So I am 21 years old and for the first time in my life I have a job! Hooray!
So I started working 2 weeks ago and well, the place is full of religious stuff everywhere.
I work for a nationwide insurance company and they have crosses everywhere, biblical quotes on the walls, and even their card holders is some bible verse.
They have the radio set to the christian radio station and it gets a bit annoying.
How can I deal with this? Well I guess I can't do anything about it...
Well I guess my concern is what do I do if they ever ask me something about religion and I tell them I'm an Atheist? I'm scared I'll get fired for that.
What if I take my "Feminist Atheist" coffee mug to work?!
Have you guys ever dealt with something like this?
Pretty damn sure that if they fired you for being an athiest, you would be able to drag them into court and win.
Proving that that's why they did it would be tough part. They will come up with some other rationale.
If they are staggeringly stupid enough to leave a paper trail, on the other hand....
It's interesting, because for whatever reason a number of insurance companies, particularly those that have core businesses in life or health coverage, have religious backgrounds. That's not a horrible thing as a corporate ethic; having some sense of duty to God and service to humanity sure beats the AIG model of grabbing money as fast as you can for shareholders at the expense of the nation.
I can see where it would be a bit oppressive being that overt in an office, though. Even as a Christian, I find that sort of thing both shallow and over-the-top.
My view, though, is that as a new, young worker you're not going to change the office culture, so I would treat it as just one of those things. Like the co-worker who always has to spend 20 minutes talking about his kids or the weekly stupid Dilbert-style staff meeting. Let it roll off you, learn the business, gain experience, and then in a year or two seek a transfer to a different office that's less overt or take your experience to a different company. Or not. If you like the place otherwise, who cares what's hanging on the walls?
Oh, if only what's hanging on the walls would be all that really matters! It smacks of exclusionism. I mean, I hate to be cynical, but in-your-face style of religion is practically the main reason I'm drawn to TA.
that must be so difficult. It does put things here in a little different perspective. We are "free" to openly practice whatever religion (or none) we want here, but there are repercussions nonetheless.
Those repercussions are minimal compared to what you are talking about, Omar. I am glad you can at least access the internet and express yourself safely here. Stay safe!
I was wondering about that, In a country that is not "atheist friendly" how do you get personal information out without some unfriendly ears hearing about it, I would be rather nervous about writing anything that some government ears might make trouble for me.
I second this and don't know what to add. Just hope that someday it won't be necessary to normalize entire populations by force and/or heavy peer pressure, but enable people with wider education and opportunities.
Well, I've been going through the same situation. In my country, practically everyone is religious. I suggest one of two approaches.
1- Either make things very clear from the very beginning, so that noone will bother you again, open any religious topics, invite you to go to church or religious events with them. The downside is that people's treatment towards you and their behavior might change, you might become a bit of an outcast in the office, but less headaches on the long run. It will take a bit of courage and the right timing. Don't go all "I am an atheist and you are all stupid" on them, or engage in religious/theological discussions, because I've learned that you can say you are an atheist or that you don't believe in many ways without having to be very direct. You are bound to meet one or two people who are the same as you in the office but are in hiding, this will definitely help. Bringing in that mug after a couple of months (When you have eased in, and made a few friends), might cause a bit of a stir at first but will work on the long run.
2- Cower under your desk and avoid any religious discussions. This might work for a while but will require some discipline on your side. It worked for me for a while but is very tough, specially if you are working with muslims, and people think you are one of them, and so you are invited to pray once every two hours or so, 3 to 4 times a day, becomes a bit too much.
No one is bound to work at the same place forever, if you start to feel very uncomfortable, then you should look for another job.
I recently formally joined a local church with my girl friend(yes my last marriage died 9 months ago like anyone cares), and it has been an interesting ride so far. It is very clear that I have an attitude to religion similar to an allergic reaction, but it does not general cause hives or mucus membrane swelling, ;p).
My girl friend knows that I am 'basically an atheist', but also knows that I have a deeper plan afoot. Right now our minister 'knows/suspects' that I am atheist, but I do not challege her authority generally because she also has a rather significant science background, professional courtesy I think.
I am generally open with my 'questions', but my girl friend does not have the 'thought habits' that make it easy to have a conversation. I expect 'god', 'jesus', 'creation', 'holidays', 'ethical/moral', and 'sin', 'cultural revolution', 'history', 'governmental debate', are mostly off the list of 'acceptable' conversation subjects. While 'dishes', 'cooking skills', 'socks', 'driving', 'vacuuming', 'laundry', 'computer', 'puppies', 'sex', etc seem to be more acceptable. So the universe is still open to me, but must be explored with a whole new bunch of folks to allow some sense of freedom.
It is good that she is a very good soul.
Sadly this problem of 'openness' has been a real bug in my works for a long time. I worked as a lab tech several years ago, and found that the other techs could not/would not indulge in interesting side talk, like there was some big hole in our lives where our 'thought freedom' could not intrude. One painful moment involved a question concerning a SF movie I saw concerning an intersteller war, where there seemed to a problem with the matching of clocks across a worm hole, just to see if anyone would bite. Nada. In hindsight, did they think it was a religious question? ;p)
I guess I miss our science club from HS, where the guys would get together, talk shop, weird ideas, design experiments, and sometimes do something interesting withoust starting a fire...;p)
I'm not sure I'd be able to handle such a situation very well, even after decades of work experience. The first things that come to mind at the moment are allegories like the ugly duckling, or wisdom from Dr. Seuss.
Sounds to me like a hell on earth, also imagine if there was a heaven and if you went there you found all those bible preachers and bible addicts there before you, I'd wonder if I went to the right place after all. Fortunately those places doesn't exist and most of the time here we can walk away from it.
This could be considered an 'adversarial work environment'. Anyone else there that might like a class action suit?