As I’ve been looking for work, it’s not been uncommon for people to ask me why I’ve not softened some of my writing here on the blog or things I’ve posted on social media.
In my case, that doesn’t mean "pictures of partying" which have caused people problems in the past. For me, that means things like loudly saying "bigotry is bad", "trans rights are human rights", and so on.
I’m aware that some folks think these are "political" issues. I also do not understand the supposed logic behind that opinion. And so if someone was going to hire me and had a problem with an employee who objected to racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise intolerant behavior… well, then, I’m not a good fit for that employer anyway.
This usually gets framed as me reducing the number of opportunities I have available, and that’s not wrong. It’s the frame that I’ve internalized myself, even when I’ve responded with "I don’t really want a bigot’s business anyway". That phrase still frames it as a loss, even though it’s an acceptable one.
But it’s not. It’s a positive gain – both for me, and for anyone I work with as either an employer or an employee.
As far as I’m aware, I was one of the first publishers to include some kind of "respect policy", and had to deal pretty head-on with an author I was publishing being accused of being a "missing stair" in the publishing world. I said what I meant, and meant what I said.
Which probably led to some authors not wanting to work with me, or led to them no longer working with me.
And that’s the value-added part.
By being clear and open about the values that are important to me, it’s pretty unlikely that there will be unpleasant surprises like finding out Jay Johnston was an insurrectionist. My track record – publicly and privately – has made it pretty clear where I stand, and what I will not tolerate. Someone who has a problem with those stances won’t want to work for me (thankfully), and that also means that someone who wants to hire me knows I’m not suddenly going to be outed as a bigoted asshat and cause them a lot of problems (and cost them a lot of cash) like, say, Bigot Nicholas Meriwether did.
In a world where some people somehow think that skin color, gender, or sexuality can make someone less than human, I am perfectly okay with making my stance on – and commitment to – equality absolutely crystal clear.
And I gotta wonder what companies and employers that don’t make that clear are wanting to hide.
Featured Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash