Atheists and Business Practices July 19, 2010

Atheists and Business Practices

I received an email from someone who had a few questions for atheists who work in the business world.

I’m purposely not mentioning others details from the email, but I think the questions can stand alone, and I’m especially curious how atheists would respond to 2, 4 and 5.

1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

(Thanks to Amy for the link!)


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  • Bob

    From my not-a-real-Christian perspective, my answer to 5 is to invoke the Parable of the Talents, wherein the master gave two workers an equal amount of coin; one hoarded it and returned it unused, one invested it wisely and returned it, multiplied.

    That is, whatever gifts I may have are the product of effort on my part, plus the teachers I have had, and the circumstances I have directly/indirectly created, not just because of some invisible string-pulling by a deity. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  • Q: What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    A: Forgiveness is irrelevant. I can forgive someone and still fire them. I’ve done it. People make mistakes. Some of them can be overlooked, others cannot. The issue is whether or not the business can afford to have a repeat of the same behavior and the perceived chances (yes, it’s subjective, I know) of the individual repeating the offending behavior.

    Q: How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    A: Too vague. Depends on the difficulties and the origin(s) of said difficulties.

    Q: What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    A: Irrelevant

    Q: If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    A: Generous enough. Are you looking for hard data?

    Q: To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    A: Not any one person. Success comes from the hard work of everyone on the team.

  • Charley

    Hi. I’m Charley and I’m an atheist.

    1. I don’t have any employees, but I see forgiveness as important. No one’s perfect, after all. Once I do have employees, I’d like to be the kind of boss people like to work for, and be seen as fair.

    2. Extend favor? Like give them a pay advance or something if they were having money problems, or deal with an extended absence if they’re really ill? I’d do what I can to be helpful and accommodate the problem. There are limits to what’s practical, of course. Seems to me like every set of circumstances would require careful consideration.

    3. It’s hard for me to imagine anything about a potential employee that could possibly be less important.

    4. Not sure on this one. No employees yet. It’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought.

    5. Myself and those who’ve helped me get to where I am. Who else would there be?

  • Sooperj

    1. Very little, I don’t have any problems with staff and so have nothing to forgive. I’m fairly lenient about a lot of things and work in a relaxed informal space with people I actively socialise with as well as work.

    2. Depends on the difficulties, flexible hours or extra time off for personal problems, and due to our friendly atmosphere we all talk fairly openly. All staff have my home and mobile number and are able to have private chats whenever they want. Again those I work with are considered friends so not really a relevant question.

    3. I wouldn’t even consider this at all, completely irrelevant, I mean I don’t ask if they prefer cats or dogs and I’m firmly in the dog camp.

    4. We give a performance review to the accountant and he decides, he doesn’t know the staff and is impartial.

    5. We’re a team all the way and thanks to the nature of our business can see when a sales person performs well and monitor the responses of catalogues, new designs and website layout so we can see who does what. Of course our excellent service and smooth running is thanks to everyone and our “pitch-in” attitude. The owner mows the grass, packs shipments and makes sales when needed, we all work together.

  • Matt

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    Not sure I understand the question. I guess I forgive someone if they mess up, but they need to identify what they did wrong and try not to do it again.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    By making myself available to talk with about their problems and suggesting ways the business can help.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    It’s not relevant.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    I’m not in a capacity to do this sort of thing at work.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    My own hard work as well as the hard work of my fellow team mates.

  • I employed less than 10 people in a small business, which I have recently sold. I don’t believe in any god.

    1. Forgiveness is not really relevant. If someone makes a mistake my reaction depends on their intent and the extent of the damage to the business.

    2. I’m prepared to reduce their duties or give them time off if they have personal issues. If they need more training in their work then I will provide it.

    3. It depends on whether the orientation is overt, and what would its effects be on their duties. My business was a cafe and I would not employ an obviously gay or lesbian person, not because I disapprove of their orientation, but because it may turn some customers away. I’m not proud of this but it’s a fact of business life.

    4. Not applicable.

    5. All employees contribute to a business’ success, some more than others.

  • Kirk59

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    Non fatal mistakes are teachable moments. Fatal ones are cause for dismissal.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    Why not? Why would an atheist answer differently?

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    It has zero importance.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    Corporate guidelines dictate the bonus and compensation structure. They are based on performance, not my religion or lack thereof.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    The current team in place, including me, and all the predecessors.

    This entire line of questioning is insulting.

  • flawedprefect

    Something tells me he was trying to get you to answer “Jesus” to all of the above. It stinks of evangelical rhetoric.

