Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seeking the Spiritual Side of Work

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seeking the Spiritual Side of Work

Article excerpt

When executives attend a seminar by World Bank engineer Richard Barrett it's not to hear his views on urban transport, his vocational specialty.

What's making this affable, 50-year-old Briton known in corporate boardrooms is his appeal to "move the concept of values and spirituality into the business community."

For managers trying to lift employee morale out of the dumps, Barrett's message that employees who bring "passion" to their jobs perform better, has a timely ring.

Some executives may wonder if it's not an elixir for survivors of corporate downsizings.

"As companies have downsized, restructured and reorganized themselves into oblivion, they've been left with skeleton crews who, quite literally, feel lifeless, tired and sucked dry," said Personnel Journal, a trade magazine that monitors human resources issues, in its September issue.

Barrett says those who reflect on the spiritual at work will be "more intuitive and creative." They will focus on "the collective good," not on "private empire-building."

To weave spirituality into one's work life, he says thinking in terms of "my job" or "my career" should be replaced with "my mission," attainable only by "giving from the heart."

At the World Bank's Spiritual Unfoldment Society - founded by Barrett three years ago and which now counts 350 members - employees gather for an hour on Wednesday afternoons to exchange views on religion, astrology, yoga, meditation, reincarnation, vegetarianism or "personal transformation."

These topics should not be confined to church, Barrett said in an interview. "If we're ever going to live a sustainable life on this planet, it's the workplace that's going to create it, because nation states are no longer in control of the world economy. Business is in control."

The World Bank itself profits from a new vision that reaches beyond the strictly economic, Barrett says. …

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