This week in on of my classes we were discussing motivation. The discussion revolved around a particular model that dealt with several factors associated with a particular job. Does the job require a lot of variety, can you tell if you have finished the job, and how significant is the job viewed by those around you and how important is the job to you. Two other factors that play a role are how much autonomy do you have in your job, and how quickly do you know if you are doing well or not.
I have to tell you that I love my job, but it can be a bit overwhelming at times. One of my biggest complaints is the lack of down time. And one thing that is very important to one’s level of motivation is the ability to have down time; to feel rested. For me that has been a bit of a problem lately resulting in my lack of blogging and now needing to see a chiropractor to deal with some neck and back issues. The stress has moved right into my neck.
I only tell you this to emphasize how much I like blogging. I really like taking a few moments to reflect on the issues of life. The process has changed me and helped me to have broader perspectives on things. I am happy about that, and due to the lack of time to write have missed the process immensely.
So the question to blog or not blog has been answered. I intend to make time to blog. I need that creative time to reflect and hammer out my opinions on different aspects around us. I am passionate about inequality and how to deal with it. I am passionate about the power of business to create positive social change. I am passionate about the power of the gospel to change lives which in turn will change the world we live in. I am passionate about my wife and family. There are many things that I care about and think about which I can write about. So I will blog.
Will I have readers? I hope so, because I think I have something to say. But the question is why read my blog rather than watching the conclusion of Two and A Half Men? I think my perspective is more practical than some. In fact I thought about that yesterday after a meeting. You see, I tend to walk a road that is in between the extremes. Many of the people I interact with have strong negative feelings about the right side of the spectrum, the spectrum being made up of politics, economics, and religion. And others that I interact with have strong feelings about the left side of the spectrum. I tend to walk in the area of what works.
Someone tells me that Capitalism does not work; then tell me what the replacement would be? If you are telling me that Communism is the way to go, then I have to point to history. The fact is we make many comments that are based on emotion and what our passion tells us instead of being practical and finding solutions to the myriad of problems we face.
Solutions come from dialogue, not shooting out thoughtless prejudices based on feeling rather than dialogue. You have a problem with the politics of Focus on the Family, then sit down with someone who is involved with that and find out why they feel the way they do. You have a problem with Sojourners, then sit down with them and find out why. Talk!
We tend to demonize the opposition so we can better justify our own positions. We are the right ones, we are the moral ones, we are the voice of God. And the other side is bad, evil. There were two articles I read this morning that got me thinking about this. The first had to do with faith in the classroom. Michael Roth wrote a great article about students being uncomfortable talking about religious experience. This discomfort is on both sides of the spectrum. No one wants to be thought of as stupid or wrong. So we clam up.
Another opinion pieced discussed how Justice Clarence Thomas is becoming the most influential thinker on race in America. I can just hear people I know screaming at the top of their lungs – no way. But having read some of his comments, I have to say I see how both sides could be right.
Thomas is arguing for strong individual rights. His argument is based in the “premise that the 14th Amendment – guaranteeing equal rights for all – cannot mean different things for different people.” Thomas is opposed to “perpetual racial tinkering” in an attempt to fix racial imbalance and inequality at schools and the workplace.
In a dissenting comment in Gutter v. Bollinger, “a case that preserved the affirmative action policies of the University of Michigan Law School” Thomas quoted an 1865 speech by Frederick Douglass, “What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.” Justice Thomas is arguing that blacks should be treated as “independent, competent, self-sufficient citizens” and not as victims. These are interesting thoughts that intrigue me.
As I am pondering Thomas’ comments I think about an HBR article I use when discussing diversity in organizations. The article is a part of several that make up an HBR collection titled “What Every White Boss Needs To Know.” I cringe every time I read this, but I find all of the articles are relevant to current race issues within organizations. The key word is miasma. Miasma is a word that means “bad air.” The author of the article is using the word to describe a process that was illustrated on Blackish a while back. The main character played by Anthony Anderson is given a promotion but the question is whether he earned it or he got it because he was black.
I do think this is what Thomas is getting at. Everybody I know, (black, white, Asian) want to receive a promotion as a recognition of a job well done. Everyone wants to get a job because they meet the requirements. Miasma occurs when we hire someone because they are a certain color, but then give them insignificant assignments because we don’t really think they can do it anyway, thus the bad air. Others would call these micro-aggressions. Thomas is arguing that our systems should recognize all individuals as unique capable individuals regardless of color or ethnicity.
I think this is great for those who have access to the appropriate systems, but what do we do with those who do not? Those born in relative poverty? Are a product of gang saturated neighborhoods? Who grew up with horrible role models? Who don’t have the work skills, study skills, needed to get ahead? Do we just leave them to their own individuality to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps?
See, there are two sides to the story. We can agree with Justice Thomas’ premise, but there seem to be two tiers to the story. Tiers represented by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. I think those tiers are relevant today. King tended to represent middle-class blacks, while Malcolm X represented the inner city rage of the time. I think this is a very important distinction.
So lets talk! Lets talk about religion, taxes, and race. Instead of calling each other pejorative terms, I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say Evangelical as a cuss word (I’ve lost count), lets talk. Let’s find common ground. Then maybe we can get something done.
And that is my thought for the day!