    I hope you answered much like the sensible folks above, which is exactly how I’d answer, especially number 5 – I owe it all to my hard-working self, just like whenever I mess up, the buck stops with… hmm, let me think…

  • 1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    I’m assuming this question deals with work, and not personal transgressions. I work for local government and it is explicitly spelled out what happens when someone screws up. Forgiveness on a personal level occurs, but is irrelevent to the job.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

    We have an Employee Assistance program that troubled employees are referred to.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    It is utterly irrelevent.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

    Not applicable.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    My parents, my schooling, teachers and professors, the support I receive from society in general, and my own talent at taking multiple choice promotion examinations.

  • david

    im sorry personal view of a employees sexual orientation is relevent

    not personally to me but in a business enviroment it definatly is

    if your business is in a upscale location or in a country location they dont like
    ‘different’ serving them so it would impact on your profits
    when was the last time you were at a animal feed store and the person behind the counter acted like nathen lane it just does not happen the same as if your ever in a posh hair salon and the person cuuuting your hair has flannel and a power mullet not going to happen

    so please we know the right answer is

    ‘ it makes no difference ” but in the real world it does

  • Luther

    I am glad the atheists are being asked. Much better idea than asking christians, their answers would all be answered through a cloud of delusion, for instance:

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    I know I would never be forgiven unless I punished transgressions for seven generations (This would be difficult in SOME cases for bishops seeking to discipline priests for the serious transgression of reporting other priests to the authorities)

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

    I would pray for him, unless it was a charge of sexual or religious harassment, in which case I would fire the complainer.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    Critical. Anyone who would tolerate gays could disrupt the workplace.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

    10% to the church and 1% to employees.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    My own business prowess bestowed by God.

  • tim

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    None.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    Our organization has counselors on staff for employees to talk to and offers other assistance in case of difficulties. I personally have an open door policy for my employees to talk to me and I adjust work schedules as appropriate.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    From my standpoint sexual orientation and other personal factors is completely irrelevant. Being gay myself I know that I have not been offered jobs in the past due to sexual orientation (I usually ask what the domestic partnership policy is which effectively outs me during the interview) and I have turned down jobs opportunities due to lack of defined policies.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    Bonus plans and objectives are set at the beginning of the year. If objectives are achieved than bonus’s are paid out based on a pre-set formula from a percentage of our revenue that the board has already agreed upon. In other words – outside of helping employees set objectives – I have very little influence over bonuses.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    Hard work.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t all of these moral dilemmas be answered using the “Golden Rule”…..Do to others what you want others to do to you….which translates here to, put yourself in the employee’s shoes and then make the decision.

  • Claudia

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    That`s a little vague and difficult to answer. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes can be more or less grave and more or less understandable and more or less frequent. The level to which “forgiveness” is applicable is going to change from case to case. Also, “forgiveness” will not always neatly coincide with “keeping your job”. There are things that are forgivable but that sadly make you incompatible with your job description. I can “forgive” a newly converted vegan for not wanting to handle meat, but if her job is a butcher I’ll also, without malice, have to fire her.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    Depends on the employee and the difficulty. Within reason I think its a good idea to accomodate the situation of people. For instance trying to make the hours more flexible for an employee with a relative in the hospital.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    Totally irrelevant.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    Can’t answer. Not that kind of work.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    I work in research and here success is a multilayered thing. You can’t say its just the supervisors or just the researchers. We all have to work our asses off to get things done. I think disproportionately PhD and post-docs do much of the work, but PIs (Principal Investigators, also known as “bosses”) have to coordinate all of us and bear the brunt of funding applications and the like. And the support roles like cleaning material or preparing solutions makes all of our lives much easier as well. So its all of us, really.

  • Jenny Kalmanson

    I haven’t owned my own business yet, but I’ve supervised others in the aerospace industry, and these questions all have axiomatic answers:

    Q1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    A1: It’s essential. Employees don’t produce unless they feel needed and wanted, with no underlying grudges. If the friction on the team moves beyond the normal struggle over the stakes at hand, it’s because somebody hasn’t let go of a past struggle. That will poison any future negotiations because it destroys trust. So, if you can’t forgive or be forgiven, there needs to be a personnel change.

