Having a career used to mean salvation from some of humanity’s worst vices. People with too much idle time tend to find comfort in artificial satisfactions like alcohol and drugs. Instead of finding comfort in these diversions, though, we add a burden—not only testing our own soul’s capacity for sorrow, but the souls of our loved ones.
But as many who work in the corporate culture can testify, they’re not immune to these ancient vices. Evenings out to woo clients can turn into booze-soaked encounters that expose our worst traits. Silicon Valley—the high-tech mecca of corporate culture—has encouraged a frat-house approach to business, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article on “The Quiet Efforts to Battle the Bro Culture.”
WSJ quotes Amy Henderson, founder of a consulting firm that runs work/family workshops for high-tech companies. She believes many such companies have a culture that believes families are lame and the single man reigns supreme. Marianne Cooper, a sociologist quoted in this same article on troubling workplace behavior, says this culture excludes anybody who doesn’t want to participate in its excessive drinking and sexualized talk.
The first week in Advent is a good time for all of us to look at whether we’ve created our own work/home behavior dichotomy. Sunday’s mass readings remind us of the role model whose birth was foretold centuries before it happened and whose death bought humanity time to imitate his life. The first reading from the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer 33:14-16) describes Our Father’s intention for that role model:
I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land.
Our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thes 3:12—4:2) offers good advice on what it means to be just in an age where just about everybody, employed and unemployed, is struggling to cultivate the person God conceived us to be:
… be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. … Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God and as you are conducting yourselves you do so even more.
Our gospel reading from Luke (Lk 21:25-28, 34-36) proves that Jesus prophesied the advent of our Bro Culture long before the first chip of silicon was harvested to empower it:
Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.
Life is a long elevator ride to that ultimate Executive Suite. This would be a good time to prepare for that performance review.