For those who live "alternative" lifestyles, how's the business world treating you?

I work for a post-production place in LA. Many of my co-workers have minor success as musicians, models, actors, writers, and creators of various things. About a dozen of them are gay and I’m sure many of them are vegetarian, vegan, drug-using, politically-active, etc.

None of it is any big deal. Most people here don’t talk about themselves, but even if something unusual is widely known, it doesn’t really affect anything. It’s LA, the place is full of “unusual” people. As far as I know, the only person we really shunned was Mr. Excessive Cologne.

Depends on where you are in the U.S.

Some states protect sexual orientation, some don’t. Even the ones that do, if your boss finds out you’re gay and doesn’t want you to work there because of it, then they will often find/make up a reason to fire you.

I know that in some states, it used to be illegal for gays and lesbians to work as schoolteachers. On account of they’re assumed to either be pedophiles or out to “recruit” the vulnerable young minds to their twisted way of thinking, doncha know. Heck, some places that may still be the case. (I am way too lazy to research right now)

HA. It is to laugh. Some places have added “sexual orientation” to the equal opportunity language, but most, not so mcuh.

Somehow, I don’t believe that the OP considers someone taking medication under prescription of a doctor an alternative lifestyle. :rolleyes:

And yet, at one of the big government contractors I worked for in the 1990s, I was required to report anyone I saw taking pills, even if they were taking them out of a prescription bottle. I suppose the rules were intended to cut down on the number of people taking stimulants. Who knows?

This was about 1994, IIRC, and the “official” reason I was fired was a list of mistakes I’d made in the first month I was employed there. I found out from later gossip I was fired for lesbianism.

CAN HAVE. We don’t all present like Spicolli or something. I told them my dreads were religious and now I’m a protected class.

Posted at 4:30 because I was busy in the men’s room. :slight_smile:

I keep kosher. I will eat in non-kosher restaurants, but I won’t order anything that contains meat, poultry, or non-kosher fish.

I’m an introvert and don’t do a lot of socializing, so it’s hard to tell how it might affect me there. I also tend to seek out jobs that don’t require a lot of socializing, because social skills are not my strong suit.

I think I didn’t get one job that I was otherwise well-qualified for because of it. The interview was going very well until they told me we were going to a steak house for lunch. I mentioned that I might have trouble finding something to order there.

I try to avoid mealtime interviews. I’m a messy eater, too, so I try to avoid eating in my interview clothes on general principle anyway. I wouldn’t take a job that required a lot of interaction with customers over meals, because schmoozing and sales are not things I am any good at (all of this was true before I started keeping kosher, though).

In the South, being an Atheist counts as an alternative lifestyle. Best to keep tha mouth shut.

In my experience, not being the popular variety of Christian in the area counts as an alternative lifestyle in some parts of the South, and in many areas, people will ask complete strangers which church they attend in the same casual manner as a comment on the weather. Since I grew up with a “religious belief is a very personal thing and somewhat private,” I normally responded with something akin to :dubious: and “I haven’t really found a steady church yet in this area” to most inquiries. Having been a student at the time, I could pass for new or “passing through” to the locals who’d inquire about religion.

Food culture can be really divisive in some workplaces, depending upon how strongly people feel about their own food preferences and cultural norms. I eat a lot of different stuff, and at my current workplace, I am the “weird food eater”, but it doesn’t exclude me at all because there are very few things I won’t at least try to eat. Tattoos aren’t an issue here either, but have been an unusual thing in other workplaces that I’ve been in; conversely, not being tattooed has been an “unusual” factor in some of the workplaces I’ve been in.

It’s one of the dichotomies I love the most about the US - the general public seem to take a “of course we have freedom of religion, people are free to go to whichever church they want” view which from my perspective as a non-religionist isn’t really the point.

I’m gay but work in the British government which is possibly the most equal ops place you can possibly work. I’ve never had even a sniff of an issue with it, even though I’m very open about my sexuality and don’t feel in any way inhibited in talking about it, unlike some gay people who feel they can be out at work but try and make as little reference to it as possible so that people feel they’re not being “in people’s faces”. This can be from anything from talking about their partner to commenting on which celebs they find attractive, stuff you wouldn’t think about twice if you were straight but if you’re gay that can be “overtly gay” and therefore an issue. Like I said, not a problem for me, it’s one of the reasons I like my occupation.

Well, I’m an atheist vegetarian guitar-playing tattooed anarchist who doesn’t drink but is sometimes unavailable from 4:19-4:21 on my days off, and it really doesn’t affect my professional life at all.