    Q2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

    A1. This one’s the only tricky one, only because the ethics norm of the business culture forbids me from acting on my instinct to offer open-ended help. So, drawing on the wisdom of managers before me, my response would depend on the type of difficulties the employee is experiencing. If the employee has just lost a loved one, I can offer my sympathies and some flexibility in their assignments while they grieve and (hopefully) take advantage of the counseling services our health plan offers (it would be monstrous not offer this as part of any standard benefits package). Likewise if the employee is suffering from an addiction or health issue: a civilized benefits package should provide qualified professionals at little or no cost to those who need them; my support as a manager would be counterproductive if I attempted more than just human sympathy and task flexibility. If the employee is having financial difficulties not caused by any of the above reasons, then, there’s not much a manager can do to help, other than trying to head this one off at the pass by offering luncthime seminars on financial planning and other topics of interest to employees before anyone gets in trouble.

    Q3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    A1. As irrelevant to their job performance as my gender. Next question.

    Q4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

    A1. This answer ties in with that to the next question. Since all corporate successes are ensemble productions, there’s no excuse not to reward those who made it happen: the employees who work their tails off, day in and day out. No matter how hard I work to lead the team, success is impossible without everyone working together and helping each other. While it’s true that some employees go above and beyond their expected role to ensure success, if they’re the only ones working hard, there won’t be a profit to share. So, the profit pool to be shared should be divided equally among all employees in the company, regardless of rank or seniority, and managers should have discretion to nominate one exceptional employee from their teams to have two shares–this could be given as a special award at the annual meeting. As for bonuses (contrasted to profit-sharing in that a true bonus comes out of overhead expenditure, not the profit pool), instead of tying them to holidays, which makes them seem like they’re awarded for showing up, there should be a clear and achievable formula by which employees can modify their behavior to try to specific bonuses. Examples of goal-driven bonuses might be: each employee gets something when the books close for the quarter if we made our quarterly plan; an individual who brings in a substantial new contract to the bottom line should be rewarded by commission; innovations which contribute to the company’s business line should be rewarded; efficiency bonuses (i.e., more productivity for fewer hours worked) should be calculated and awarded.

    Q5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    A1. To the entire team; see above about my conviction that success is an ensemble production. It only takes one disruptive or unproductive team member to jeopardize the entire team’s success. So it’s not just about individual achievement, but getting along.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Other business questions related to choice of viewpoint on religion:

    6) Do you eschew the borrowing and lending of money for interest, which is forbidden by both the Koran and the Bible?

    7) Do you give away all your possessions to the poor? Does that make it difficult to build your business?

    8) What about this “eye of the needle” thing?

  • To whom would I attribute business success to? How about my own hard work! My husband and I are about to start his law practice, and I am going to be running the office. Really, I am the only employee at the time, but if we get more, I’m the immediate supervisor, so my answers are more futuristic, but here they are:

    1. Just like any other professional business that leaves religion out of it: if they screw up and it’s no big deal, they are forgiven. If it’s too bad or multiple instances, they get fired.

    2. Same as I do anyone else. Tell them they are in my thoughts, listen, etc. If it’s financial, we’ll try to hold fundraisers or do whatever we can to help.

    3. Um, same as my view on the applicant’s eye color. I find that an offensive question.

    4. That particular decision is not mine. My guess is not very, since we are a law firm and not a business that would get that kind of windfall. However, I am sure there would probably be a Christmas bonus. But that’s just a guess

  • I really don’t find an atheist viewpoint to be relevant to any of these questions. But then, I don’t think that religion has any proper place within the context of the questions either.

  • Clair

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    That all depends upon the offense, but in general, forgiveness is mostly irrelevant. I may be able to personally forgive an employee doing something, but that may have no impact upon my business decision whether or not I wish to allow the person to continue their employment with my business.
    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    I would need more information to answer this in any meaningful way.
    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    It isn’t important. Do they have the skills necessary to do the job? Do they have a personality which would mesh with my business?
    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    That is very subjective. I’ll give what I think is appropriate and not detrimental to the business.
    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    Me, any partners, and the employees. It takes a lot of hard work, and making the right choices at the right times.

  • Emily from Philly

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    A1. People err, and hopefully they also learn. Sometimes it’s tough to not hold a grudge when one is personally affected by another’s mistake, whether in business or personal life…but it does happen. For me, forgiveness is not exactly a conscious thing. I recognize the mistake, air the laundry, and move on.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

    A2. Should an employee of mine need special assistance or help I would extend it based upon how trustworthy this person is. If there’s a family emergency every month, alcohol on the breath, frequent late arrivals, and mismanaged or unfinished projects abounding…..well, I hope you can imagine what my answer is. Compassion for the sake of doing something “good” for another person does not trump common sense.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    A3. In a word, Ir-freaking-relevant.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

    A4. I work for a non-profit and we have no such program.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    A5. The fact that your questioner phrased this question like this and not “To whom or what do you…” is quite telling as to his or her motive in asking the question in the first place (just like the four earlier questions, too). Any success I’ve achieved in my career thus far have come from wide open eyes – an eagerness to find more things that I don’t know. The other bit… see my answer to #1. I’ve made so many mistakes, of course, and the lessons one learns from a mistake is nearly always greater than the observed or read lesson.

