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Love Conquers All (Even in the Workplace)

Last week I wrote about a thank-you note that Maxine (Executive Director of Golda Meir House) wrote to Ken (Director of Maintenance for JCHE) for his help in readying Golda for their REAC inspection.  Her effusive appreciation for Ken’s help reminded me how important it is to express gratitude to colleagues.

Ken’s response was an efficient 3 words: “Love conquers all”!  I thought that answer was as perfect as the original message. 

Some might say “love” has no place in work.  I disagree.  Working at JCHE, or probably any truly mission-driven organization, is indeed a labor of love—love for the cause, for the people we serve, for the task of tikun olam (repair of the world).

To sustain the necessary effort in the face of the odds (too little money, too little time, too much need) is draining.  The best way we can make it through is to give each other that unconditional support we all crave.  It may seem contradictory to assert (as I do) that there’s nothing inherently incongruous about unconditional support and mutual criticism and sharing thoughtful reflection about how to do better work.  We believe in each other—and that we all can improve from both self-reflection and the insights of our colleagues.

We’re engaged in a major culture change and reorganization process, which has had its share of discomforts for all.  But at the end, we’ll recognize the strength each brings to the table and hopefully feel free to express that love for our shared values and commitment.  Today at one of the concluding reorg meetings, the sentiment was:

“Everyone here [meaning all JCHE staff] is fantastic.  We all want to do our jobs well.  We all make some mistakes along the way; the more we can know about each other’s responsibilities and challenges, the more we can support each other through.  And we all want to do that.”

As always, your comments are welcome!

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