Sometimes it’s tough if you are a liberal and committed to a progressive political agenda while working in a red state.
The big question: Will I get fired by my conservative boss if I don’t hide my beliefs and political activities?
Having lived and worked in Oklahoma for most of my life, there have been plenty of times when I found myself navigating between the conservative political climate, the conservative political beliefs of my boss, and the conservative politics of clients.
From that experience, here are some ideas about how to keep your job without compromising your core beliefs:
1. Clearly separate your personal political activities and your business/work activities. You cannot be sloppy, lazy, or casual about expressing your political beliefs.
- All social media activity must be clearly separated by different accounts in each platform.
- Claim your associations in your profile on each personal account claiming that these are your personal ideas and do not represent your employer or clients.
- Limit times during the work day for personal/political activity to obvious before-work, lunch-time, and after-work time periods.
2. Have a planned discussion with your boss about it.
- Claim that you have particular political beliefs that are not do not represents the majority of the surrounding society.
- Acknowledge that there are others who might disagree.
- Commit to never start any kind of political strife at work. (More on that in number 4 below)
3. If you are in a position where you have clients, simply stay silent about politics unless the client has direct questions about your activities.
- In most cases clients are focused on what they need you to do for them, not your beliefs about politics.
- If they do want to know, then ask questions, too. Make sure that you are clear about their questions.
- Only answer questions that they ask and add nothing more.
4. Do not engage in political activity, research, or reading on company equipment, spaces and time.
- Remember, that space, equipment, and time belong to the company.
- If you do engage in personal use of space/equipment/time, that gives co-workers or a boss who disagree with your political views a pretext for getting you fired without having to claim their true motives.
- Be easy to get along with on all things, including political statements that you might hear from those who think “everyone” believes their right-wing ideology.
- Set a goal to make at least two work friends with people who you know disagree with you. It’s good for the company, you, and your sanity to have people who see you as a person and not an ideology.
5. In your personal life, go ahead and openly support particular candidates that reflect your beliefs unless they are openly working against your company. It is actually easier to defend your support of a candidate than general political beliefs.
- It softens the discussion for co-workers or a boss to ask why you support a candidate rather than why you believe certain abstract concepts.
- If a boss is worth working for, they will not want to seem vindictive and unfair. Punishing you in any way for working to support a candidate will make them seem to be that way, and so they will be reluctant to do so.
Are you working for a conservative boss? How have you dealt with keeping a good relationship while standing for what you believe? Please do comment.
Did you like this? If so, you might find these previous posts to be helpful: