Cultivation in the Workplace
1. Rectifying Myself
In late October 2007, I started a new job as assistant to a department director at a private company. My boss was an angry man with a hot temper. He seemed to enjoy verbally insulting his subordinates. As his assistant, I became an easy target for his abuse. On the surface, it appeared that he was criticizing me because of my unsatisfactory job performance. When he scolded me, I usually didn't take it personally and kept my composure. I tried to view the situation from the perspective of a practitioner: I have little work experience and did not do a good job. I regretted not doing a better job. Because of my superficial understanding of the situation, I thought it was OK to be yelled at. Sometimes, I thought these difficult situations were created for improving my character. When these things happened, I learned to endure harsh words and increase my forbearance. Despite my understanding, on several occasions I still couldn't bear the humiliation and burst into tears.
One day, I was yelled at again for some trivial thing. It was a very humiliating experience for me. Our office had an open floor, so when he scolded me, all the colleagues could hear it. This time, I felt so hurt that tears started to run down my face. I ran into a bathroom and began crying like a child. I knew clearly that a practitioner should not cry over this. I recited Master's poem in "HongYin" II:
away with your tears
The devil, Satan,
has utterly collapsed" ("Be Clearheaded")
The more I recited the poem, the more hurt I felt. I wanted to cry aloud to express my emotion, but I managed to control myself so others wouldn't hear. All the miserable experiences I had been through came back to me like a movie. "If the CCP hadn't persecuted Falun Gong, I would have kept my teaching job and become an associate professor at a prominent university by now." But now I had to look for jobs everywhere. Here I was, an outstanding scholar, enduring humiliation working as an assistant. The more I felt like a victim, the more hurt I became. I stayed in the bathroom crying for almost an hour.
Suddenly I realized something: "This miserable woman is not me. I am a Dafa disciple and I should not have these kinds of emotions. A practitioner should not carry this much self pity. These feelings are not mine." I realized that these hurt feelings were actually bad thoughts dragging me down. They tried to make my life miserable and break my determination, and I came to realize that I should not go along with them. I told the hurt feelings, "You are not me. I refuse to own you. I know you want to hurt my feelings, but I will not go along with it. I am a Dafa practitioner and the most fortunate person on earth. I should smile." After that thought, a natural smile appeared on my face. A strong current of energy, like electricity, came through my body. All of a sudden, I felt very relaxed, and my tears disappeared. For a few minutes, my thoughts became calm and I regained my posture. When I walked out of the bathroom with a happy smile on my face, no one could tell that I had just stopped crying ten minutes prior.
I continued working with the director in a friendly manner as if nothing had happened. At the same time, I began judging everything with righteous thoughts. I discovered that I was lacking necessary self confidence. Since my work history was sporadic due to the persecution, I always felt that I needed more experience, and others were more capable than me. In my eyes, even an average employee without much education had more experience than me. I realized that this lack of confidence was not very righteous. As a practitioner, why couldn't I have more confidence? How could a practitioner feel inferior to an everyday person? Even on an ordinary level, my credentials were far superior to average people. With that new understanding, I gradually gained confidence. Things were starting to improve, but my boss still yelled at me at times.
One day when he started scolding me, I thought, "Why does he keep treating me this way? What's wrong with me? Do I deserve the insult because of unsatisfactory work?" When I interviewed for the job, he asked me, "I have a bad temper and often yell at my subordinates. Would you mind this as my assistant?" I said, "That's OK, it's only normal to have some temper. I wouldn't mind." I realized that my answer gave him the green light to yell at me, and that was wrong. I had to correct this wrong notion.
In going one step further, I found that I had some bad thoughts about him. From the day I met him, I felt that he was a dirty, lustful man. Even though other people didn't feel that way, I disliked him for that. But as a practitioner, I shouldn't think that way. Wasn't I destroying him by thinking negatively? I realized that I was wrong and I should not have those kinds of thoughts. Although he had no idea about them, subconsciously he could sense that. Therefore, he was angry at me all the time.
At the same time, I also realized another issue. I myself also had a desire for lust. In my own dimensions, the substance nurturing lust was not totally cleared out. Though I could distinguish the lust from my true nature, I could not completely relinquish it. The dirty thoughts still affected me every now and then. Whenever I saw a single man, they would manifest themselves, and my brain was injected with all kinds of indecent thoughts. The director happened to be a single man, therefore when I first met him, these impure thoughts began to bother me. Although I could repel them, they always came back. I also found other wrong thoughts, and I was very ashamed of myself. I tried my best to rectify my mind, and I sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the impure thoughts whenever they surfaced. I also asked Master to help me. As my mind became more righteous, my boss stopped yelling at me.
Several months later, he resigned from the company. In our last conversation, he apologized, "If we have another chance to work together, I would never yell at you again." I gave him a copy of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, a 2008 New Tang Dynasty TV Gala DVD and some other Falun Gong literature. I also told him some personal stories about Falun Gong. After he realized that I was a Falun Gong practitioner, he expressed his gratitude, and told me that he always thought that I "was an outstanding person in every aspect."
2. My Change Influenced Her
The human resources (HR) director of my company, Ms. Yang, had the reputation for having a hot temper, but since I work in a different department, I had little contact with her. My early impressions of Ms. Yang came from my colleagues. A colleague close to me always told me how mean and bossy she was. Everything said about her was negative.
