Catholic in the Cubicle, Part 2: Interacting with Co-Workers

gty_water_cooler_cc_120816_mainThe following is a guest post by Bob Waruszewski.

In my first post, I talked about three ways to be Catholic at the cubicle. As a follow up, let’s look at some ways to be a Catholic Gentleman when interacting with our co-workers.

1) Use Words to Build Up, Not to Tear Down – Most offices have a gathering place for complainers. Maybe it’s at the lunch table, that cubicle on the other side of the floor, or the water cooler. As you pass by these spaces, it is easy to get sucked into the negative conversation. Maybe it’s a cold rainy Monday and no one feels like working, or maybe you inbox is flooded with emails that all need to be answered by this afternoon.

Whatever the reason, many times we use the office as a place to grumble about the problems in our lives. Yet as Catholics, we know that Christ has a higher standard for us. We are called to use words in a constructive way. Think about the conversations that you have at work. Are you creating a positive environment or dragging people down into negativity with complaints?

Key Scripture Passage to Remember: Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one.”

2) Pray Before Lunch – A simple way to share your faith with co-workers is to pray before lunch, yet this basic practice can be intimidating to do. Often you may be the only person to pray before a meal. It may feel awkward to pray alone while everyone is starting lunch, but do it anyway. Prayer keeps us grounded in what really matters even in the busyness of our day-to-day activities. A simple sign of the cross and silent prayer before you eat lets your co-workers know that God is important to you. Remember that the sign of the cross is powerful and that God can pour graces into our lunchtime discussion through that simple prayer of thanks.

Key Takeaway: The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. (CCC 2698)

3) Ask the Holy Spirit for Teachable Moments to Share Your Faith – The thought of evangelizing at the office can be rather scary. Fears of offending others, losing one’s job, or standing out as the crazy Catholic can keep us from sharing our Faith. Yet there are simple ways we can share our Faith without coming across as pushy. The key is to be open to the Holy Spirit. Pray for the grace to speak the right words at the right moment to your co-workers. If you try to create moments for Faith-sharing, you can come across as fake and cheesy. Trust that the Lord will give you opportunities to share your faith if you follow his lead.

For example, if someone asks you what you did this past weekend, mention that you went to Mass. If the co-worker follows up with a further question about Mass, tell them more about your Faith. If not, don’t awkwardly try to bring the conversation back to the Catholic Faith. Let it go for the moment. You have planted a seed in their hearts. They now know that Catholicism is important to you. If they have more questions, they will come back and ask you later.

Key Scripture: Matthew 10:19-20 “do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

These are just a few more ways of ways to live out one’s faith at work. For further study of this subject, I highly recommend, The Catholic Briefcase by Randy Hain.

What are your experiences sharing your faith at work?

Bob Waruszewski is a cradle Catholic from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from St. Vincent College with a bachelor’s degree in both mathematics and economics. Currently he works in the regulatory department for a natural gas distribution company in the Steel City and is enjoying life as a married man. In his free time, which will be cut dramatically when his wife gives birth in May, he enjoys playing sports, hiking and reading a good book. His favorite saint is St. Joseph.

15 Responses to “Catholic in the Cubicle, Part 2: Interacting with Co-Workers”

  1. Great post. # 3 is great! So true!. At times in my life I had to pray to know when not to speak as well (probably should start doing that again). At any rate, I help with the youth group and when I mention that sort of stuff it is very true, some ask more questions. Casually bringing up what you did over the weekend while not forgetting to mention parish related activities is a great way to pad that runway and present an opening for someone who may want to know more.

  2. Jacob Steiner Reply

    Most of the time people ask a lot of question about Catholicism. Like you don’t have sex, do drugs, or get wasted. By the mere grace of God I’ve stopped M.B. and looking at porn. Once the word got out about that, temptation came in wave after wave of insults or guys doing what guys do today trying to trip me up. Again rosary and St. Michael’s prayer are quit the tag team. Most of the time I meet Catholics in work area, but sadly come to find that there not practicing or they use the horrible phrase “I’m a Catholic, but…” In my last job I was really on my own island. Spent a lot of time debating against atheists and making no ground (at least that’s how I feel). It’s hard for me to see how much its effect on people because I’m usually a negative Nancy (work on that bad habit too).

    • Jacob, praise God that he is helping you overcome bad habits with good habits! Keep fighting the good fight and praying, not only for yourself but for co-workers. It certainly can be difficult to remain faithful when no one is there to support you. I recommend asking God through the intercession of St. Joseph to send you other faithful co-workers so you don’t have to fight the battles alone at work.

      • Jacob Steiner Reply

        Thanks Bob, for the encouragement and the advice. I must it’s been rather hard to to praise God and celebrate overcoming such a horrible addiction. Sadly I’m surrounded by people who don’t believe, and it’s hard to truly realize the great importance of over coming that issue. We leave in some of worst times right, and it’s important to remember HIM Who Has the last victory.

  3. Thanks for these posts. If you can, please write or comment on conflict resolution from a Catholic view in the future: angry co-workers, bosses, customers, etc.

  4. This is a great post and something I struggle with. I work in a prison and, as you can imagine, the topics and speech can get pretty crude. I find myself falling into the habit of joining in and not witnessing like I should. I think we need to find a way to change, if we are not witnessing to our faith, without seeming fake or insincere to others. That’s my struggle anyway.

    • I hear you, Erik. It can be hard to witness without sounding fake or insincere. Maybe think of ways that you can naturally steer conversations away from negative topics to more positive ones. .

  5. This post is…adequate. Patience and long-suffering are certainly virtues to be cultivated in the life of Faith. However, these lukewarm days one wishes for true and truly bombastic zeal: loud, unflaggingly certain, obnoxious even. Along with such zeal, one must know The Faith and the Doctrine and Dogma of The Church. To that end, I make a correction to the Scripture passage the author used to drive home his third point: Matthew 10: 18-20 “And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you” (Douay-Rheims AUTHORIZED Catholic Bible). Clearly, without ANY Biblical exegesis AT ALL, one sees that Christ referred here ONLY to times and places during which believers (and more specifically The Apostles) would be brought up on charges or called to give an account of and for themselves or to testify to the authorities. A better passage to quote, in order that the right and proper sense of one’s duties and responsibilities to God, The Church and oneself may be known is: 1 Peter 3: 13-15 “And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous or good? But if also you suffer anything for justice’ sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy everyone that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you” (Douay-Rheims AUTHORIZED Catholic Bible).

    It should be noted that none of the above contradicts the goodness of requesting of the Spirit of God empowerment and sanctification of one’s words and deeds, yet neither can we, the Catholic Faithful, neglect the ordinary learning of the teaching of The Church that we may, indeed, give “a reason of that hope which is in you.” One last note: take this as the mild correction it is, and not the attack it surely is not.

    Dominus vobiscum. Gloria in excelsis Deo.

    • chiphilton88 Reply

      Nobody, I thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter. I agree that zeal for one’s faith is necessary but even more so is charity. The most effective evangelizers I have seen are people who build the bridge of love with another person to bear the weight of truth.

  6. Reblogged this on Daily Goodness and commented:
    In an age when the corporate culture tells us to compartmentalize our personal lives from our business lives, here is an article about living your Faith in everyday life. What are some ways that you share your Faith in the workplace? Comment on the Daily Goodness blog ( not the reblog article ). ~ Frank J. Casella, CMCS Executive Director

  7. I live in the Bible Belt and am interested in sharing our Catholic faith. To that end, I have a Catholic calendar in my office, and a Jesus prayer card taped to the side of my monitor.

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