The ever multi-talented, multi-functional, multi-positional "I'm pretty sure she is a transformer in disguise" Jane writes our match summary of Untapped #3: Making the most of corporate trauma. Normally, you will find Jane at Headstart doing pretty much everything you don't see to make it happen every Monday but we get to see what she saw and heard when two Headstarters were interviewed about corporate trauma and another Headstarter gave the talk!
Night in a tweet:
Understand why you work and where you hold your worth when corporate trauma hits.
Crash Test Dummy
You know the ones. Lifeless mannikins. Quartered black and yellow circle on their temple. Horrifying trajectory ahead. They are inanimate and disposable and, at times, we can feel like this at work.
“Corporate trauma is inevitable. You can’t avoid it.” David Nam, 2019.
Work is a stressful environment. Stress can be good as it readies our bodies for the tasks ahead and drives us to tackle them productively. However, when the stress at work becomes lasting distress it enters the realm of Corporate Trauma.
Corporate Trauma can look differently for some people but could sound a little like these: organisational restructures, social exclusion, malicious hierarchy, moral breech, unsupportive environment, toxic work relations, job instability – things that leave a lasting mental, emotional and physical impact which affects our ability to function at work properly. It makes us question our position, prestige, purpose and personal-worth.
Knowing this, what does following Jesus look like when corporate trauma hits?
How not to do it: Play the blame game.
When things of Corporate Trauma nature arise, it is natural for us to reach out and lean on our support structures: friends, family, other colleagues and comrades in the trauma. Of course we would want to cope and make sense of distressing events. However, we need to be keenly aware of the very easy slip from verbal processing to gossiping and the blame game. These “if only x, then y… it's their fault… I’m the victim here” conversations are not sustainable and are, in fact, ultimately harmful as there are only two outcomes of this mindset:
- we become jaded and dismissive, or
- we become delusional, we victimise ourselves and enemise everyone else. We need to be aware that there may be times where we are the one to blame.
How to do it: 1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Sometimes it feels like as Christians we have to hold things together and be mature and wise in all occasions. It very comforting to hear in God’s Word the acknowledgement that we have “anxiety” and that it needs to be directed. In Corporate Trauma, anxiety is pertinent. We worry over our job stability, our value, our security and comfort. We feel powerless and it makes us act irrationally and selfishly. Questions bubble to the surface - why...?
But God's Word offers more. It's interesting that the verse starts with “Humble yourselves” (I’ve started to read this in a “BRACE YOURSELVES” voice and it’s actually really helpful). Everything we get from work are given to us by God’s mighty hand.
Once we come to understand this, we can see that the value that was so shaken by Corporate Trauma is less shaken because we realign ourselves as those who receive and are under the God care. We also can see the value in that even Corporate Trauma is a gift, to build resilience in us and just like regular training at the gym, sometimes the greater benefits are only seen more clearly late in life.
Finally, something that stuck was the practice of being a non-anxious presence. Louisa and Lisa, the Headstarters who were interviewed, shared how it can really speak volumes and makes you stand out among the “victims” of Corporate Trauma.