Student Comments

 

David Sable, , a Centre Board member, teaches 2 undergraduate courses on Spirituality and Work at Saint Mary’s University.   At the end of his most recent semester, he asked his students to respond to the following questions.

“After 12 weeks in this course have you experienced a shift in how you think and or feel about spirituality and work?  If so, how would you describe it? If so, how will you manifest this shift in your life?

Their comments are listed below, for information on these courses please click here

  • “My focus has entirely shifted. I enrolled in the course as I was required to take a non-Commerce elective. I came into the course with the belief that spirituality was the same thing as religion – wrong. In gaining an understanding within the first two classes of the purpose and future content of the course, my interest was most definitely increased…I have studied Commerce for four years, and this is the first course that discussed the spirituality in the workplace, and its benefits. I was unaware of its significance, and even its presence, in my own workplaces, let alone all workplaces. I have come to shift my thinking towards how significant allowing employees to freely, but respectively, explore their spiritual side is. Allowing individuals to retain and develop their own spirituality within the work environment helps to not only attract and retain them, but to allow them to flourish into whole beings – whole beings that see their purpose and importance….Allowing individuals to connect with their spirituality at work creates happier and more peaceful people. And in turn, a more peaceful working environment, and a better connection to the other stakeholders involved – including the public…Personally, I have always valued spirituality – but always on my own time. If we, as a society, as a country, and even on a global level, could learn to translate this into the workplace then we will perhaps reach a new level of respect of ourselves, each other, and the world we do business in…I will no longer allow my spirituality to be silenced by the organization. An organization that does not value the same things I do is not somewhere I want to be. Work consumes a large part of our lives, and revoking any connection is a shame…I plan to, and have already started, sharing the knowledge and understanding I have gained in this course over the past semester. I feel like I have learned something valuable that I will take with me into the future. Even though some of the information was already inside my head, heart, and gut, this course has allowed me to translate these sensations and feelings into words, which is ever most powerful…I truly believe that this should be a required course for all students as this field will grow in the public spotlight in the years to come.
  • “After taking this course over the past 2 semesters I have experienced a shift in how I think and feel about spirituality in the workplace. … I have a greater understanding of how it all fits together and what to look for when entering the work world. It is not just about making money but more to set yourself up with a job that you are comfortable, engaged and can wake up every morning with a sense of satisfaction. … I feel that my knowledge and awareness of what to look for is much greater... Previous to this course I was really stumped and concerned with my future as I enter the work force and leave university. Now I realize there are options and places you can work where you might be able to find your calling. I’m not the only person who is concerned with the idea of what you want to do with your life and I realize it is not an easy thing to find. .. The shift in my life will be to try to continue with the conceptions we built in the class and use this knowledge to better my life when it comes to work and general outlook on life”
  • “Yes I now feel more enlightened; I believe that there is more to work then money. I have found my calling… and I owe it to you and this class, thank you!!”
  • “If you had asked me a couple days before the class was to begin, on what I thought spirituality in the workplace was, I believe that I would have stated it couldn’t exist. Thus being said, I would have argued that it is discriminating to speak of religion in the workplace. I did not quite fully comprehend the differential notions between the words religious beliefs and spirituality. Here I am now; knowing comfortably that spirituality is a part of religion, yet can fully stand on its own. I also enjoyed the way we viewed such companies as Tomasso foods, stressing the importance of the employees versus the management positions. Spirituality was practiced in forms that stressed mediation time, prayer/quiet rooms for the employees to go and think, and even follow-up meetings after being laid off. This shows the true respect and compassion that every single employee deserves by his employer on this earth. While walking through Costco a week or so ago, I noticed the Tomasso brand and even thought to myself, “Hey, I should buy some of their products sometime.” It would make me feel better, knowing that I am funding a company who takes such good care of their employers. Things like this matter in life….I also believe that through this class I have gained more respect towards people of different faiths …By working at a Visitors Information Center during the summer months, I see everything from Germans to Amish people. Some “ignorant” tourist may giggle or speak negatively of the Amish, for example, yet deep down I know that there is a greater strength that can be shared and learned between the two. I believe that this class has helped me embrace culture in a well-rounded fashion that I will be able to pursuit in my current work environment, and in future ones.”
