Unless you are living in a bubble, no doubt you have heard about the ongoing discussion of sports players taking a knee, sitting out or avoiding the National Anthem. No matter your view on the topic, the action entails people demonstrating their views in public, specifically at work. That brings up the question, how does publically sharing one’s views impact the “jobseeker”?
I recently wrote a series about how social media can affect your personal brand here and here. In it, I discussed the impact your social media pages can have on your personal brand. Today, we are learning how sharing one’s views can impact their career, and also as a jobseeker. As a recruiter, I have always felt that by taking a public stance on a topic, I lose half my market. Having served in the Military for 20 years and now the federal government, I am used to keeping my personal opinion to myself at work. I could share my point of view on sensitive subjects, but I know that doing so comes with consequences I must be prepared for. We all have the right to share, voice, stand and kneel. And unless you are in a dark room in your home, someone is listening and watching and they will most likely have an opinion. Maybe it is the same as mine, maybe not.
Uncle Sam made it easy for me, “The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, prohibits employees in the executive branch of the federal government from engaging in some forms of political activity”. The military adopted a similar policy. In private sector, we each make our own decisions on what we want to “take a stand” for.
A recent survey finds 75% of Americans Believe Employers Should Take a Political Stand. I find that surprising, but okay. Let’s entertain that. As a jobseeker, would you apply for a company that had differing opinions than your own on hot-button issues? I believe companies have a social responsibility to do good for their employees and communities when possible. Build a playground, sponsor a fundraiser for kids or host a community clean-up day, these are things I can understand. As a jobseeker, be prepared for limited options when we mix politics and career. I am not sharing this point of view as a spiritual advisor or civil rights counselor; I am sharing it as a career counselor. No one cares about your career, like you do.