Choose your descriptors wisely...
I've been reading Jason Fried's It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work, and he has been challenging me on how I think about work, what we value in the office, and how we choose the words to describe our work life. One of the sections that I have been really wrestling through is where he challenges bosses saying that their team is like a family. Here's what he says:
Whenever executives talk about how their company is really like a big ol’ family, beware. They’re usually not referring to how the company is going to protect you no matter what or love you unconditionally. You know, like healthy families would. Their motive is rather more likely to be a unidirectional form of sacrifice: yours.
The best companies aren’t families. They’re supporters of families. Allies of families. They’re there to provide healthy, fulfilling work environments so that when workers shut their laptops at a reasonable hour, they’re the best husbands, wives, parents, siblings, and children they can be.
Perhaps Fried is a little jaded, but that doesn't mean that he is wrong. We are quick to highlight and celebrate the sacrifices that our teams make in order to further the vision of the church and make their ministries successful. But when was the last time that the church joyfully sacrificed in a ministry area in order to allow a staff member to achieve their goals or to serve their family for a season?
If we are going to call our team a family, let's be intentional about modeling the behaviors of a healthy family. Otherwise, let's be supporters of families and encourage our teams to disconnect from work, invest in their relationships, and have healthy boundaries around their work and family lives.