I Quit My Job?
have worked for a large company for over 18 years, but now I am disheartened by
the conduct and ethics of my employers and co-workers. The office politics, the
deceit and the greed all sicken me. These people stay just close enough to what
is legal to stay out of trouble.
Should I just learn to live with this? I am well paid and can provide nicely for
my wife and our five children.
In the past six months, I have been away from my family 65 percent of the time. I
do not fish, hunt, play golf, bowl or things like that because I prefer to remain home
and do things with my wife and our children.
I am torn between enduring this work environment to provide a comfortable lifestyle
for my family and leaving it for something simpler, less stressful. Would another company
be any better? Am I sacrificing my family for money and materialism?
When I look in the mirror, I see someone who must continue to do what I know to be
right and “put up” with this job so that I can support my family.
are obviously a conscientious person; that will be your best ally in resolving this
If you are expected to do much more
traveling than was indicated when you were hired, you should probably raise this
issue with your supervisor.
Have you spoken to that person about
the “office politics, deceit and greed”? Some of what sickens you could also be creating
legal liability for your company. The ethical decision may likewise be good business.
Only you can answer the question about
the tradeoffs between your income and your working conditions. It sounds as if this
situation is becoming a matter of conscience for you.
Whenever people act against their conscience,
they self-destruct to some extent. If that is true for you, the material advantages
of your present job may eventually be little comfort to you, your wife and your children.
What you have described sounds like
a lose-win situation in terms of your job and your family’s standard of living. Perhaps
there is a win-win solution while remaining in your present job. It’s probably best
to see if some improvement is possible where you are. You could well face the same
pressures with another company.
Remaining in your present job, however,
might mean losing your self-respect. If so, is providing for your family at its current
standard of living still a good deal?
Have you talked with your wife about
this dilemma? She can certainly offer better suggestions than I can.
You write that when you look into the
mirror, “I see someone who must continue to do what I know to be right and ‘put up’ with
my job so that I can support my family.”
Aren’t the two parts of that sentence
at war with each other? Can you forever ignore what is right so that you can "put
up" with a situation which supports your family while tearing you apart inside?
What if living this way leads to an
early death for you? Will your wife and children be better off then?
I encourage you to wrestle with this
situation until you can look in the mirror and honestly say, “I know that in the
long run I have done the right thing for myself, my wife and our children.”
J. Murray Elwood, a lawyer and business
consultant, has recently written Not for Sale: Saving Your Soul and Your Sanity
at Work (Paulist Press). You may find his book helpful. You continue to be in
my thoughts and prayers.
Names of the Three Kings
cannot find the names of the three kings in the Bible. I can’t believe that I’m
65 years old and don’t know this! Where can I find them?
put yourself down for not knowing these names. If you were the greatest Scripture
scholar in the world, you still couldn’t find them!
Only the Gospel of Matthew has the story
of the Magi (2:1-12) and it does not even say how many there were! In the Middle
Ages, these astrologers began to be called “kings.”
At various times, numbers other than
three have been suggested. Christian tradition probably settled on that number because
the Magi brought three gifts. According to The Catholic Source Book, by Rev.
Peter Klein (Brown-Roa), the Venerable Bede (d. 735) described Melchior as old, Gaspar
as young and Baltasar as black. Those names and details are not in the Scriptures,
though they can remind us that Jesus, the light to the nations (Isaiah 49:6), came
to save all people everywhere.
There is an annual custom of marking
doorways with the initials of the three kings.
a 65-year-old, lifelong Catholic, I have always been puzzled by the title “Mother
of God” as applied to the Virgin Mary.
If God always was, always will be and always
remains the same, how can God have a mother?
as Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) cannot have a mother. Catholics have never
understood the title “Mother of God” in that sense.
If you deny this title to Mary, however,
are you also denying that Jesus Christ was divine? You may not make that link, but
many people in the fifth century did. This title became official then as a way of
settling that issue.
“Mother of God” is the popular translation
of the title Theotokos (literally, God-bearer). A Concise Dictionary of
Theology, by Gerald O’Collins, S.J., and Edward Farrugia, S.J., says that this
title was used as early as the third century. The authors add, “When Nestorius of
Constantinople called into question this popular title, the Council of Ephesus (431)
condemned him and, in upholding the unity of Christ’s person, proclaimed the legitimacy
of the title Theotokos.”
What is at stake here is not so much
honoring Mary as acknowledging the uniqueness of Jesus—one person, who is fully God
and fully human. Nestorius denied that Jesus was, in fact, one person and said that
Mary should be called the Christotokos (Christ-bearer) but not Theotokos.
The Council of Ephesus disagreed because
they felt that the title which Nestorius favored cast doubt on Christ’s divinity.
The feast of Mary, Mother of God, is
now celebrated on January 1.
recently began fasting once or twice a week. Although I see this as reparation
for sin and note that Jesus himself fasted, I am not satisfied with that explanation.
form of self-denial has two possible outcomes. The practice can remind me that following
Jesus involves hard decisions and sacrifices or the practice can foster the illusion
that I can obligate God to do something good to repay me because of my penance.
Having fasted in moderation to remind
myself that following Jesus is sometimes difficult, I may be more ready not to respond
angrily to someone else’s thoughtlessness, for example. Fasting can help me live
in the truth about God, myself and other people.
Christians fast at times because Jesus
said that his followers would do so (Luke 5:35).
With a Brother's Anger
do you handle a brother who constantly feels sorry for himself and uses every excuse
to distance himself from me and my family?
Recently he has begun e-mailing me about his anger toward our parents, from childhood
hurts, and all the struggles he has had to overcome in life.
I feel sorry for him, but every time I try to get closer—we have children of similar
ages—he can never make it or has some excuse for not inviting my family to his home.
In a recent e-mail, he explained that, if I try to get closer to him, he will get
physically sick. I care about my brother, but I cannot allow him to treat me this
you cannot control his behavior, you can protect yourself from getting sucked into
his seemingly endless black hole of resentment.
If he refuses to have physical contact
with you, perhaps you should urge him to confine his e-mails to subjects other than
his resentment of your parents. The situation you describe sounds unfair to you:
He has e-mail access to you to share his resentment, but you have no physical access
Maybe you should try setting your own
parameters for this relationship. Thus far you have accepted the ones he dictates.
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