Frankly, I am not sure what is worse for an organization, especially a healthcare
organization: a disengaged employee or a disengaged employer.
Both are accountable for each other's circumstance. And if I was a
betting man, I would bet that it is very difficult (perhaps impossible),
in aggregate to say in which direction the disengagement came/comes
from. It doesn't really matter who was the chicken or the egg. What
matters is what it creates--individual and organizational suffering.
Now, this notion of organizational suffering is not often talked about.
As a disengaged employee, why would one care about an organization
suffering? In fact, if it is not our company (one we work for) or one we
do business with, why would the notion of organizational suffering
Individual suffering is a different story. When we can "see" suffering,
our feeling is visceral and it summons our compassion which is expressed
as an energetic acknowledgement of our connection to the other we are
observing. Or, as we have seen in the outreach that many Americans have
made in response to Haiti, our compassion is expressed with a financial
sacrifice at what ever level one is able or willing to contribute. This
On the other hand, there is the suffering that perhaps is much more
prevalent in organizations and in individuals. It is hidden suffering.
It is blight of commitment, willingness, creativity, desire to be with
"the other". It is perhaps the opposite of compassion as it can take
even one's individual desire to contribute to self away.
A few months ago before I moved to Cambridge, I was talking to a few of
my friends and colleagues and I kept hearing a common theme when I asked
some of them about their work: "Amri, I am just trying to stay under
the radar." They often said this with a bit of an uncomfortable look on
their faces as if they were under surveillance and were scared to speak
I can't say that I know exactly whether or not they were joking or were
in part or totally serious. What I can say is that the idea of "staying
under the radar" is a suffering idea. It is, joking or not, the idea
that you are being targeted and have to assure that the radar cannot
detect you. It is not just a suffering idea for an individual, it is as
such equally to the organizations that these folks work for as they are
getting at the most half-rate production and contribution.
Just imagine yourself as an employer being able to secretly know all of
your "staying under the radar" people and when you walked through the
seas of cubicles and past offices you saw 20-30% or more of your people
appearing as though they are ducked under their desks working in the
darkest part of their workspace. The idea of it is hilarious and utterly
depressing at the same time. If I saw this, it would cause me to suffer
and it would cause me to act.
This conversation is two-sided and employees with the sentiment to
disengage have to be as responsible as their employers have to be in
making sure they stay engaged. Thing is, not everyone always knows that
disengagement is taking place. That is another conversation that we have
to have in the near future.
It pays to know that all suffering experienced is shared and the
responsibility to transcend it is shared, too.
Make it a great day!