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9 Commandments for being a better employee

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Dean Drobot - Shutterstock

Cecilia Pigg - published on 01/21/20 - updated on 07/11/21

What does it mean to be a Christian at work? The 10 Commandments give us a guide.

It’s important to remember that being a Christian applies to our work week as well as to the rest of our lives. Whether we’re working a part-time job or two, or we’re in a longstanding salaried position, we’re all called to make sure we’re living morally at our place of work. How can we be a better employee, no matter our job? Here are 9 ways, based on the Ten Commandments.

1Don't make work a god.

Is your job or career the guiding light in your life? Are you working extra hours unnecessarily? Are you constantly preoccupied with work when you’re not working? Think about your priorities, and make sure that you’re giving time to God and to those who are close to you. If those priorities are in place first, it should be easier to see when you’re starting to make work into an idol.  

2Don't take the Lord's name in vain at work.

It can be hard to change a habit, especially if your coworkers use God’s name carelessly. Try using a non-blasphemous expression instead. You know how people have a signature coat or make a signature cocktail? You can have a signature exclamation — that’s not blasphemous! (My suggestions are: “Oh frost” “Well, that takes the cake” and “Spam!” but those might not be to your liking, so be creative).  Do whatever it takes to change that habit. 

3Respect your boss.

Don’t talk badly about him or her. Do what your boss tells you (as long as it is moral). If you disagree with a policy or request, talk about it with him or her openly (and respectfully!). 

4Keep Sunday holy.

Don’t work on Sunday if at all possible. If you absolutely have to work, set aside some time for Mass and try to do some spiritual reading to make it a special day. 

5Don't harm the reputation of anyone you work with.

You may work with someone who is very petty, very crass, very dishonest, very inconsiderate, you name it. But sharing this person’s misdeeds with your friends or other coworkers is not okay. Even if the person you work with does truly terrible things, that person was made in the image and likeness of God, and doesn’t deserve to be gossiped about. (This doesn’t apply to reporting misconduct you have personally witnessed through appropriate channels, of course.)

6Be chaste at work.

Whether you are married or single, be careful about your relationships with coworkers of the opposite sex. Don’t flirt and lead people on. Be conscious about what you talk about and how much you open up in one on one conversations. If you or the person you are talking to is married, it’s important to be aware of how emotionally intimate you’re becoming with each other even if it’s unintentional. 

7Don't steal from your employer.

This includes resources, such as using the printer or copier for personal use, or keeping the work mug you like at home. And don’t waste your employer’s time on your personal business — be that personal phone calls, email, or social media. 

8Don't bear false witness against your coworker.

Take ownership when you make a mistake at work, and don’t blame others. If someone asks you to say something you know to be untrue about a coworker, don’t do it. 

9Don't covet the life of your coworker or boss.

This includes their spouse, position, car, house, salary. Wanting to move up in a company is not a bad thing. But dwelling on how much you dislike your current life, or how wonderful other coworkers’ lives are, is not productive.  

St. Joseph, patron saint of workers, pray for us!

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