I grew up Catholic. I was baptized in Chicago, I attended St. Rita Grammar School and then St. Rita High School on the Southwest Side of Chicago. I rediscovered my faith in a strong way during college when I started to serve as a church musician at St. Symphorosa Parish. There was a while when I explored other religions or modes of spirituality including Buddhism, Taoism, various nature-based and Native American spiritual views, and maybe even agnosticism for a bit. Since 2000, the year my wife and I were married in the court and then in the Church, we’ve raised our family Catholic.

In the last three weeks after the Easter Season, the Church observes three mysteries – Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi – where we reflect on concepts that are not understandable by mortals.

Of these feasts, Pentecost has a profound effect on me. During Pentecost, we remember that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Twelve Apostles in the form of “tongues, as of fire” who began spreading the Word of God and being understood by each person in his or her own language. Pope Francis in 2017 explained the Spirit as creating both diversity and unity and, in the way, creates the “Universal Church.”

In this story, I see a message of vocation – the Spirit moving people, calling them to action to use their gifts to help others. This time of year makes me reflect on what I’m called to do and to take stock in the gifts I’ve received. 

During Confirmation (I had mine in eighth grade, but all three of our kids were confirmed in more recent years), we are reminded that the Holy Spirit provides seven gifts

  1. Wisdom
  2. Understanding
  3. Counsel
  4. Fortitude
  5. Knowledge
  6. Fear of the Lord
  7. Piety

These gifts certainly in our daily personal lives and interpersonal relationships can help us to live a better life. But, it seems to me that, from an I-O Psychology perspective, there are business applications to our vocational careers.

Business Applications of these Gifts

When we look at selection processes, job analysis, employee attitudes, motivations, and worker satisfaction in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, we often look at things in the context of KSAOs (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and other characteristics) which are pertinent to success in a role one plays within a company.

Wisdom allows us to make good decisions. We discern given inputs of data, feelings, and “that little voice inside us” to make the right choice.

Understanding allows us to think clearly, to empathize, and to internalize the important factors into the “why” of things.

Counsel allows us to provide good advice. When working within team environments, being able to count on each others’ counsel and inputs aids in providing quality. Managers leverage this gift to help shape outcomes through the people the supervise.

Fortitude is the “grit” we require to be resilient enough to “right the ship” when things to awry.

Knowledge allows us to acquire and master the facts and information we receive which can be translated through Understanding and Wisdom to provide Counsel and good work.

Piety grounds us, makes us humble, and allows us to serve others based on the other gifts and our own self mastery.

Fear of the Lord is an interesting concept which may not make itself present in today’s workplace. Different people have different religious beliefs, different modes of spirituality, and different forms of expression of their faith. Many are offended by religion entering the workplace (which I find funny since my wife and I have been watching “God’s Favorite Idiot” on Netflix recently. This is certainly part of the aforementioned diversity in our world. However, a very common business concept which ties in to this gift is that of ethics. Companies have an ethics policy, and trade associations and certifying bodies have codes of ethics by which practitioners are bound. These are often grounded in Judeo-Christian beliefs and values. If we don’t wish to acknowledge an awe of God, perhaps it might be too an awe of the beings made in God’s image and likeness and the mutual respect we should have for each other demonstrated by moral and ethical interactions with each other.

My hope is that this blog didn’t come across “preachy” or “holier-than-thou”; this time of year and the readings and homilies of the time make me try to tie my spiritual understanding to how I operate. I just thought I’d share some thoughts.