Career

Should You Talk About Religion and Politics in a Business Setting?

We are taught that you should not speak about religion and politics because it causes tension, disagreement, and bad feelings. What about in a business setting at work with your boss, employees, co-workers, and clients/customers? The correct answer is . . . .

Maybe. Here are some examples of when and when not to speak about these emotionally charged topics:

When it’s not ok: First, take a look at yourself. If you are unable to speak about religion and politics without letting your emotions take control, without insults (I do not mean being politically correct), and being open to both learning from the other person and teaching the other person, then you need to first work on this before speaking about religion and politics. Similarly, are you able to speak to the other person and have a conversation, or do they just want to spew their beliefs without regard to having an actual discussion? Does the other person disagree with you regarding everything because they do not want to even hear facts or truths? If that is the case, then it is probably futile to speak with them about religion and politics and possibly any other topics as well.

When it’s ok: It’s okay when the exact opposite is true of when it’s not ok. When you are able to speak to people with charity then you are ready. When you are ready to have a dialogue and are open to learning the other’s position, even if you do not fully agree with them, then you are ready.  If you are passionate about your beliefs, then don’t beat people up to get your point across, even when you are 100% correct. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth, but also be sensitive to your timing. Lastly, you can communicate more by the way you live your life then with verbal communication.

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Cost of College = $1,000,000?

If it costs approximately $30,000 per year to attend college, although that figure can be much higher, then the cost of college for my children will be over $1,000,000 when the time comes, especially as rates keep on rising. In case you are wondering about the math, here it is:

7 children times $120,000 (for 4 years) = $840,000. Multiply that by an average annual tuition increase of 3% over the next 7+ years and the cost is over a million dollars.

When I get asked the question, “How are you going to send your children to college?” I usually reply with a snide remark that I am going to discourage them from attending college. However, there is some truth in that, and here are some alternatives from paying high tuition that we have discussed with our children:

Military: One of my sons wants to be in the Army. This is extremely noble and brave and not for everyone. If he stills wants to be in the Army when he comes of age, then he can also apply to and hopefully get accepted to West Point to accelerate his military career. There is no tuition at West Point.

Entrepreneur: I’m very biased with this one because I work with entrepreneurs all day long. Aside from certain professionals, such as doctors, attorneys, CPA’s, etc., you usually do not need to go to college to start your own business. Some do very well and some don’t, but I would hope that they would receive my guidance to help them to succeed.

Nursing: There are many good local colleges to choose from, which will eliminate the cost of room and board. This will dramatically reduce the cost.

Famous: Who says you can’t get paid to be famous?

Mom: My older daughters say that they want to be moms. Although it is not in vogue to be a stay at home mom nowadays, I believe that it is one of the greatest gifts that can be given to your children.

YouTuber/Gamer: I’m not sure what this one means exactly, but I think that it means recording yourself playing video games while narrating what is going on. Although, I am not sure if you can make a living wage from this or for how long, but if so, then great.

My children are not even teenagers yet, so let’s see what happens. I am definitely keeping an open mind and not taking this too seriously at this point!

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How Does Your Work Reflect Your Dignity as a Human Person?

My priest, Fr. Roy Regaspi, has granted me permission to post this article that he wrote for our church bulletin.

Pope John XXIII in his 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher): Human work is “an expression of the human person.” Pope Paul VI in his several encyclicals began emphasizing the theme that work is both co-creation (as man cooperates with God) and a share in the redemption (as workers try to repair the consequences of the Fall).

Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Laborem Excercens (On Human Work) asks every Christian to examine “the place that his work has not only in the earthly progress but also in the development of the kingdom of God” (LE, 27).

People often view work as a chore, a necessary but not enjoyable reality of life. In this view, work is a toil – it is difficult, challenging, wearing and slavery. This view legitimately reflects part of the reality of work. In the Book of Genesis, the toil of work is portrayed as one of the consequences of humankind’s separation from God.

But Christian justice has a different view on work, one that says work still has the potential to be very good. Before I returned to the seminary formation, I worked for the Philippine government, ventured in business, taught at universities and seminary. Those works gave me money to eat, travel, pay my bills… They were “jobs” for me but they were my unpretentious service fulfilling the needs of my family and community, promoting the common good and participating in God’s creation. My personal encounters with my co-workers would always be priceless learning experiences and growth.

