Discerning Truth from Opinion – In the Workplace and in Life 

On March 16th, Israeli archaeologists announced the discovery of sea scroll fragments containing Biblical text. The scripture that was pieced together spoke to discerning truth.

The timing of this discovery is fascinating to me. We are exposed to so many words and images on a daily basis that pique our attention as possibly true, and yet if we wait to react until the truth is revealed, we frequently find the initial version wasn’t accurate. Too often people are hurt by the spreading of false information and attacks on their character that turn out to be unsubstantiated. Unfortunately, often the damage is already done.

Unsubstantiated accusations and unverified information in the workplace can be commonplace. Commonplace too are the change-orders, chargebacks and dismissals for unverified measurements, plan revisions and signoffs. These can sometimes be followed by accusations to others to cover one’s own misappropriated actions, or the acceptance of responsibility. Pointing fingers may not just cause someone a job but could cost a company its future. Those who own up to their intentional or unintentional misappropriations will ultimately be better for it in the long run—even if not necessarily in the moment.

Unsupported truths in the workplace are often associated with assumptions to why someone spoke or acted toward them in a certain way, rashly concluding it was due to some form of age, racial or other discrimination. Uncorroborated accusations of discrimination not only hinder the future of the accuser and accused’s current relationship, but also frequently cause the other to not take a chance for the same accusation, closing doors for others in the future. In the more than twenty-five years I have been a construction employment specialist, I can count on one hand the times I witnessed discrimination. More than not the decision to pass on someone older or younger has to do with the overall company circumstances at the time. Gender and ethnicity are usually not why someone is passed over. Rather, an incomplete command of the English language, inappropriate use of construction terminology, or an inability to demonstrate commitment, loyalty, foresight, or other character traits sought by employers.

Today’s technology and the ability to alter images can make a person, company or experience seem to be something it may or may not really be. Individuals and companies can also boost their image through paid advertising, contests, marketing and credentialing. The truth behind all of that is only revealed through personal experience.

How do you discern and render truth?

  1. Verify through communication, visualization, and rationality.
  2. If character and reputation are involved, presume innocence until guilt is proven.
  3. Don’t follow the crowd. Form your own opinions.
  4. Control your frame of mind/emotions to allow fact to be processed. Don’t make assumptions.

In today’s America, what is presented as fact may actually be false. We must all join together to better discern truth and eliminate perjury in the workplace. If we don’t choose to do so now, in the future we may not be given a choice as to who and where we work.

It’s pretty amazing that the scrolls were discovered this week over a half a century after archeologists pinpointed the possible location. Regardless of one’s interests in archeology or religion, we can recognize that the truth sets us free.

Will you seek and stand for substantiated truth in the workplace and in America?

Suzanne Breistol

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