A Question of Personal Ethics

First of all, this is my first post with the blog newly renovated. I didn’t spend much time changing it, but it’s prettier now without stabbing you in the eyes like Facebook and Google. Hopefully anyone reading this enjoys it as much as I do.

Friday, I had a job interview at a gas station. I got there about ten minutes early, so I had a little time to look around at some of the merchandise. This store is essentially a mini truck stop with some tourist merch. I started to notice after a couple minutes of looking around that there were a lot of seemingly unnecessary Christian themes among the inventory.


These bracelets are just one example. There were cross ones also, but I wanted the shot of the heart one in there as well. To me, it’s very blatantly pro-straight.

Half of the wind chimes were topped with a cross. An otherwise unremarkable hat stitched with a cross on the side. Cross necklaces. Sweatbands adorned with a cross or Jesus fish.

It kind of freaked me out.

There I was, a developing activist for atheism and skepticism, trying to find a job. I’m definitely in the minority in this part of the country in terms of religion. I don’t want to work for crazy religious people, but I do want a job. The religious undertones unsettle me.

Everything went well during the interview. I got hired, so obviously it was good enough. One question was “Tell me something about you that would surprise me.” (Okay, not exactly a question, but whatever.) I was somewhat surprised, and unsure how to answer. The first answer that popped in my head was “I’m an atheist.” That seems like something unexpected. But, I was still internally weirded out about all the crosses.

I chickened out. After a few seconds of “Hm, geez, I’m not sure what would be surprising..” I went with “I don’t talk to my mom anymore.” Brief explanation, moved on.

I have no idea what that guy’s religious preferences are. For all I know, they just have the Christian merch because there are religious people in Kansas, and these places always have state-themed souvenirs. I don’t know.

But, if it had come up in the interview that I’m an atheist, and that one thing made me undesirable as an employee, I would never have known. There are a lot of reasons not to hire me, in my opinion. I could never be sure why I didn’t get hired. Of course, I did, and I’m glad. I’m not complaining about getting hired, I’m just disappointed in myself for being so “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” about my atheism.

He also asked “What do you do with your free time; while you’re not at work?”
I brought up that I blog in my answer, but not the name of the blog or what it was about.
“If you could have tickets to any event, what would it be?”
I said CONvergence. I mentioned that my blog had an event there and that it was a sci-fi convention. I didn’t mention PZ Myers or Rebecca Watson or any of that stuff. Just that it was a sci-fi convention and that an actor from Doctor Who was going to be there.

I’m disappointed. It may or may not have made a difference that I censored the atheism out of my life, but now I have a job. I don’t have to talk about intimate details of my personal life, but I’m going to try not to filter out something that is becoming very important to me.

4 thoughts on “A Question of Personal Ethics

  1. I struggle with this, too, often feeling so cowardly. I do believe we need to speak out more if only to show that we are everyday good people, normal (well, . . .), and more numerous than people realize. But I'm a realist, too. In this situation, what would have been the point? The guy doesn't know you well enough yet to equate atheist and skeptic with your positive traits. And he might not have gotten to know you had you said that. Being sensitive to time, place, and person, especially in light of your priorities (needing a job) is sensible. Being able to speak out all the time is something of a privilege and a luxury.All of this is my rambly way of saying, don't beat yourself up about it.


  2. TOTALLY UNRELATED:You're gonna have to mess with the advanced features here on Blogger, but your text color on this background is very difficult to read. That will be a challenge to get right, I'm sure, but it has to change. You might try white, maybe making the font size a little bigger, but this background just makes everything difficult to read. Let me know if you need some help getting it worked out.


  3. Hm, I actually thought the dark color was easier to see. Although, I have a wide monitor, so it's all in the middle-left of my screen on top of the light stuff. Also recently turned up my color vibrance settings and stuff. I'll go ahead and tinker with it, thanks for letting me know. =]


  4. HAH, normal…Yeah, it initially bothered me, but after being around co-workers and everything, it's less of a deal. I'm confident that I'll be able to comfortably talk about my opinions soon enough.


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