Last week, Pope Francis did an interview with an Argentinian magazine, Viva, on his top tips for Catholics to be happy, where the National Catholic Register translated it to English. What got to me is the tips are more associated to work and the workplace. Obviously, Pope Francis wants everyone to have a life, but it goes beyond the household and workplace. Here are Pope Francis’s top ten tips of happiness and how each associates with the workplace:
1. “Live and Let Live”
Do not try to judge people. Let people be who they are, and you and the company, should not interfere with the employees’ beliefs and values.
2. “Be giving of yourself to others”
Have charity of not just money, but time to help out a cause or a situation for the people who need it the most. Pope Francis warns that, “if one gets tired…one runs the risk of being egoistic, and stagnant water is the first to be corrupted.” Basically, charity keeps an agile mind.
3. “Move Quietly”
Slowdown. If you go too fast, you will miss something. Have an older person be a mentor because of their wisdom and guide through the tough times. The older employee will have the experience and know-all of what’s going on. It’s alright to have energy, but it’s also important to have perspective and inside knowledge to slow things down so you capture everything.
4. Have a healthy sense of leisure
This is simple, spend time with your friends, go out, read, listen, something that you enjoy the most. Why I highlighted this part is because in the United States, Americans took only around half of their paid vacation time, and 61% work on vacation. The United States is also the only advanced economy that does not require employers to pay paid vacation time to employees. There has been talks about reducing the number of work hours so the employees will be fresh the next week. There’s a motto, “work hard, play hard” that applies here, but it should be “worker harder in less hours to play harder more.”
5. Sunday is Family Day
In Catholicism, Sunday is where you enjoy leisure time with your family and friends. At the workplace, have one day (or half-day) to have all the employees together and do something fun to end the work week. As Pope Francis says about families (and I would include companies), “the concept of families are necessary for the survival of humanity.”
6. Find ways to make jobs for young people
Pope Francis says, “Power, money, culture do not give us dignity. Work, honest work, gives us dignity.” He also states that companies must find creative ways to bring young people into jobs to prevent them from drugs and suicide. The United States youth unemployment rate is at 13.3%. Where are the jobs for the youth? USA Today tried to answered that. I personally think there’s not enough solid public-private partnerships to help the youth find jobs and not a solid foundation in talent development among either colleges, governments, or companies/organizations. Time to change that.
7. Respect Nature
Be respectful for the environment and nature. Nothing noteworthy about the workplace expect how to save your electric bill and the food we eat.
8. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy”
Have a positive mindset. If you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it too long. Also, don’t talk bad about your colleagues and your employer. It would seem you have low self-esteem.
9. Stop proselytizing
Stop “spamming” on people about how great your company is. Network and have a conversation with them on their viewpoints and how would they approach different situations about your company. People will join if they’re attracted to it, not by force-feed advertising.
10. Work for peace
Have a heart and be proactive and never be quiet about your work (In Pope’s version, peace).
The Pope’s top 10 tips of happiness would be a great handbook for employees. I highlighted some segments because although we should follow these tips in our professional and personal lives, the United States still lags behind other countries in vacation, hours, and productivity. Why is that?
One word: Fear.
- Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
- Fear of losing their jobs and paychecks
- Fear of their future
- Fear something will be taken away
Fear drives most of us to work to survive instead of thrive. Fear only gives us satisfaction at a point and why most people work paycheck-to-paycheck every (other) week. We work just to maintain a house, a car, paying bills, and others. Although most Americans are productive by the most part, companies are still stuck on the status quo that hours are important than results.
Instead of bringing fear in the workplace, employers need to give their employees room to find joy. If you’re employees find joy, work will be more productive; employees can talk about organization positively, in an organic manner; bring new ideas and perspectives; create a generous culture; and people will be attracted on your employer brand. Give them room to figure it out. It’s about growth.
Fear is a short-term solution of making money. Happiness (Joy) is a long-term solution of being a great organization. The United States needs to figure that out, but in a polarized setting we’re in, that might be a generation away or may never happen.