On Work

By Lingzhi

Like many others, when I first started working after graduating from school, I was idealistic. I did not just want a job. I wanted a career. I wanted to excel.

In the first few years, I worked hard, pumped in extra effort to value add myself and to add value to my work. I was aggressive, critical and sometimes hot-tempered. I was intolerant of ‘mistakes’ as I had high expectations of my colleagues.

I did not mind working late every other day, as I wanted recognition for my work efforts. The ultimate goal was of course to achieve promotion and to climb up the corporate ladder.

At that point of time, I was already actively involved in activities at a Buddhist centre during the weekends. I listened to Dharma talks, joined chanting activities and even helped out regularly at the Buddhist centre.

However, I came to realize that whatever I practiced and learnt over the weekends, at the Buddhist centre, seemed to be only for the weekends. During the weekends, I was nice to people. But on weekdays, while working, I did not treat my colleagues better. Overall, I did not seem to improve as a person.

As the years passed by and after changing a few jobs, I began to see and realize more. Slowly I thought to myself: I put in so much of my time and effort in my job and for the company, but what had I done to grow myself as a person? Did I become a better person over the years? Did I practice what I had learnt from the Dharma teaching over the years?

The answers to the above questions were obviously “NO”.

I began to change my mentality and attitude. I needed to be true to myself! I began to practice what I have learnt over the years, in my course of work. I practiced compassion (with wisdom) at work, became more courteous in my emails and gave others the benefit of doubt. I began to put myself in the shoes of others, mellowed my temper and was more patient than before.

It took me many years to finally see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and to integrate the practice of Buddhism in my life. Talking is easy, but being able to walk the talk is the challenge. I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn about the Dharma teachings of Buddha, Venerable Master Shen-Kai and my Buddhist teacher at the Buddhist centre. Some say a leopard never changes its spots, but I think it can, slowly, but surely.

May Buddha be with you.