For those of you who do not know it, I am a political junkie. I worked in politics for many years. I also love, love, love the television series “The West Wing.” I am not saying it is gospel of what truly goes on in the West Wing or in politics in the US. I am saying it is captivating. The series brought out points about politics and about life in general.
As is my habit, I have reruns of “The West Wing” on the background as I start my work day. It airs on BravoTV at 8 am and 9 am, Monday through Friday. Today’s first episode got me thinking.
CJ responds to several questions from the press regarding 17 school girls not being allowed to exit a burning school. This outburst by CJ caused me to think.
First, this made me think of Ronna Detrick. She is constantly talking about saying the truth and about roaring. CJ did both in this episode.
Then, the scene made me think. What do we – as freelancers – do when our thoughts, convictions do not “jive” with our clients? My feeling is – and I do not recall as the phone rang and other things happened so I did not see the whole episode – CJ got in trouble for lambasting Saudi Arabia. She is meant to be a neutral voice, to speak for the White House, for the President at times but not to voice personal opinion.
I have worked with several clients whose political outlook, whose overall outlook has been different than my personal beliefs. This conflict makes working difficult because you are not authentic. I was not authentic. I would literally cringe when some issues would be discussed. I finally got to the point where the position, the inability to me was not worth the money or the work.
As a person who likes to work, this annoyed me also. I felt like I was, again, not being authentic to myself by turning down work, work that was paying my kids’ tuition to college, work that was something others would love to have, work that I was good at. It took a long time for me to realize the greater issue was the cringing while working with clients, the not letting my voice be heard.
What do you do when a business you work for goes against what you believe? What do you do when companies you do business with go against what you believe?