    Hemant, I’m curious to hear about the context of the email.

  • TychaBrahe

    OK, I have to admit, I came up with one situation where question 3 might be relevant.

    Let’s say that I were in charge of hiring at the Mustang Ranch (a very sex positive brothel outside of Reno, Nevada). Let’s say that I knew that an applicant was a lesbian. I would have A LOT of concerns whether that person would make a good sex worker. I wouldn’t hesitate in that situation to hire a lesbian as a clerical worker, marketing director, groundskeeper, or housekeeper. But I would wonder how well a lesbian would be at having sexual intercourse with men.

    Of course, at the Mustang Ranch there is an extensive testing process which does include having intercourse, so if a woman could not adequately entertain a customer, it would be immediately apparent.

  • Josh

    These questions are somewhat vague. 1 and 3 are silly, 2 would depend on circumstances, on 4 I don’t have employees just partners, and for 5 I’d say our hard work and satisfied customers.

  • Bob

    As for the role of forgiveness, the question seems to presume that atheists are emotionless automatons, and that rational thought is devoid of empathy.

    Everyone makes mistakes. The question is, does your organization and your employees learn from the experience and improve policies/procedures? Or is it predicated on harping on mistakes and punishing them?

    If you’re looking at an endeavour as a learning experience (or, at least, a dynamic process), then ‘forgiveness’ becomes irrelevant, because you’re putting your skills to the test.

  • 1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees? Forgiveness is irrelevant. If someone makes a mistake then corrective action is required. They may need training or procedures may need to be properly implemented. If they do something against the law then they should be fired immediately regardless of whether I forgive them or not and if they do something against company policy then there is a procedure for issuing warnings and disciplining staff.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties? Really vague. Our CEO has a policy that we follow that goes something like this: If someone who works hard and contributes to the company is in difficulty then we will do all we can to help them. Loyalty is rewarded with loyalty. If they are lazy or unproductive then they aren’t contributing or being loyal and therefore will receive no extra help beyond that required by law.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation? Personally I don’t care or care to know but as a company we have to ensure that staff won’t be bullied or treated differently because their sexual orientation is different from the main. It is therefore important that the company is aware of their sexuality so that we can monitor their treatment and ensure that it is fair.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing? Ha. The directors get all the profits. We’re lucky to get a crust of mouldy bread and beating for our efforts, even as managers.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?To the people who work in the business, the people who get the customers, provide the service and support the needs of the business. This is all directed from the strategy of the board of course.

  • Hitch

    What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    Forgiveness is a necessary social skill. Resentment and revenge are rejectable and destructive. But good forgiveness is also a learning experience. Mistakes happen. That is no problem. It is however a problem if mistakes are not improved upon.

    People are to be forgiven, but if someone does not learn from mistakes but perpetuates them, something else has to happen.

    How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

    One doesn’t hire a robot, one hires a person. I think giving reasonable leeway is just humane. There is a difficult line here, but good employers recognize their commitment to employees in matters of well-being.

    What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    Not important. In fact if an applicant shows intolerance in the area it is a red flag.

    If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

    Very generous. Ownership encourages personal investment, positive company climate, productivity.

    To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    The group as well as the individuals. One person cannot and will not succeed. And a group without excellent individual ideas won’t either.

  • Ayn Rand

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    Forgiveness is immoral. The moral person finds a way to use his subordinates mistakes in his favor, perhaps by insisting on unpaid overtime.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    I would make sure I made a nice gain on the deal such as a trade for sexual favors (all consensual, of course).

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    Is she hot?

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    I would only extend that to employees I found hard to attract any other way. I would also work in a loophole where I get to keep the money if they are fired, retire, resign, or die. If they do not read the fine print, it’s not MY fault.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    ME and all those weak suckers I screwed.

    😉

  • Art Martin

    The one question I thought that needed to be rewritten was

    What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    I believe the question instead should read:

    What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual behavior?

