Employee and Employer – Soo Kwan Lee

A while back, I went to the store to purchase a lid for a garbage bin. The store rep told me that they didn’t sell the lids separately but then provided unsolicited advice to go ahead and purchase a whole new garbage bin and then make a store return without the lid. I politely smiled and refused that advice, but witnessing a lack of loyalty to one’s employer left a bad taste in my mouth. It seems that it’s more and more difficult to find people who are really grateful and appreciative of their workplace these days. In the old days, people had a strong sense of gratitude towards the company that allowed them to feed their families, and they stayed at one company all their life.

But I guess responsibility also lies with their employers. It’s hard to find employers that want to be accountable for the livelihood of their employees. Houston’s Korean community is no exception. I have heard of employers that will hire people and sponsor them for a green card. But in return, they intentionally deny them raises even after they’ve worked for 5 or 6 years. Some employers also neglect their employees’ welfare, knowing that there are many others who would line up for the job. Agreeing to sponsor an employee’s green card is indeed a good thing, but binding them to harsh terms and conditions and not sufficiently providing for them inevitably makes employees very unhappy. How can anyone feel loyalty to such an employer? How long can such a company last? I’m not saying that I don’t understand how companies must do all they can to compete in a harsh economy. But certain things can be counterproductive to their success.
I have to say that my heart still leaps whenever I see my previous company’s logo. It didn’t provide top notch benefits compared to other companies in the industry, but it educated a novice fresh out of college. It provided for our family, it cared for me, it let me work part-time when I was about to go to seminary, it became a sponsor for my green card, it kept me employed even when it knew that I would be quitting very soon, and it gave me a generous incentive payment I wasn’t entitled to. Whenever I can, I pray for the company that cared for me in times of need. When a company with non-believing owners does so much, shouldn’t Christian employers do even more?

The Apostle Paul tells us, “Employees, obey your employers with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ…. And employers, treat your employees in the same way. Do not threaten them, but give them good care.” (Ephesians 6:5-9 paraphrased) I pray that in Houston, where there are many Christians, such a beautiful employer-employee relationship will thrive.

Soo Kwan Lee

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