When I first heard about her, I could restrain myself from jumping to conclusions. I didn't want to form a notion about her, because I really didn't know her that well. But as more gossip came to my ears, I began paying attention to it. Sometimes I even found myself asking others about her, and my bias against her became stronger. I often saw her giving her subordinates a hard time in front of others. Her choice of language was rather vulgar, and even during a normal conversation, she used dirty words. My dislike of her grew stronger and stronger. Although I didn't reveal my opinion, she somehow sensed it and began giving me a hard time. During a management meeting, she openly embarrassed me, and the mutual dislike between us grew.
When I was hired, the contract stated that my probationary period would be three months. One week after my three-month probation was over, I submitted a work summary. It was right before the New Year, and my paperwork for formal employment was temporarily on hold. A month later, I became impatient and began asking my boss to discuss my status with Ms. Yang, but she kept delaying the case for various reasons. As a practitioner, I should not have been attached to this, but I was nonetheless strongly attached to the outcome. The more she delayed my case, the more resentment I felt toward her. I knew she had a tense relationship with my boss, so she intentionally gave me a hard time. During a meeting with both of them, I noticed my attitude was rather hostile. With no smile on my face, I was impatient and confrontational. I knew this was wrong, but somehow I just couldn't control myself. As a result, my boss harshly criticized me. Ms. Yang did not say much.
After work, I felt terrible. I was wrong, and as a practitioner, I should never behave like that. In the evening, I cooled down and reviewed my thoughts. I discovered that I had an incorrect notion. I didn't treat people with compassion. I should never have had any negative thoughts about her. As a practitioner, thinking negatively about others will cause harm to them, so I decided to apologize to her. The next morning, I walked into her office and apologized. I told her that I really didn't use good manners, and failed to recognize the tough situation she was in. I told her that I displayed an unpleasant attitude and hoped that she didn't feel hurt. To my surprise, she told me in a friendly tone that she didn't dwell on the incident at all. She said that she always regarded me as a polite person and a capable employee. My status was changed quickly. After this incident, I found that my prior notions about her were completely gone. More amazingly, I never saw her yelling at others again. I realized that my change had brought about a change in her.
3. Relinquishing the Human Heart
The company owner was also a man of short temper, and he often yelled at his managers with very harsh words. It was funny that I had worked in several different companies before, but had never seen so many difficult bosses in one company.
When I first joined the company, he scolded me several times. The most serious incident occurred on my birthday. He stayed at work till 8:00 p.m. and criticized my work ethic. In his opinion, I did nothing for the company during my first six months of employment. In reality, I had done a lot of work under stress, but he didn't know that. He made his judgments from his own perspective. The owner didn't have much formal education, and he had no appreciation for my expertise. If I followed his way of doing things, it would have been almost impossible to accomplish my work effectively.
Not long after I joined the company, I started to become afraid of him. In the beginning, he discovered some of my errors at work. The more I tried to do a better job, the more errors I made, and due to my unfamiliarity with the environment, I made some stupid mistakes. Every time an error occurred, he expressed his dissatisfaction, and gradually, I began to "fear" him. He also had a habit of demanding that people repeat a job, and he changed his mind all the time. Right after I finished one assignment under his direction, he completely changed his mind and asked me to do it differently. On one occasion he asked me to make an appointment with a client. Within an hour, he made eight changes of time and location. As a result, I had to make five changes with the client. In the end, he lost track of his own requests. For these reasons, everyone finds him difficult to work with, and I was no exception. I always tried to avoid him as much as possible.
When he scolded me, I felt very frustrated. I worked hard and long, and yet he criticized me for not doing anything. I explained my work to him, and told him what I had accomplished. After he realized that what I said was true, he didn't say anything. In the evening after I went home, I felt bad. I knew that I should look inside to find my own problems and the root cause, and I realized that my "fear" of him was not right. It wasn't a righteous mindset that a practitioner should have. After I examined myself carefully, I discovered that this fear had many sources. Fear of a bad performance, fear of his criticism, fear that someone thinks I haven't done enough work, and fear that I might lose the job and income. I was surprised to find so many fears under the surface.
I strove to rectify my wrong notions. I had to establish my own confidence and eliminate the fears, not focusing on possible mistakes. I was a very outstanding person. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am no exception. On my fear of losing the job, I realized that although the company belonged to him, the job opportunity was arranged by my Master. Only Master can decide how long I should work there, not the company owner. On the other hand, I also came to realize that he started the company almost single handedly from scratch, and it might have been his past-life pledge to provide me with a job in order to save sentient beings.
I also came to a new understanding. The notion that he was always angry at my mistakes originated from my own imagination. All those thoughts were ordinary human thoughts and not righteous at all. In real life, things develop according to one's own thoughts.
After I realized this problem, I strongly rejected these notions. Gradually, my fears disappeared. I also sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate the evil elements behind the owner. In the past, I had thought these were ordinary situations and didn't require any righteous thoughts. But now I no longer think that way. As a Dafa disciple, I know that nothing is accidental. Especially during this Fa Rectification Period, we must not take things lightly. We should treat all issues with righteous thoughts, no matter how normal they may appear.
After I rectified my own thinking, the owner changed. He not only stopped yelling at me, but also praised me in front of other people. His attitude toward me became very polite. Even when he was in a bad mood, he didn't express his anger. He no longer asked me to repeat any jobs. My change in notions led to his change in behavior.