Tuesday, October 24, 2017

There is a Time and a Place

I have always been outspoken, even as a child.  However, my Mother taught me early on that there is a time and a place for discussions about certain topics.  As I grew older, more mature and started to wear a professional "hat", I learned that depending on your profession, the workplace is generally NOT a good venue for political discussions, religious discussions, and of course - sexual discussions, and any other potentially polarizing topics.  You never know who will over-hear you, what their personal beliefs are, if they might be offended and how they might react.

In our current political environment, the need for decorum is becoming more and more evident, and fortunately, the lack of tolerance for inappropriate words and actions is becoming less and less standard.

My professional responsibilities include interviewing and hiring many people every year.  Even though my sensibilities are certainly not delicate, I am often astounded at what people will say during an interview process.  While I have not walked a mile in their shoes, I am still of the school of thought that if you are trying to obtain a job, that you would be on your best behavior during the interview process.  Bringing up your opinions on various political topics, politicians, racial topics, gun rights, women's rights, religious beliefs and of course, the never appropriate sexual innuendos is not a step in the right direction toward securing that job.

Many will say "What about the right to freedom of speech"?  "I have a right to have my own beliefs".  All that is true, there is freedom of speech in this country and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.  At the same time, there is a level of decorum that should be adhered to.  Take into account that the job you are interviewing for and the folks you are interviewing with also have a right to their own beliefs which might differ greatly from your own.  In turn, they have a right not to hire you due to something you said during the interview process.

Always keep in mind that it is also your right to work in an environment where you are not discriminated against or made to feel uncomfortable.  Everyone you work with has that right as well.  This is why keeping your political beliefs, religious beliefs etc. off the table at the workplace and definitely during the interview process, is important.  I shouldn't even have to mention sexual advances and innuendos, but with the recent headlines, it seems it needs to be included.

Comedians have a term "learn your audience" because not every audience is going to get your jokes, understand your humor or think specific content is funny.  The same goes for the workplace.  Get to know the people you work with before you say something that might put your job on the line.

As a rule of thumb, while interviewing for a job it is never a good idea to express your religious or political points of view during the interview process if the job is not in either of those arenas.  Should a person interviewing you ask you specifically about your religious or political views and those views do not pertain to the job at hand, be polite but clear and state that those topics are not of any relevance to the position.    It is actually your right to not have to discuss those topics to avoid any type of discrimination.

There is a time and a place to present your opinions on every topic imaginable, just know your audience and remember that everyone is entitled to their opinions, they might just not be the same as your own.

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