Media company took a sharp right turn
May 27, 2014 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I work for a small media network (tv, radio, web). The programming centers around finance and business. Recently, popular hosts have come onboard under the understanding that they would talk business, but who instead have gone full-bore political. Management seems to be fine with this. It's driving the rest of us up a wall.

This is no longer an organization I want to be associated with. The politics of these hosts are extreme, and they've taken over 99% of our company's social media. They're tagging some of our personal accounts in their posts. They blocked me entirely when I refused to friend them. (They don't know I'm aware of this and are "friendly" to me, face to face. Same company/people from an earlier post of mine). Fridge magnets touting their political causes are appearing on the office fridge. Meetings with the boss expressing concern for the content and the behavior fall on deaf ears - "what's the problem? Controversy is good".

I'm directly involved in the production of these shows and feel like an absolute traitor for helping boost their signal in any way. (Regardless of your personal politics, imagine your job gradually becomes the opposite of everything you believe in - that's where I'm at.) I've worked for this company for a number of years, these changes have only been in the last 6 months.

Going elsewhere, assuming I can find other work, will most likely result in a drastic reduction in pay. How do I deal?
posted by Josephine Macaulay to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perhaps make a plan where you work like crazy to pay down all debt, move to a less expensive house and in general, set yourself up to be happier with less money. While you're doing it, you stay where you are, with a secret smile that says, "this is only temporary." Then, when you've reached your goal, and you've saved up some dough on top of it, THEN go out and find another job.

If you can make the same or more money, AWESOME, if not, oh well, you've already cut back, so you're good there.

I'd view it as an adventure. I recommend this book, Your Money or Your Life, it talks about the decisions we make about how we earn money and it gives good advice for how to get where you want to be.

You never know, next time out, the station may get sold to Mother Jones! Then you'll be annoyed with all the Kefir in the fridge, stinking up the joint.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:57 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

If management is on board with this change, I don't think there is much you can do other than make an exit plan.
posted by radioamy at 12:58 PM on May 27, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think it would be best to separate out some of the various issues at play here.

1. They are behaving unprofessionally, not staying on message, not using the talking points staff spends their paid work hours preparing, etc. in both their on air and "public face" behavior.

2. Politically extreme fridge magnets and other forms of workplace expression you find troublesome/unprofessional/bad for business.

3. Blocking you on Facebook for not friending them or whatever personal level social slights.

Re #1, this is probably your best way to talk about this with your boss at work. Is all controversy good, or are they destroying the brand? Off-message chatter on air would be especially troublesome, from what I gather. It is your company's job to create a certain kind of voice, and be in a certain space, and cover a certain beat, and appeal to a certain demo, and if people are straying in a way that is bad for that voice/space/brand/demo/message, that's not good for your boss.

In my opinion, 2 and 3 are frustrating, maybe even frustrating enough to quit your job over, but not really germane to the company as a whole. You have to figure out how toxic is too toxic a workplace for YOU, and whether it's worth a paycut to have a sane work life.
posted by Sara C. at 1:13 PM on May 27, 2014

Controversy is good, says management. Ergo, take the opposite tack of these new guys. Become their nemesis.
posted by No Robots at 1:52 PM on May 27, 2014

Do you have any say in booking guests for the shows? Try to get the most opposite ones you can and let the controversy really start flowing.
posted by CathyG at 1:18 PM on May 28, 2014

If your get into such a crisis over fridge magnets maybe your beliefs aren't as solidly attached as you think.

I know plenty of people who are sturdy enough in their beliefs that they are able to make friends, even, with people who hold starkly differing views from themselves. They are able to differentiate between a person and that person's stance on various topics.

Opposing beliefs do not threaten them in the least. You have probably worked with people like this without even knowing it.

I don't know how explain what it takes to reach that point. Plenty of self-awareness and examining of one's beliefs, their purpose and origins might be a start. If you are interested in achieving such a state, of course.

Understandable if you aren't because that in itself opens the door to changing some favorite beliefs. Easier to switch jobs or complain about magnets than to question oneself on that level.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:21 PM on May 28, 2014

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