is. Don't be obvious about it just do it. Saying a Hail Mary at this point of the day is helpful.
Dress with respect in the workplace - and for women, that means a skirt past your knees and tops that aren't revealing. There are ways to do it and look stylish and not be a slob, either. Alright, I work in a place where there's always the chance that the mayor, governor or county executive might be in the lobby when you get off the elevator, but still. Be put together.
DO NOT be afraid of wearing a Crucifix, Miraculous Medal or any other sacramental. Don't draw attention to it, but don't be afraid. No one with any ounce of integrity would say a word.
Before lunch, I agree, say grace silently and use the Sign of the Cross. Maybe add an extra prayer. Sometimes you find you can do some great evangelizing.
Always have integrity in your business dealings. Do what you say you are going to, follow through and be prompt about paying bills. It's not just respectful, but good business practice. Also, the time for price negotiation and the like is before the order is placed. Anything else, including using Christianity as an excuse, is just rude.
For those of us who have trouble concentrating on prayer while driving and the extra half hour in the morning would be better spent sleeping in order to keep a clear head, the shower is a great place to pray.
One quick thing - there is a relatively new grocery store downtown here which is part of a larger, local chain. The store manager put up a big Crucifix on the wall. There was a bit of publicity on "controversy" and the bottom line was nobody shopping there cared. The business is honest, customer service good and that's what mattered. But, then, that's part of living the gospel.
I'm looking forward to others' comments on this topic. It's a very good one.
This is really a great topic. I don’t really have anything to add but I’m glad you posted it and I’m enjoying reading the various ‘tips’.