Character is demonstrated not by what you do when others are looking, but instead, by what you do when NO ONE is looking.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. I just started my new job and it has been a LOT of shadowing other people and following them because I’m not licensed to drive state vehicles yet. I was chatting with my team lead and we got to talking about driving the state vehicles and speeding and I was VERY quick to inform him that I don’t speed. 98% of the time, I take great care to ensure that I am not speeding. The other 2% of the time, I’m what I like to call human.

This conversation that we had, while not profound in any way, really got me to thinking. In the training that I have been doing, I’ve noticed that people tend to have 2 different sides: the side that interacts with clients and the side that interacts with the rest of the world. While I know that their basic character is the same, they act like healthier, more well-balanced adults around clients. They don’t smoke, swear, say negative things, complain, etc. However, when clients aren’t around, certain individuals change quite a bit. They swear a lot more, they smoke, they may even speak poorly about the client or other workers.

I know I’ve been there and done that too, but I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the person who is one way with someone and another way with someone else. I want my character to be the same no matter who is near me or interacting with me. I want to be the best worker I can be, partly in order to move up the chain faster, but also because these people deserve the best of me during my working hours. They deserve my attention and respect and they certainly do not deserve to be judged by someone who, in all rights, is no better than they are. I feel some trepidation about chatting with some coworkers because I don’t know the kind of person they are. I have a gut feeling, though, and it’s not all good.

I don’t want to enter into a cycle of judgment and gossip, finding humor in someone else’s misfortune or disability. The thing I realized, however, is that I can’t be that person just around coworkers. Eventually, the ruse will be found out and the gig will be up. I can’t simply ACT non-judgmental, but I actually have to BE non-judgmental. I have to figure out what characteristics I want to have and then I have to work hard to get them to the level I want them to be and work hard to maintain that level.

I know that mental health is NOT an easy field, it’s an incredibly challenging work environment. I do care about my clients and I care about the quality of services they receive. I care about doing my best when people are or are not watching. I care about being responsible and obey the law – even those ‘pesky’ speed limits. I know that even though people may not be watching me, Someone is and THOSE are the eyes that REALLY matter.

Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you. Colossians 3:23-24


5 thoughts on “character…

  1. James says:

    Well said, love. I completely agree in all regards. It is going to be tricky to deal with your co-workers if they are the type you are worried about. If they are, all you can do is stay true to your goal and accept that some people are not where you are yet. They have some lessons to learn and perhaps you can even be the person to shine your light for them to see.

    I think that the best practice when it comes to a co-worker talking poorly about a client, or in general for that matter, is to not engage and show your discomfort with it. If it persists, then it could come time to stand up and say it clearly that you are not comfortable with that sort of talk and that you do not want to participate. You don’t have to explain yourself when you don’t want to participate in actions that are not ‘OK’, and people will adjust and stop talking that way around you.

    The saying “Preach the Gospel always, when necessary use words” comes to mind.

    • cari says:

      I’m sure that part of it is just not really knowing them yet, either. Perhaps I’ve completely misjudged them. For the most part, they seem like great people who like their job and want to make a difference, and I think that is something I certainly want to emulate in them. Clients can be difficult and one coworker has a great attitude toward difficult clients – they are a ‘fun challenge’ for that individual. I think that’s great, too.

      It’s just very easy to fall into the trap of judging and ‘fixing’ instead of really listening to clients to see what they want. It’s a steep learning curve, but it’s a good thing that I’m a good student. 🙂

  2. ashley says:

    EXACTLY. It bugs me when people are two-sided, and I try to avoid acting like this.

    Relating with coworkers and even bosses is very hard sometimes, as I’m finding out in my new job. Sometimes people have all different motives. I, for instance, have a hard time relating to anyone that is not genuine. I’d rather you tell me the good and the bad than lie to me. At least then, you’ll have my respect!

  3. nicopolitan says:

    Ah, this is one of the reasons I haven’t yet re-joined the corporate world, it’s that the industry in which I worked has a character of dubious integrity. This hit home — but I think if you’re already aware of not wanting to be judgmental, you’re already taking the first steps. The next step is to take that intention and spread it around.

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