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2008 Blog Action Day: Focus on Poverty

More than 10,000 bloggers are focusing on one issue of global importance: poverty.

Poverty can be defined as the lack of the necessities that determine quality of life—safe food and water, shelter and clothing plus opportunities including education and health care.

How does poverty relate to civility in the workplace?
Certainly it relates to civility, respect for all humankind. But the workplace? That’s a bit more difficult.

What if at a conference, we posted a sign at break time that said “This break of refreshments and food would have cost $238. There are no drinks or treats here because we donated that $238 to the local food pantry.” I think most people would be startled, but they would applaud the effort.

What if instead of a going-away gift or birthday gift, we gave a card with an alternative gift? (http://www.altgifts.org/)

Those would be acts of social responsibility
Here are more:

Push for fair trade coffee in your workplace.
Buy company clothing from a firm that doesn’t use sweatshops.
Give your time, talents and money to local charities endorsed by your workplace. (See last week’s post: The reliable way to buy happiness)
(June 12 post: Social responsibility in an organization)

Consider the clients
In my workplace, it’s first of all the people of Iowa.
Are we tolerant and accepting of people who have less money, less education, mental or physical problems? Do we show biases in our expressions, words and actions?
Do we work on programs to help lift people out of poverty rather than simply meeting poverty’s pressing and immediate need?
Do we provide access to our services for those who don’t have the money to purchase program materials, who don’t have computers at home or work, who can’t afford gas to attend?

If you don’t know TED, today would be a good day to visit.
TED on Rethinking Poverty
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has broadened. TED’s mission: Spreading ideas.

What do you think?
How can we address poverty in our workplaces?


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Poverty issues in the workplace is very common, as we in Extension deal with many issues that affect the low-income citizens of Iowa. If you are in any type of job that deals with the "public", then you are most likely dealing with some "poor people". Compassion toward their needs must be a part of "civility" in the work place. Whether it is collecting "Toys for Tots" or cans of food for the local food pantry, or donating egg cartons to hold the eggs for the hungry, or giving a work donation to the United Way...I could go on and on. I will always hope that I deal with a kind heart when poverty issues arise in the workplace. I think we should all challenge ourselves to "Rethink poverty" and how we can help those less fortunate, less educated, lower incomes to have some hope and fun in life.