    Clearly an employer cannot tolerate overt and inappropriate sexual behavior at the workplace from their employees. However, since only a small percentage of the overall population is gay, this rule would apply mostly to heterosexual employees who routinely have office affairs, make copies of their asses on the office copy machine or who masturbate in the equipment closet.

  • I’m an atheist who’s worked in the drafting/design/engineering field for nearly two decades.

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    Forgiveness for what? This question is too vague for me to actually answer.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?
    Offer to help them in any way I can. Whether that’s emotional support, financial, or helping them do tasks that problems are keeping them from.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?
    It isn’t important. More important is their work ethic and competence.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?
    I’m not in the financing or human resources division, so I don’t deal with this aspect.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?
    Well, since I don’t own my own business (yet), I attribute my success to a great deal of learning and effort on my part, and also to the numerous people who’ve supported me over the years. The teachers in high school and college, the coworkers who shared their experience with me, and those who’ve personally supported the career decisions I’ve made.

  • I don’t own a business or really have an interest in owning anything but here goes…
    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees? Employees are asking for a wage, not my approval.
    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties? As an employer, I don’t think that would be in my department.
    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation? None at all.
    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing? I would like to see more cooperative, worker-owned, businesses. Why not divide it up evenly into living wages and reinvest the rest back into the company? (I think I’m answering that more as a Commie than an Atheist)
    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business? Circumstance.

  • Interesting.
    None of these questions have anything to do with real atheism.
    They were clearly written by a Christian simply looking to set up an negative profile of atheists in business.
    We all need to grow up and get a life as we probably have only one!

  • Aric

    My thoughts are similar to the majority of comments above, so I’ll put a little spin on my answers.

    First the sarcastic-but-true version:
    1. Not by invoking a higher power. Humans are perfectly capable of forgiveness on their own.
    2. Whatever is appropriate for the situation.
    3. A view not held because of what the bible or religious leaders say.
    4. I do not need religion to pry every dollar from my money-grubbing hands.
    5. Um… not God?
    Now just plain sarcastic:
    1. Forgiveness is for the weak. If you are going to make a mistake don’t do it under my watch.
    2. Difficulties are for family and Oprah, not at work.
    3. The gayer the better. If we can get enough gays to achieve critical mass we could have orgies at work and spread our gayness to other businesses.
    4. That sounds like giving my money away. Why would I ever do that?
    5. I don’t care where the success comes FROM, as long as it goes TO me.

  • Slickninja

    I’m a worker drone the website for our university but my company seems to be fairly low on the religious coworkers.

    1. Forgiveness seems foreign to me. If someone messes up, depending on how severe, circumstances that lead to it (honest mistake vs malicious intent vs apathy) depends on how I react. Generally I give people benefit of the doubt and try to be understanding.

    2. I try to be understanding. I’ve taken weekend duties to allow a coworker with kids to go to visit family during the weekend.

    3. Sexual orientation is irrelevant. A few coworkers are openly gay which is cool to know its a non-issue

    4. Its a nonprofit and I don’t control pay, the more sharing the better for me.

    5. Being progressive, smart and Nike’s obvious love for Eugene.

  • Roxane

    I no longer work, but:

    1. I believe in forgiveness–also in constructive criticism and further training when appropriate.

    2. I’ve covered for colleagues who have had family issues or been ill.

    3. My brother is gay. Why would gay colleagues upset me?

    4. I was never an executive or HR wonk, so I never have had any input on this.

    5. I attribute my success, such as it was, to my own hard work, to excellent teachers and caring bosses, and to the plain dumb luck of having been born into a family that valued education and hard work.

  • Preface this by saying: Im not a business owner, but I work for a religious-based not-for-profit in a lower management position. The religious affiliation is more in name than anything else. There are actually policies in place that we can reprimand people for talking about religion while at work.

    1. Depends on the circumstances. Most people just get warnings from me before anything serious happens, depending on the problem. Im not in a hiring/firing position so not really my place. But I can decide whether or not to pass issues up higher in the chain of command.

    tldr: this question is stupid

    2. The company I work for has a pretty flexible stance when it comes to taking time off and shifting schedules around. If a coworker of mine is having issues I do whatever I can.

    3. Despite the “religious affiliation” many of the employees where I work are openly gay, including people at the very top of the organization.

    4. As a not for profit, there is no profit sharing. All profits are recycled back into the company to increase the quality of care for our residents.

