Frustration and Major Change of Plans

So I’ve started my new job.  I’m still in training but I want to get out there and make some money.  However on my first day, this is what my boss said:

The two businesses I’m sending you two, breweries and churches.  These are the people you know the best, I want you to sell them our security systems.

(sigh)

I literally can’t come out publicly without jeopardizing my ability to make a sale.  I come out publicly as an atheist in this town, I’m sunk. This really tore me up for a few days.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  I want to use the word atheist out loud and on purpose to normalize the experience, but my entire business is based on trust.  And since we all know atheists are baby eaters, there’s no way any church is going to trust me if I’m actively “promoting the atheist cause”.  And what is this cause?  ATHEIST ARE JUST PEOPLE, EVERY DAY PEOPLE.

Fuck.

So, for now, I’ve decided to be honest about my disbelief but not public.  Does that make sense?  Basically, everyone who asks me, I’ll tell them I’m an atheist.  But I can’t broadcast it or appear to fight against the church, unless I want to write off the entire Christian community as customers.

(sigh)

This is my temporary position.  I hope to change it.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with the Accidental Atheist.

I’m pretty upset right now.

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12 thoughts on “Frustration and Major Change of Plans

  1. _hugs_

    How long do you expect to be in this temporary position? What are the chances that this situation will stretch on indefinitely or become permanent?

    How likely do you think it is that your former congregation will warn other congregations that you’re an evil baby-eater who is not to be trusted, and lots of churches in your area will get tipped off and refuse to buy from you? If you’re honest but not public about your lack of belief, rumors might still spread.

    I don’t know where you live; maybe this is a non-issue. but consider the possibility and consider what you’ll say if potential customers ask you about your religious views, before you get surprised by a situation like that. Would you be willing to hide your views to make a sale? Would you be willing to lie about them, the way you have in the recent past?

    I don’t have any good answers, but I hope I might have useful questions.

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  2. I’m sorry. I know that must be extremely frustrating! That’s one “good” thing about being disabled – I don’t have a boss/customers that can get all butt-hurt over my atheism. Unless some politician or bureaucrat wants to give me a hard time over it – which is always a possibility.

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  3. Wot?!!!

    The ray of light I see here is what great irony there’ll be as you tell your story in years to come. It will make for high drama, for sure. …The problem is, having to live it first!!

    Could you ask for another assignment? Depending on how much you decide to say to your employer, maybe you could offer to coach the reps who do the actual church contacts?

    It’s a good thing you are creative!!!! You and Team J.J. will come up with something good!!! At this major inflection point, sending good thoughts!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So my first thought is: That sucks! My next thought is to ask whether you told your new boss about why that could put you in an awkward position? He knows you’re an ex-pastor, right? Does he know why? Anyhow, depending on what kind of person you think he is, you might be able to mention to him that you’re in an awkward situation and that his assigning you to churches might actually hinder sales. Just a thought. I suppose if he is a Christian, that could backfire, but if he’s not super religious, he might actually get it. The good news: whatever you choose to do is going to be fine…no more need to wonder if your choices are aligned with “God’s will.” 😉 If you choose one path now and then need a course correction, so be it. Sending sympathetic vibes your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wait, why is your atheism part of the act of selling security? Your accidental atheism work doesn’t need to be part of selling security systems. I’m involved in things outside of my job, import things that I feel are defining (something I’ve kept to myself for most of my life, and yes, it’s cathartic to share) but my workplace isn’t the forum. (occasionally I connect with people there over the non work stuff, but never a requirement, even if someone asks) You’re selling a security system, not a belief system. At least while you’re on the clock with this employer.

    If a church asks about your beliefs, use your judgement in the situation on how to answer. You need not bare your soul to sell. I *know* you don’t want to be quiet about this any longer, but you don’t have to bring this to work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great point Becca! But it seemed the concern was more about people not wanting to work with him as a sales person because they heard from other sources that he came out as an atheist? That could be a problem, true, but I agree with Becca that in this type of job there shouldn’t be a reason to be discussing religious beliefs. You’re on the clock representing your company, not yourself.

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    • Yes, I’d begun thinking along these lines, too. In a way, if or when your beliefs become known, you would already have been demonstrating that “atheists are just people, too.” And it’s true, as your employer says, you do have insight into needs of churches. (2bcontinued, running right now but wanted to add to my earlier comment)

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  6. I can sort of relate to your situation, although mine isn’t as frustrating. I was raised a devout Catholic, and ended up becoming an atheist while attending a Catholic university (after spending several years digging myself out of a huge pile of guilt). I now work as a nurse, and will be graduating soon as a nurse practitioner. I slowly came out as an atheist to my family and friends, and if anyone asks, I tell them I’m an atheist. But I’m worried about broadcasting it, because it could influence whether people will be willing to be my patients when I’m an NP. It was easier as an RN because there are more of us, we can sort of blend together, and we often don’t see the same patients regularly for years (so the patients who try to convert you eventually get discharged). But as an NP, I’m not so sure. I can easily imagine patients thinking that if I don’t believe in God, I must be following the devil and am not really a healthy choice as their provider. And that could really hurt my income and performance goals. I’m reluctant to attend any atheist meet ups or conventions, in case I get recognized or an image of me gets put on social media and my patients, coworkers, or fellow NPs find out. So I definitely understand your hesitancy. Is there any way that, after you prove you’ve got the skills, you can ask your manager for something more challenging? You could mention to him that you want to branch out, and adapt or learn new skills (code for: finally get away from churches so I can be myself without risking financial consequences).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Part of the question would have to be: How unique is your name? If you name is, for example, James Johnson, well, you’re probably OK having a blog, even mentioning your state or region, without fearing being recognized. If, instead, it’s Zaphod Beeblebrox, well…

    Also, given the religious community, I feel that it’s likely that when you meet with pastors, they will already know. My father is a retired Episcopal priest, and every priest of every denomination in the state knew him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Here is what you should do: Come up with a new name, location (not too far but far enough) and build a social profile around it.

    Make sure to use misdirection so you don’t give away your real identity. That will allow you to say what you want to say, recount your adventures in a way the remain true without giving away the deception and keep your job. Call it a “Nome de Plume”. I use 3 myself. My real name is nowhere on social media. I like it that way even if I don’t do it for the same reasons you should.

    It is just safer in this litigious, sociopathic society.

    Now for your job: There is money in home alarms. Especially consider that most people selling home and business alarms are psychopathic scam artists that will drop you like a pile of dog poop the moment you sign the contract. You have a chance to come across as honest and reliable and gain a lot of word of mouth business by just being a bit more caring and available.

    Also, church and breweries are OK, but scout for anyone that needs an alarm system. Pound the pavement. I know salespeople usually have access to customers from other companies that ended their contract and they are now month to month. They are often the best customer if you can get to them because you can sell them new equipment, throw a camera or two in the deal and so forth.

    As for your activity, change your name, change your wife name. Turn your son to a daughter or vice versa. Make a chart with your friends and family’s names and change the locations when you retell your stories.

    In time you’ll become established in your job and you’ll be able to be more open. You may keep your nome de guerre or return to your own. Explain why and everyone should be happy.

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