Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Consequences? What Consequences?

In my Introduction post, I made a comment about why I'm "only partially out of the Atheist Closet". I said in that post that "I still have no desire to have my personal life impact my professional life." Recently, I've been asked to clarify those comments.

First, let's get one thing out in the open right away. I've never been discriminated against for my religious affiliations (or lack thereof). I keep my personal opinions on religion to myself in the workplace. I do this mostly because I don't feel like work is a place to discuss those types of matters, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the unknown reaction of my co-workers and more importantly my supervisors didn't worry me.

I work in a field that requires a great deal of trust, and it's widely known through numerous recent studies that atheists are less trusted than pretty much any other group you can name. Rapists, pedophiles, illegal immigrants, etc. People believing you're untrustworthy in a job that requires trust? Seems like a poor plan.

Beyond the type of field that I work in, a surprisingly large number of my co-workers are extremely devout. One of them is even a minister. Ethnically, we're fairly diverse, and probably over 50% of the people I work with aren't Christians. We have a large number of Muslim and Hindu. Not to stereotype or anything, but their response to atheism has always seemed a bit more drastic to me.

Co-workers are always something to think about, but corporate managers are are another matter altogether. I live in Arizona, which is a "Right to Work" state. This means that I can be let go at any time, and a reason for that isn't necessarily required. Because of that, my manager and managers in my area can cause me serious trouble for just being an atheist. In the past, I've worked with devout LDS, and it seemed more wise to me to just keep that portion of my private life private.

I was happy to find out recently (after I'd written my Introduction) that my current manager is actually an atheist as well. That makes it highly unlikely that I'd experience any repercussions at work, at least from him. He also keeps his lack of belief to himself and only confided it in me because he suspected my affiliations. I suspect his concerns are similar to mine.

I hope this was enough to clarify why I've taken the position that I have in regards to my partial outness. More questions? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter.