In 2013, Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell Williams brought us a song called “Blurred Lines” that reached #1 on the charts for 12 consecutive weeks and sold 14.8 million copies. If you aren’t familiar with the song itself, you probably are familiar with the stir it caused when Thicke performed it at an awards show and Miley Cyrus came out and started twerking.
As I look at the happenings around us, whether it be economic, political, personal, professional – there seems to be a blurring of the lines that is beginning to take place that I believe will dramatically impact the way companies recruit and retain employees over the next 2-3 years. In most cases, forecasting changes on the landscape excites me, but what I see coming actually disturbs me and causes great concern. I am seeing, and I bet you are too, that an individual’s point of view on social or political matters can now put them at great risk of losing their current employment and making it very difficult for them to find new employment.
In recent months, news broke of the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, having to step down from his position because of the outcry of those who were offended that 6 years prior, he donated $1000 to a California Proposition 8 cause aimed to defeat those who wanted to legalize gay marriage. The effort to make Eich pay for his financial support was led by OKCupid – a dating website. They instructed their subscribers to make Mozilla aware of their outrage at promoting him to be CEO. Keep in mind here, Eich has never been accused of any type of discrimination of gay employees or anything along those lines, he just wrote a check 6 years earlier to support a cause that another group was opposed to. Now he’s unemployed after 13 years of employment with Mozilla.
We are rapidly losing our sense of civility, kindness, and tolerance. We no longer debate, persuade, or influence. Instead, we target, attack, mock and label. I’m curious, if we are only allowed to have a single opinion on the various issues of our lives – who gets to decide what is acceptable? If there can be no debate, if you cannot express altering opinions, then how will the best course of action for a group collectively or for an individual singularly be decided? What if there could be no debate or dissenting opinions in our past? We would still have slavery. Women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. Schools would still be segregated. Abortion would be illegal. Alcohol would be illegal. Prayer would still be allowed in schools.
Where are we headed? I’m afraid that if things continue as they are, our government, lobbyist, and those with a platform will begin to dictate to us all what is acceptable and anything beyond that will be a crime. You may think that’s a good thing, but you likely won’t when they tell you that you must believe, support and verbally praise something that you vehemently oppose internally or risk losing your job.
Yes, the blurring of the lines has started. Will laws need to be altered so companies can now ask about financial contributions to causes or charities that each applicant has made? Will recruiters start coming up with clever ways to find out which political side of the aisle someone is on under the banner of “cultural fit?” Will this cause further divisions in our society as all left leaning people work at companies A, B and C, and all right leaning people work at companies D, E, and F? Oh, and if you work at or do business with one of those sets of companies and the political party in power at the moment disagrees with your stance, get ready to be audited, regulations to increase on your business, and other ways to make it impossible for you to survive.
You may think all of this is far-fetched and ludicrous. You may be right – quite honestly, I hope you’re right and things don’t continue to move in that direction. But go ask Brendan Eich if it seems far-fetched to him. Ask Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. Ask the people from Hobby Lobby. Ask the people at Chik-fil-A. Ask those who claim to have been targeted by the IRS in the last election. I hope I’m wrong, but I would love to hear your civil and respectable opinions on this topic.