• Courtney Kirschaum

Miss Americana and the expensive priceless truth

From the Ask Courtney mailbox...

“I'm currently looking for position in the international development field. I'm about to send my job application to a nondenominational Christian international organization. I know the organization is looking for Christ believers to join their team. Although I'm a Christian I'm hesitant to include anything on that'll show my religious beliefs since I'm applying to organizations and companies that do not incorporate any religious views into their missions. Do any of you have opinions about this?”

How Much Do I Share?


First of all, good luck on your job search.

In the US, laws that dictate what constitutes discrimination on religious grounds are enforced by the  US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and it's worth looking at their guidance here.

You're not talking about discrimination, I get that. Yet you'll do yourself a huge favor if you understand that these laws represent the rocky shore employer's work hard to steer clear of.

Knowing these rules will help you understand their perspective, and that will benefit you immensely now and moving forward.  

“If they don’t like you for being yourself, be yourself even more.”– Taylor Swift

There's a documentary about Taylor Swift playing on Netflix right now: Miss Americana

In scene after scene, she's singing to jam-packed stadiums, accepting Grammy award after Grammy award, and basically owning the music industry.

The chronicle of her successes is nothing short of stunning. Whatever you think of her, it's amazing to see the arc of her career. 

Since TSwift started singing when she was a kid, this flick shows you the child star morphing into an adult.

One of her "grown up" trials is deciding if she's going to share her political opinion -  a la the Dixie Chicks.

Or remain in superstar neutral, and work toward the near universal adoration of say, Dolly Parton.

There's a scene where Miss Americana, Taylor, is passionately, tearfully arguing to break the Golden Rule of Entertainment and publicly take sides in an upcoming election. 

Speaking up will most certainly send some of her fans running.

Her management team's response to this idea is ...."Noooooooooooo!!!!"   

One of her advisors, managers, what have you, says to her:

"Imagine if we came to you and said, 'we've got this idea that would half the number of people who come to your next tour.' 

Even though she's a wildly rich, private jet flying,mega star with (at the time) 112 million Twitter followers, she's still sweating the exact same thing as you. 

How much of yourself should you reveal? 

What's true for her is true for you: if you have an opinion (about anything) you'll lose some of your followers, prospects, opportunities, money, fans and so on.

The ones you keep will likely respect you more and feel a more authentic connection to you and it's possible you'll feel the same as Taylor.

After taking sides publicly in an election and taking at least some of the hit her advisor warned about, she said happily and a little triumphantly "I feel 200 pounds lighter."

And this is a woman who just watched 20+ million of her followers say, "Bye, we are never, ever, ever getting back together."

Some people can't keep who they are under wraps and when they try it tears them up.

Other's feel it's private and have no problem keeping things to themselves.

Which are you?

Only you know.

This will come up again and again in your career and life. 

Situations will require you to decide whether you're going to speak up and maybe get some doors slammed in your face or be quiet and not ruffle any feathers.

When they say "No," you say "Next." 

The good news: people will pleasantly surprise you with their goodness and decency. 

And you'll find the most surprising allies when you show up as yourself. 

As famous and fearlessly herself singer Lady Gaga says, "Baby I was born this way."

You do you,


PS - Do you know what a Q Score is?I write about that in an upcoming email and so stick around.

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