Book 1.3 – The Problem
from The One Minute Minister: Restoring Spirituality to Time Management
“Carol and I have been worried about you,” his brother-in-law Frank said over the phone after hearing about his frustrations. “The dark night of the soul, eh? That’s rough.”
“Dark night? Or just not able to handle Mondays anymore?” The troubled minister found it easy to talk with him. “Frank, what should I do about this?”
“Well,” his brother-in-law began slowly, “I wish I could tell you that your problem is unusual, but it is not. Now that big business is turning to the model of volunteer for employees, we are getting a lot of the same problems in business. A volunteer works hard, doesn’t worry about overtime, and passionately cares about a job. But if a volunteer begins to feel used and taken advantage of, that volunteer quits or decreases the work they accept; an employee doesn’t have that choice. The fuel for those extra hours is the passion and excitement; when that motivation is used up, our employees are crashing in patterns similar to what you are experiencing.”
“What are you doing about it?”
“Right now, we’re just trying to define it. We’re calling it ‘burnout’ although that word is inadequate. Our first thought was to educate our managers, but many of our employees burn out in response to their own way of volunteering in the workplace, not because anything imbalanced is asked of them by management.”
“You mean they do it to themselves?”
“Yes, to a large degree.”
“Well, I certainly have volunteered for my burnout; I don’t have a boss who is looking over my shoulder every minute acting like a slavedriver.”
“Are you sure about that?” Frank asked. “If you’ve been working like a slave, how can you be certain there is no slavedriver?”
The troubled minister had no answer for that question.
“We’re seeing two interlocking concepts as people break down: doing the wrong thing and trying harder and doing the right thing without enough help .”
“I know the last one is my problem,” the minister said.
“They probably both are, but without enough help – and the idea of enough includes the right kind of help – any task will fail to be accomplished. Enough help is enough to not only get it done, but in a way that leaves everyone involved healthy.”
“I know I’m rushing from one thing to another and always having to cut corners.”
“So you know you have a problem?”
“I know I do,” the minister said.
QUESTIONS FOR MEDITATION, JOURNALING OR GROUP DISCUSSION:
Do you feel that you are doing the wrong thing and trying harder?
Do you feel that you’re doing the right thing but without enough help?
Do you know that you have a problem in this area and can you admit it?