Of course, I’m an entertainment tech, so I’m not really all that unusual. Lots of people in my line of work are also freaks, thank Bob. We’re like an army of misfits in black clothes. In general, I couldn’t ask for better people to work with or be around.

I once got written up for having a private phone conversation about my wife, wherein I commented about a co-worker/friend in a sexual manner.

My (incompetent) boss at the time mentioned that he could have just let it go and told the (not my friend) co-worker who was listening to my phone call if it wasn’t well known that the wife and I had an open marriage.

Nothing came of it, but it was a stark reminder that I should never ever be that personal at work, ever.

Atheist is about as alternative as I get, and that doesn’t show, but I have a good friend who is both a M to F transexual (I knew her for years as a male, as a band mate and for a little while as a roommate before she came out. I never had any clue), is in a hard rock band and has her own porn site. She works at a college as an IT, and the school she works for has been very supportive of both her coming out and her transition (she’s done everything but the snipping at this point), and of her occassional sabbaticals to tour with her band (including tours in Europe and Austrialia). She’s been extraordinarily lucky in that regard.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t get a certain job because of my interview at a restaraunt. The guy kept insisting I have a beer “like the rest of us,” and I kept refusing with a “No, thanks” and trying to get back on topic. I’d be damned if I was going to apologize for being an alcoholic. They guy was a royal dick, though, so no big loss.


Yeah, in his eyes you were “no fun” and wouldn’t have ‘fit in’ with the crowd anyway. Yes, he was a dick.

I’m generally pathetically average, but even my lifestyle weirds some people out.

I told my boss a few months back that I was pescetarian. She said, firmly, “That’s stupid. You should eat meat.” Fortunately I’ve learned that she’s just a terribly blunt person. I did have to stand really firm on the “No, really, I don’t want to pick the sausage off the pizza. I’ll get my own lunch” front, though.

I used to be completely vegetarian (for over 10 years) and while most people are ok, there is that odd person who isn’t. Apparently, some people think vegetarians are some sort of fictional creatures that only exist with movies, and of course all are crazy drug-addled hippies. I don’t really fit that profile, so therefore I was either lying or … brain does not compute. So, I’d get the million questions: “Do you eat chicken? Do you eat pork? Do you eat beef?” It’s just kind of annoying since it’s never in a ‘hey, I’m curious’ tone but one that is disbelieving or slightly disgusted.

Because of this, I only generally discuss my eating habits under duress. (My boss, in the aforementioned example, only knew from someone else telling her loudly “YOU NEED TO GET A SALAD, SHE WON’T EAT MEAT” and making a scene. That person only knew because of repeatedly and forcibly insisting that I eat something that contained meat. People and their food issues…)

People often find me being into gaming as bizarre – usually women – so I don’t often share this, either. Guys are usually OK with this though they often don’t believe me. Really, fellas, there are chicks out there playing stuff that isn’t Barbie Horse Adventures. Women usually assume you’re a colossal loser who hates other people. Guys (mostly older guys) just ask a billion questions: “So, you play like Farmville and stuff, right?” “Uh, no. I don’t really play browser games but I play a lot of other types of games. FPS, MMO, whatever.” “Uhwaa? So … do you have, like, a game console?” “Yes, I have many consoles, though I am a PC gaming fan.” “???”

Discussing table-top roleplaying games is definitely off the table unless they bring it up first. People definitely don’t get this. One woman pressed me repeatedly about what I was reading until I explained that it was a game manual for D&D. She then gave me the strangest look and said “Oh, so you worship the devil?”

Yes, she was serious. PS this wasn’t in 1980, it was like five years ago.

I just generally don’t share a lot with co-workers unless I find them intelligent and sane, which is unfortunately uncommon.

Oh, I guess I should add that I am an atheist, but I have never, ever, ever brought this up at work. Sorry, it’s Iowa, if being a vegetarian who plays video games is bizarre, there’s no way I’m taking on that mantle. The closest I’ve gotten, even with closely trusted co-workers, is “I’m not really very religious.”

I worked in a hospital as a CNA in 1993-1994. I was reading a D&D book on break, and that led to an hour long discussion about how the devil was making me do things every time I played, and it was only a matter of time until I hurt myself or someone else.

Of course, this was in Montana, so I’m lucky they didn’t just hang me and go out for beers afterwards.

I’m Wiccan, practicing Yoga, living with a vegetarian Burning Man devotee. I regularly play African drums at public events for people who dance/play with fire, or for people who pierce their bodies and use those piercings to suspend themselves from ceilings, several feet above the ground.

But I’m in academia, where we’re expected to be eccentric. :smiley: