In five ways should workers and servants as the lower direction be respected by an employer: by allocating work according to aptitude, providing wages and food, looking after the sick, sharing special treats, and giving reasonable time off work.
And, workers and servants so respected reciprocate with compassion in five ways: being willing to start early and finish late when necessary, taking only what is given, doing work well, and promoting a good reputation.
In this way, the lower direction is protected and made peaceful and secure.
This section provides remarkably apt advice, especially considering it was composed two and a half thousand years ago. One distinguishing feature of any good employer is that she adjusts the work to suit the workers as much as possible; provides challenge where that is helpful, moves people towards the areas in which they feel the most interest and confidence. It’s more art than science, and a good manager will work at it every day.
Some employers give fair pay and some do not; there are many people today working for less than a living wage. Health benefits (in America) and time off for recreation have usually been expected from employers, but cannot be taken for granted in today’s economy. Reasonable time off from work is one more feature of a healthy workplace relationship. These are the indicators of a wholesome relationship between employers and workers. If you are in a management position where you are unable to offer these signs of respect to workers, it is your duty to consider what may be done to improve the situation.
For the respected employee, there is a willingness to make the employer’s goals her own. Giving a full day’s work, providing value for money; these are things a worker may take pride in. Showing respect and pride in one’s work benefits both the employer and the employee.
If this is live issue for you, you may want to go back and have a look at the posts on Livelihood (see blog entries by topic to the right of this post).
In a broad perspective, much of the world works on (or with) graft and other forms of corruption. There are countries where the main economy is under the control of organized crime. What to do? It is worth recognizing that people caught in this situation do not have many options for engaging in right livelihood, and that this is a spiritual loss. It is a sign of un-health when employer-employee relations cannot be straightforward.
Outside of your own workplace, there is a steady stream of encounters with service people. How kind are you to the check-out person in the grocery store? The plumber, handyman, or meter reader? The harassed clerk taking your credit card at the gas station? You can make a bright spot in a shopkeeper’s day, or create one more burden for her.