  • “I absolutely have had a shift in how I think about spirituality in the workplace. When I first came into class I thought that spirituality in the workplace just involved what the Bible taught and nothing more. I must admit that I found it rather strange when people were giving their outlook on what they felt spirituality in the workplace was. After several weeks in the course my thinking began to shift.  I learned that spirituality is not just about what the Bible teaches but much more. It involves a lot of different aspects such as ethics and respect. I would have never known this if I didn't take this course so I am definitely glad that I have. I will also definitely tell people about my experience and maybe even teach them about what spirituality in the workplace incorporates”
  • “I now realize there is a huge difference between religion and spirituality in the work place. I have also discovered things about myself as well. I have discovered that although I am not a very religious person, I am a very spiritual person…I have found spirituality in the work place has helped me in becoming a better co-worker. I find myself having more patience with others at work now. I am also working on listening to my co-workers and being more understanding of their side instead of drawing a conclusion before they are finished…After 12 weeks of this course, which turned out to be nothing like I imagined it would be, as definitely shifted my opinions toward spirituality in the work place.”
  • “I found the most profound shift in the fall semester. I found that I was getting along better with my coworkers that I was enjoying my work more, that I was more optimistic and hopeful about corporate North America and that when I focused on that positive, being spiritual at work, it grew. Just as my bitterness had before I saw that there could be a spiritual aspect to all work. I learned some very good lessons, things I knew already but needed to be shown and told again, that what you think about you bring about. I also started sharing more of myself to people at work and actually made friends of some of my coworkers. I also decided to make Business my minor. I like that I can actually have a degree in Arts with a major in Religious Studies and a minor in Business and it makes sense to me. I explained how the two were beneficial with each other in an interview for a new position within the provincial government in December. I received the job, and it was good because I never discussed my religious studies in a work setting before, let alone an interview. Now this position is coming with its own set of problems but I am coping much better as a result of this course.”
  • “After 12 weeks I have had a shift in what I think about spirituality in the workplace. What has changed for me is my definition of spirituality in the workplace. Before this class I had a definition of spirituality in general that was aligned with the definition provided in class; but when it came to spirituality in the workplace specifically I thought it was solely religion. I always thought of spirituality in the workplace as trying to deal the different religions within the workplace. I think this will change how I view human resource methods. By knowing and understanding the true meaning of spirituality in the workplace it will allow me to handle human resource problems in a different/better fashion. It will also help in creating cohesiveness within the workplace.”
  • “After 12 weeks in this course I have started to think about how I view my workplace and how others may view their workplace. I find myself thinking about spiritual issues at work and even getting into some discussions with fellow workers about spiritual issues. I do not have negative feelings towards spirituality in the workplace but instead have positive feelings about it... I have defiantly been aware of myself at work and looking to see if I am disengaged or engaged in my workplace. I become very aware of myself at work because of this course. It has made me want to find a more serious job that can suit my spiritual needs and to have it become a spiritual path, not just a job.”
  • “This course has had an impact on the way I view spirituality in the workplace. The course has opened my eyes to how spirituality in the workplace can benefit both the employee and employer. Before I did not realize that the practice of spirituality in the workplace would complement the goals of the company and give the employee growth. I believe I would now be more confident in expressing my spirituality in the workplace.”
  • “I have definitely experienced a shift in how to think about spirituality in the workplace. That shift would be that I am inclined as to view spirituality from different points of view than just relating to Christianity or the Bible. I never looked spirituality in the workplace as about the good others do and how they felt about their jobs but rather viewed it as how a person exemplifies themselves according to what the Bible tells us to do…I will manifest this shift by relating to others what I have learned, that spirituality goes further than what we see it as.”
  • “I believe I have experienced a shift in understanding in how other people might feel in particular workplace situations. Sometimes it is easy to only see or understand your own view and due to the large amount of discussion, contemplation, sharing contemplations with a partner and then reviewing them next class, gives me a more insightful view into different people’s opinions and feelings about spirituality in the workplace…I plan on having a career in the human resources field and I feel as though this course has made me become more aware and sensitive when helping or focusing on employees. I have learned I must take into account the different views and attitudes towards the workplace environment...This course has also made me wonder what kind of employer I would be if I owned my own company and how I would like my employees to view my company and how I would like to treat my employees.”
