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Protest on your own time, not at work

The Wall Street Journal reports that some of America’s biggest companies are getting tired of their employees deciding that their role is to become a full-time activist and protester within the office, sometimes even disrupting the workplace until their demands are met:

Google’s decision to fire 28 workers involved in sit-in protests against the tech giant’s cloud-computing contract with the Israeli government is the most recent and starkest example of companies’ stricter stance. Rifts with employees have spilled into public view at National Public Radio, the New York Times and other workplaces. Bosses are losing patience with staff eager to be the conscience of their companies, especially as employees pressure them on charged issues such as politics and the war in Gaza, executives, board members and C-suite advisers say.

…Hasan Ibraheem, a Google software engineer who was arrested and then fired after taking part in the protest at the company’s New York office, said the firings didn’t square with his image of Google when he was hired less than two years ago.

It was “the big company that was still fun and vibrant. You were allowed to express yourself,” said Ibraheem, 23, who had been active in pro-Palestinian demonstrations before joining Google.

Though he knew of a few co-workers who had quit because of their opposition to the $1.2 billion Israeli contract that Google shares with Amazon, called Project Nimbus, he said he opted to stay so he could protest the contract from within.

Go figure, America’s companies want their employees to do the actual job that they were hired to do, and not to relive their glory days as a campus activist on the company’s dime.

See, pal, if you really have a problem with your company’s business ties to Israel, you can make your case to the boss, and if the boss says no, you can either accept it or resign. You don’t get to turn your workplace into your old college campus and hold a sit-in. If you want to advance the agenda of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — you know, the guys who cheered on the Hamas massacres — then go apply for a job with CAIR.

What we’re witnessing is a collision between two schools of thought that were blatantly wrongheaded from the start. The first is “the personal is political,” and the notion that our political beliefs must invade every aspect of our daily lives. We’re never allowed to take a break from the struggle against the establishment, we’re never allowed to focus on mundane tasks like, you know, making a living. Everything must be shoehorned into our crusade to remake the world as we see fit.

The second wrongheaded school of thought is the “bring your whole self to work” mentality. You and your co-workers are there to do a job — make widgets, sell coffee, help home buyers find a house, troubleshoot somebody’s computer glitch. Big chunks of your “whole self” can be left at home, particularly your politics, because not everyone at your workplace shares your politics. Nobody cares if you think Hamas is getting a raw deal just because they kidnapped, raped, and murdered a bunch of Israelis and won’t trade back the corpses. Shut up and get back to work. Google hired you to engineer some software, not to realign the company’s contracts with your foreign-policy views.

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