Dignity at Work

As I was challenging myself towards 3 July, mentor-disciple day in my Nichiren Buddhist practice, things went to hell at work.

The team lead of one of my projects made a remark in a public chat forum on my presentation that I didn’t know what I was talking about and I hadn’t been around in the project in the last six months.

I fought my tendency to react and give him a piece of my mind. Obviously, this also happened just a couple of hours before another big meeting for me. When I confronted him in person with another colleague sitting in as a witness next week, he made further personal attacks e.g. “You play your role in this project only when someone is looking.”, “What have you done in the last 6 months?”, “When you speak up in a meeting, I feel afraid of what you might say.”

Fast forward to this week, many difficult conversations with my manager and HR later, I am no longer supposed to work with this person. Initially, they talked to him and still wanted me to work with him. It took me a while to realise that the situation was not adequately addressed for me. The guy had said later that he had asked me to be removed from the project. I had said I don’t want to work in a project where I am not valued and respected. The management still wanted me to be there anyway. It took all my courage to keep standing up for dignity. Each time I thought they got it but then they didn’t.

This week, I finally knew I don’t have to work with that team lead. However, I found myself incredibly stressed and drained, unable to focus and unable to motivate myself. I had a deep sense of anxiety at work. It was so apt that I went to Intercultural Youth Dialogue – Managing our Minds – Shifting Perspectives on Mental Health at this time. A young woman talking about sharing her mental health struggles at work gave me the courage to consider doing that too. One of my leaders encouraged me to be kind to myself and not chase after “doing” everything.

Through prayer and dialogue, I realised that I was feeling emotionally burnt out. I asked to take time off from work so I could manage my mental health and build my resilience again.

Yesterday, I realised that the underlying stressor or problem has been that ever since I started this job, I have been caught in the friction between my manager and my team leads. They don’t talk to each other, both express contradictory and vague expectations and I got burnt out chasing after an unknown goal. No matter how much time I take off or what changes they make, my stress won’t go away until the organisation changes the way it works.

Looks like this is a bit out of scope of my job description and power. So I am now trying to get over my exhaustion and invest time in finding another job.

The protection in all of this – In April, I started chanting to find the right job or project that enables me to contribute using my beliefs, skills and values and allows me to contribute to the success of the organisation, to expand my contribution to kosen-rufu and to expand my ability to contribute to kosen-rufu.

I have been given the opportunity to interview for my dream job. The feedback they gave me has helped me understand myself and my abilities and led me to confidence. This helped me to stand up for myself at work. And now I continue to chant to find the right job opportunity for me.

It’s as though the Gohonzon saw what was coming and gave me what I would need to get through it. Mystic law at work, again. Creating causes in kosen-rufu built a momentum in my life that enables me to get through my struggle in daily life.

As President Ikeda says,

In the world of faith, having a sincere and faithful mind  enables you to keep yourself in tune with the rhythm of the Mystic Law; then you will quickly receive benefit and your good fortune will increase.

It is only natural that the energy you acquire through the practice of Gongyo for yourself will be channeled back into your activities for others, for kosen-rufu. The fact is that the practice of Gongyo and your actions in service of kosen-rufu will become one, and together they will unlock the infinite power of the Mystic Law for your life.

An earnest struggle,  just like a river crashing loudly over rocks,  will inevitably encounter obstacles and devilish functions.  If you keep pressing forward, not allowing yourself to be defeated in your struggle, you will surge forward with increased impetus and achieve great results –  just as a river flows with increasing momentum each time it crashes against rocks,  racing on with great vigor.

The determination to accomplish kosen-rufu gives momentum to the determination  to accomplish one’s human revolution.  Human revolution is like a planet’s rotation on its axis, while kosen-rufu  is like the planet’s revolution around the sun.  Rotation and revolution are the foundation of all motion in the universe.  It would run counter to the laws of the universe if a planet did not revolve around the sun.

I am determined to overcome this situation for the sake of kosen-rufu and be able to share my experience and encourage others when I go to the study meeting in 10 days. Fighting on!

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