A lot of people in the West see karma as being all about ‘what goes around comes around’ – and while there is an element of this in the idea of karma, it also involves deeds, work, destiny, and action (among other things). Tied in with belief systems like Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism, the idea of karma involves how your past actions impact your present and future. It is a cause-and-effect between the energy you put out into the world (positive or negative) and what you get back. It may seem a bit mystical and quite removed from the realities of the world of work, but actually there is a lot of karma at play in the workplace too.
Let’s say, for example, you work in an office alongside a colleague who is just plain unhelpful. She is rude to people, constantly using a passive-aggressive tone with colleagues, complains about her job and other employees, and does as little as possible – aside from gossiping. That’s quite a lot of bad energy that she is sending out there! On the other hand, you could have a person who is positive and friendly, works diligently, and is happy to help others out. No prizes for guessing which one ill be at the back of the queue when it comes time for a pay-rise or the chance of promotion.
However, not all karma is as obvious, and sometimes you can end up spreading bad feeling without really realising it. Have you ever checked your phone while someone was talking to you, do you have a tendency to favour some colleagues over others, or have you ever been so busy you forgot to acknowledge someone at work? These subtler examples can all spread negative feeling at work, and you can even inadvertently create bad karma by your posture and body language too.
You may not even realise it, but you could be making some people feel bad about themselves or devalued. This is bad news for your own personal karma as the rules of cause-and-effect show that these people are far less likely to help you out if you need it, and may even prefer to make things tough for you.
Work may sound like a bit of a karmic minefield, but it is not as hard to negotiate as you might imagine – all it takes is some awareness. Be genuinely appreciative when others do a good job or help you out, be patient and generous with your time, and make sure you listen proactively to others. This last one can be tricky, especially when we are all so concerned with our own lives and work. However, you can train yourself to really pay attention to others without switching off halfway through, and it is a great skill for other areas of your life too.
Staying mindful and aware of others will certainly help spread a more positive feeling and even help people who are studying to improve. This can be tough at work, where you are forced to interact with people you may not usually choose to. But, with a little bit of effort, you can soon find that your differences (whether that is in age, background, or any other thing you care to think of) matter less and less.
The benefits of spreading a little good karma around the workplace are clear. Firstly, good feeling makes everyone feel better, and the working day that bit more pleasant and (dare I say) enjoyable. Getting on well with your colleagues can also help business by improving productivity – for example - as people from different departments bond and share information. What’s more, sending out this positive karma will help your career too. It will boost your self-esteem, while showing you to be a productive, pleasant, and eminently promotable member of staff! Learning soft skills – such as how to communicate, influence others positively, and show humility – can all help with creating the right impression at work too.
When it comes to work (and other areas of life) by creating harmony and helping others you are really actually helping yourself!