(Please note: This is purely my own opinion. I do not represent anyone except myself.)
For a very long time, I’ve wanted to make a Facebook status about this identity crisis that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
I’ve finally been pushed to actually write something after the President of Chick-fil-A admitted that he was against gay marriage. (Didn’t we already know this? I’m shocked people didn’t already know.)
I work at Chick-fil-A. I absolutely love my job. Let me repeat that: I love my job. I get to work with all of my friends in a safe and fun environment, while also giving great customer service and being proud of the work that I’m doing. Plus I’m making a decent wage.
I am also an intern at the Obama campaign. I am the Director of Media Relations for UNI Proud, the University of Northern Iowa’s LGBT Group. I have been to two pride festivals. I have more gay male friends than I have straight male friends.
As you can assume, my job that I love and the people that I love don’t always coincide, but they both have made me the person that I am today.
Likewise, with both “sides” of my life, I have hidden the real person that I am.
When I told one person at work that I might intern with the Obama campaign, I was immediately debated and battled. After interning over a month, I have finally told a small section of the people that I work with about my internship.
When I tell people at UNI that I have a job in my hometown, I don’t say Chick-fil-A. I always say the name of the mall I work in, or I just say I work at a restaurant. The instant I say Chick-fil-A at my school, the response is “You know they’re homophobic, right?”
And recently, my Facebook feed (and Tumblr…and Twitter) has been blown up with people boycotting Chick-fil-A and assuming that everyone who goes there or works there are all bigoted.
It makes me extremely confused about what I should tell people. When I present my conservative mother with this issue, she tells me to get over this “gay trend.” When I tell my gay friends about this, they tell me to quit my job.
Today I told one of my friends about this idea I had for the blog and she asked, “I’ve known you for a long time, but I have never understood why you as a liberal actually like your job at Chick-fil-A.”
And for over two years, while I have always known that the corporation was against an issue that I feel strongly about, it was not until recently when The New York Times and even KCCI decided to cover the controversy that I ask myself,
Is it possible to have pride in your job, even when it doesn’t agree with your morals?
It seems that in the argument over Chick-fil-A, there is no gray area in between. Either you despise the establishment and vow to never let those delicious chicken nuggets touch your lips, or you’re Mike Huckabee and you’re a gross bigot who hates everything that’s not conservative and Christian. (And don’t get me started on Rick Santorum…)
However, it’s not all like that. There is a difference between a corporation and it’s people.
At my store, we’ve had multiple openly gay employees. While I’m pretty positive I’m the only democrat, I know that some of my co-workers don’t really care whether gay or straight people get married. And of course, there are many of my co-workers who believe that marriage should be between a man and a wife. That’s no issue, everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.
And I don’t blame the people who are boycotting our store now. After all, if I only had the media’s perspective on the issue, I would be one of those people as well. But there’s so much more. One person does not represent hundreds of stores and thousands of employees, even if he is the president.
I agree that donating millions of dollars to anti-gay marriage organizations is wrong, and I understand people don’t want their money going towards that. I wouldn’t either. (Source: NY Times: Gay Rights Uproar Over Chick-fil-A Widens)
However, it also makes me sad that there are people out there who aren’t going to experience our great service and delicious food. They’re not going to understand why I think our store is so great. And it makes me extremely upset that there are going to be people out there that will automatically assume that we’re all homophobic people, when in fact, I work fantastic people, and while some may have their beliefs that are different than mine, I still respect them.
I’m definitely biased because I’m viewing this from “inside the trade” and I see it more locally than corporate wide. But my bias towards wanting the most happiness for my friends and knowing that they should get the right to get married, no matter, what also creates a rip inside of me.
And so after all of that rambling, to answer my question about whether it’s possible to have pride in your job even when it’s against your morals…
I honestly don’t know.
I know that I’m happy with where I’m working, but I know that it sucks that the president of the company doesn’t agree with my views and would purposely try to block off the happiness and equal rights that so many in our country deserve. (Though he does have every right to do so.)
I know that I’m proud of the great service that we give and the emphasis we have on treating everyone with respect. I wish that my job would stop feeling like a political statement these days.
I am proud of where I work at and the people I work with. They respect my views and I respect their views as well. I am not proud of the corporation’s stance on marriage equality.
And so I ask, oh lovely readers of mine who have graciously read the ramblings of confusion that I have felt for so long:
Is it possible to have pride in your job, even if it’s against your morals?