My mother was a seamstress. She did all my vestments before my ordination to the priesthood. She would make sure that my vestments will be done perfectly. I know that it is not so much about the vestments that she cares about; it is about the prayers and labors of her love for God that she embedded into those vestments. It is her son who will use those vestments. It is about the people who will be drawn to Jesus in prayer every time I wear them during liturgical celebrations. Work is a way for us to provide something good and useful to others.

Although the narrative found in Genesis uses phrases “subdue the earth” and “have dominion,” the role assigned to humans is not really domineering. Humans are given creation to “cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15).

St. Paul instructs us that “if anyone who is not willing to work, he should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Because work is necessary to maintain life-giving relationships, all people have the responsibility to work. But justice says that whenever people have the responsibility to do something, they also have corresponding right to do it.

We should not treat workers like machines. At the root of unjust working conditions is an attitude that regards workers as nothing more than a means of production – a way of producing goods and services. This kind of treatment signals dehumanizing of workforce. Workers are seen as tools, not as persons, and their treatment is determined solely by economic considerations.

Unemployment and underemployment not only harm the worker financially but also harm him spiritually as a person. The consequences of unemployment can be devastating. It could also mean loss of a sense of personal dignity. Long-term unemployment has the potential to cause great harm to families. In addition to causing financial hardship, it can lead to alcohol abuse, domestic violence and divorce.

The land owner asked the laborers, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They answered, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard” (Matthew 20:1-7). Even Jesus worked for thirty years in Joseph’s carpenter shop; many of his disciples are drawn from the ranks of fishermen and agricultural workers. Christ’s parables sometimes refer to these workmen and their obligations toward one another and to the stewardship of creation. Yet Christ also warns us about being too anxious and preoccupied about the merely earthly goods and even forget coming to the Church on Sundays. He reminds us, his disciples that the more important labor is to store up treasures in heaven especially by frequently doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Remember to always bring Jesus Christ not only in your heart and mind but also in your workplaces.

Love,

Fr. Roy Regaspi

Don’t Worry if the Timing is Not Right to Conquer the World

Ever feel frustrated that your business or your career isn’t going as well as it should? I’m sure that most people feel like this from time to time, but sometimes there are valid reasons for this. Not excuses, as the “success” coaches may call them, but as human beings we have many moving parts to our lives. Some reasons for not being able to conquer the world right now and what to do include the following:

Health Issues (Physical & Mental): They may come at any time and can be minor, permanent, or severe. Health issues can put you out of work for months or even years. The main objective should be to focus on getting your health back so that you can take care of yourself and your family. Next, you should look into how future health problems may be prevented, if possible. You may also find that you have to attend to family members that get sick, such as spouses, children, and aging parents. First things first.

Raising Children: Raising children is not an easy task and many parents feel the tug between working and taking care of their children, especially mothers. This is especially true when both parents work, which is the majority of parents nowadays. I’ve written about the trap when both parents work full-time as the financial benefit is not usually as great as it seems when factoring in taxes, additional expenses, etc. Some options to help juggle responsibilities are to change your work schedule, have a flexible schedule, or work part-time, especially during school hours.

Addictions: Addictions can be in the form of alcohol, drugs, pornography, and gambling to name the major ones. No one likes to talk about this because of the stigma of addictions, but these will have a devastating impact of your business or career, even if you are indirectly impacted by addictions, such as with a child or spouse. Healing and overcoming addictions needs to take place.

Family Issues: Divorce or separation is a common family issue and may go hand in hand with the other examples above. Marriage struggles, especially divorce, will not only impact you and your children emotionally and spiritually, they tend to destroy family finances. Who care if they are successful if their family is torn apart? Marriage therapy, family therapy, or spiritual guidance from a priest or minister can help to save your marriage. Also, all kidding aside, they are much less expensive then a divorce attorney.

We are not machines, but people that have problems, emotions, and are all fighting our own battles. Some battles are greater than others, but we must build a solid foundation before conquering the world.