    5. Everyone on the team.

  • Statistics_Guy

    Probably quite different from business; I work at a research university where as well as teaching and advising students, I often have part-time research assistants working for me. These are mostly students working towards their BSc or MSc.

    1. Whether you forgive someone or not depends upon the situation. The most important thing in my opinion is once the situation has been sorted out and put in the past, leave it there.

    2. I see my job as not only getting research done but also as training students. If any of them are encountering real* difficulties I don’t mind shifting a deadline (if I can) or giving them advice. Working hours are so flexible that time- off shouldn’t be a problem.

    3. I don’t care, although if any hot lesbians are looking for particle work in applied statistics….

    4. We don’t. Although I alway give my students their credit and point out which ones are doing good work when talking to our chief prof.

    5. To those who are responsible. Also important is to not pass the buck on when things fail, if I chose the wrong students for a job and didn’t have a backup plan that’s my fault not theirs.

    *”I’ve got 5 parties next week” is not a real problem.

  • June

    1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?

    If you’re going to work with someone and leaving/firing isn’t appropriate or desired, you need to be able to handle differences and disappointments. I’ve never heard the word ‘forgiveness’ used in a business setting (religious or atheist) but the principal applies. Mind you, true forgiveness from a good manager would involve accepting people as they are and working with them to prevent issues. Like scheduling afternoon-only meetings for habitually tardy employees or parents whose kids sometimes miss the bus or have doctor’s visits, leaving time to review the work of employees with poor writing skills to make sure all memos are understood, etc.

    If someone is fired, an employer would need to forgive the employees (or themselves) for hiring that individual or letting things escalate to that point.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties?

    Most employers have programs to let people “donate” sick or vacation leave to coworkers who need extra time off. Atheist bosses I know often make a point of approaching the individuals privately and letting them know that they’ll approve unpaid leave, flexible scheduling, or (if possible) working from home if that would assist the employee in working during difficult times. In addition, there are sometimes training opportunities, in-company classes/services, higher education programs, extra projects, etc, that are open to all. If they think it’s beneficial, a boss or coworker will make sure the employee-encountering-difficulties is aware of those and how to apply. Likewise, a good boss will assure the employee that their job is safe if they do decide to take advantage of the above.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation?

    I’ve never had a problem working with or for people with gays or transsexuals, and I don’t see how the subject could possibly come up during the applicant process, anymore than I can see myself asking if the applicant is married or has kids. It’s possible that some applicants I assumed were straight (or married or fathers) were not and vice versa.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing?

    The atheist employers I’ve known tend to be very generous when profits allow allow. Bonuses and annual raises are freely rewarded to both good and less-than-stellar employees (although excellent employees get raises sooner) and dividends are shared with all employees equally.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business?

    To the people who did the work. Employees doing good work, consultants who tweaked business processes or improved technology, managers who ran the kind of day-to-day interferences that let everyone do their jobs without disruption, anyone who offered advice, emotional support, or suggestions for improvements, media people who wrote favorable reviews, etc. I might also credit chance-related events or situations that were no individual’s doing (this then involves crediting those employees who figured out how to turn those events to our favor).

  • 1. What role does forgiveness play in your work with employees?
    Employees who make mistakes and are willing to learn from them are employees who can only become more “valuable” over time. “Forgiveness” has nothing to do with teh business world. Employees who refuse to improve or refuse to acknowledge and learn from mistakes are ones who are probably going to end up losing their jobs for one reason or another.

    2. How would you extend favor to an employee who is encountering difficulties? As any good human would. Donate sick leave if the company has a program for that. Offer support, etc. It’s lame but I never underestimate the value of home-cooked food, heh.

    3. What is your view of the importance of an applicant’s sexual orientation? Irrelevant.

    4. If your company has a bonus structure or profit sharing plan, how generous are you with your employees when it comes to profit sharing? I don’t own a business so I can’t speak to what I have done, only that were I to own a business I’d be extremely generous, I think. Bosses and executives are only as successful as the people who support them.

    5. To whom do you attribute the success you’ve had in your business? Hard work, education, dedication and sometimes plain old luck.

  • JB Tait

    Q3
    If you are casting the role of a stereotypic flamboyant fashion designer makeover advisor for a TV show, then the appearance of flaming might be important, but you would have to conceal the wife if you don’t want her presence to spoil his image.

    Other than that, what business is it of yours, how would you know, why would you want to, and why would you care?

    Unless, of course, you were planning on using your position to get sexual favors, and looking for a suitable partner.

  • Frink

    I don’t particularly care for the tone of the questions.