WE CREATED A “FOUND POEM” composed from the words of interview participants who were describing experiences of compassion at work. In it, people described common assumptions that made interpreting suffering difficult, such as:
There was a real norm in our department of modesty and always presenting a good face.
Keep your skeletons at home.
You’re not supposed to have a personal life.
You’re supposed to take care of business.1
Work organizations that have widespread and pervasive assumptions about putting on a good face or keeping our skeletons at home make it harder to understand suffering. These assumptions dispose us to interpret suffering as unworthy of compassion at work. If we can’t interpret ...