  • “After 12 weeks in this course, I have a totally new idea about spirituality in the workplace. Before I took this course, I thought that the workplace just is one place to work. People go there for money to support their life. But now I think my old thinking is totally wrong. There are two things I think that is important for me. One, I did not believe [there were] some who did not want to work just for money, but now I know someone really did it. It shows me spirituality in the workplace. And it can be very successful. Second, diversity in workplace is not just to make problems; it also can help work well. For example, culture diversity is big problem in workplace. If people can use advantages of different culture, it will add production in workplace. Of course I still learned many new ideas for this course.”
  • One thing I gathered from this class as it pertains to spirituality and the workplace is that, you have to stand back and take a moment (during this moment I breathe through my stomach) and look at the big picture. Look at all the parts of the organization, how they relate and why. Through this you can see the value in individuals and appreciate people on a deeper level, making you more effective.”
  • “When I first started to come to Spirituality class, I was expecting to move on by memorizing some theories because of having midterms and written staff. But After several classes, I realized that I was practically moved by my ideas and behaviors rather than [just] memorizing them. I think this class is more than religion course; it gives freshness to my body and brain. I started to make decisions by not using money as a higher priority. Because we have discussed many topics related to advantages of working at foundations. For example in the Greyston bakery discussion, I have experienced that there are many people are not working just for money. Some of people are trying to help others who need aid. ..Contemplations also helped me to see myself how I leveled up. When I read my old written contemplations, I realized that I really changed on my ideas.  I also want to experience the Tomasso example when I get back to work in Turkey. I really like their working style…after I saw Tomasso’s working conditions, I would like to apply and see the result in soon.”
  • “At the beginning of this semester, I thought this course was all about religions. But after these 12 weeks I have noticed that spirituality in the workplace is not all about religion. It’s actually about people being nice and acting in a more moral way. This course has actually discussed if it is correct to act in an unmoral way to gain more money. 12 weeks ago to be honest I have never thought of those kind of things, but now even when I read our local newspaper, I stop and think about the subject and discuss it to myself if its ethical or not.”
  • “This is my second class studying spirituality in the work place, so I guess that would make it 24 weeks of courses in total. I must say that I have gained a huge respect for companies that are taking on the goal of integrating such a factor into their operations. I used to see a huge black hole around the corporate world and our capitalistic society dragging almost all human empathy and personal life into nothingness (what a salary may become over time). Now I see hope. A balance may form to make room for unique personalities of all types and for all natural life in a corporate world largely built of a capitalistic culture…My partner found this course to be quite effective in changing her views on the corporate world as well. She felt quite comforted for her future might not be as gloomy and stale as a number working for more numbers and getting numbers in return. She feels as she might have a greater joy in her future as an HR employee.”
  • “After 12 weeks study, I think spirituality is like a kind of attention. When you focus on something, you may feel it.
  • “Before I took this course, I had totally no idea what this course is talking about. I never take any courses which are about spirituality and workplace. Also, I have not worked before. That is the reason why I am interested in this course. First of all, during this course, I understand it talking about the relationship between people in the company. Secondly, I understand people who are on different position will have different spiritualities. Last, how to make people who have different spirituality and different position to work well is the main point. In my opinion, this course will help me to understand the life in workplace and teach me how to keep the good relationship with others.”
  • “I know how important spirituality in workplace is… but sometimes this is not rational, because, if people really need money, the first consideration is wages. But sometimes some people will think happiness is more important than pay. I am really happy I chose this course, because I would never think about spirituality before when I face working at a company. But now, this will be one of my considerations.”
  • “After 12 weeks in this course I haven’t really had a shift in the way I think or feel about spirituality in the workplace. I guess my understanding of how others feel about the importance of spirituality in their workplace has opened up. I am a spiritual person, not religious, so in my workplace I just want to feel comfortable and happy. Things that influence my spirituality at work include incorporating the outdoors into the workplace (I neeeed windows), having long enough breaks to get outside, being able to communicate with my co-workers, etc. I appreciate that others may feel that their religion is key to their comfort or spirituality in the workplace, and I think it’s fine and appropriate for them to be able to practice, as long as it doesn’t make others uncomfortable. For example, while I’m open, I feel uncomfortable with the idea of religious symbols displayed in the workplace. As an HR major one of the things that I think is key is ensuring that all employees are able to feel comfortable and accepted in their workplace, spirituality is one of the factors in this."
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