Thou Shalt Know Your Role, A Cautionary Tale For Workers: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

toxic workplaces often occur when an employee breaks out of their job role. in the capacity of both employer and employee, i have seen it. handling labor cases, i have seen it.

“when a company’s focus is on an employee with a lesser role, then there is trouble.”


roles are important in family, government and employment. the ten commandments’ first commandment establishes god as having the role of god. we has humans have our role. there are times when injustice is done and people decry who made you god to make such a decision or take such an action.

most workplaces have jobs or positions. there is management and there are workers. while some roles are more important than others, each role is important for the business or organization to function. the orchestra is a great example of roles. there is the conductor who keeps everybody on the same page of the music. there are the soloists who are meant to shine in front of the audiences or on recordings. there are the section leaders who serve to be both top players as well as manage their section. finally, there are the lesser players. with everybody playing their role, beautiful music can be made.

in the workplace, there are many roles. office settings can have receptionists, sales people and managers.

in a business, all roles are important. some, however, are more significant. there are times when individuals with smaller roles consume a business. poor attendance by a receptionist can disrupt an entire office. this person becomes the focal point for everyone. important worker now have to worry whether there support staff will be taking calls or taking care of visitors’ needs. when the water cooler talk is about whether someone is going to show up to work, there are problems.

beyond attendance, there are worker who “act out” in the workplace. in “acting out”, they take on a role that is not theirs to hold. this too can create the toxic environment.

the washington post newspaper just had such a meltdown. a journalist complained about a co-worker who had re-tweeted an off color joke. management responded by suspending the co-worker, it is reported that this journalist continued to complain and took to twitter to express her displeasure. other co-workers tweeted out that they did not have problems on the job. these tweets enraged this journalist and she then went on a twitter-storm. her twitter storm apparently was too much for the post to stomach. the journalist was then terminated.

the journalist’s story has more twists and turns to it. the facts, however, show this individual stepping out of her journalist role to assert a management role. while her role was not management, her tweets involved management issues. one could say that she wanted to play the manager role. in doing so, her actions created discord among her co-workers. likewise, it created discord with management. management listened to her concern and punished was done accordingly. apparently, when she asserted that she was going to publically play the role of the manager, the paper’s management said “no mas.”

in sum, i would like to offers two insights.

first, in order to have order, there is the need for roles. this is why the “first” commandment of the ten commandments establishes the role of god. while roles are important, this does not mean that individuals should abandon hopes of career aspirations. rather, an individual is free and encouraged to seek greater roles in either their company or in life. other posts will discuss this important topic.

second, for those who love conspiracy theories, sometimes an organization will keep someone who is “toxic” in the workplace. why are they doing this? is this sometimes done on purpose? is there some management that want to have an employee playing the “toxic” role in the workplace? let me know your thoughts.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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