You hold your own in a conversation about politics. You donate to your causes, and your wallet speaks for your values you when you shop. But what about when it comes to your career? In this economy, can you afford to turn down a job just because it goes against your ideals?
When I graduated from college, my school urged us to sign “rainbow pledges.” The document stated that as representatives of our alma mater, we’d only accept jobs that, essentially, were good for the earth. Holding my five-years-in-the-making diploma and being convinced I was about to embark on a course to change the world, I signed. And then I accepted a job with a huge, international big-box store selling software wrapped in excessive packaging. What are members of the creative professions to do – hold fast to their ideals or take work when they can get it? This is something that’s been on my mind the past week. First I saw a tweet from graphic designer Joann Sondy: “Yes, I have turned down work based on my set of ethics. Consider myself liberal but sometimes a job comes along that just isn't me.” Then a friend of mine said that despite the fact that he’s desperate for a job, he turned down a well-paying gig with a man running for Congress because the politician supports the Defense of Marriage Act, and my friend is fiercely against it. While I applaud these two for sticking to their guns, on the other hand, isn’t someone else going to get paid to do that work? Did these rejections change the other people’s minds? And will my friend’s ideals be paying his rent next month? Some graphic designers depend on each and every check coming in. Freelancers can’t always predict when work will be steady, and even 9-to-5-ers have been experiencing layoffs in droves. Yet, are your ideals enough of a part of you to be bigger than a career? What do you say: Do politics come into play when you’re weighing job offers?