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You need to let this go. Your colleague has every right to his affinities, however repugnant you find them. I get where you’re coming from, but his personal beliefs are none of your business, unless he makes them your business. And how he decorates his work space is not really making them your business. Displays of spirituality are not unprofessional. It would become unprofessional if he proselytized in the office or otherwise foisted his religious beliefs on his co-workers.
As for the pictures he displays, again, what you find intolerable is probably one of his chosen pastimes. There may well be cause for asking him to take down images of firearms; perhaps you can ask your human resources department if there are any guidelines about that. But if you go that route, do so hypothetically. There is no need to snitch on this colleague who hasn’t done anything to you except have different political beliefs. Just stop looking at this man’s desk and obsessing about what he’s doing. If he is as mediocre as you suggest, the problem will, indeed, resolve itself.
Leading by Example
Thank you for asking this question. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and part of that is using people’s correct pronouns. You are already doing a lot of what you should be doing by always using your team member’s pronouns in all communication. I would start by sending a memo to your entire team reminding them of the importance of referring to people using the proper pronouns. Don’t single out your nonbinary team member because, frankly, this is a matter of common courtesy and it applies to everyone.
You might also meet privately with your team member to let them know you’re aware of the problem and are working to address it. Ask if there is anything you can do to improve their experience at work but don’t ask them how to solve the overall problem you’re dealing with, as it is not their problem to solve. I am confident you will lead your team forward in a caring and considerate manner.
When You’re Here, You’re Family
Just because your C.E.O. thinks your company is a family does not make it so. Your job is your job and your family is your family. I love a collegial workplace where people feel valued and respected and where people can socialize outside of work. That is ideal and should be the norm, though it isn’t. But professional collegiality still isn’t family, nor should it be. When employers suggest that the company is a family, they’re trying to garner your emotional investment so that you overlook everything else. When it’s time for layoffs, I can assure you that the word “family” will disappear from the company vernacular.
Your C.E.O. is behaving very unprofessionally. If he feels betrayed when an employee gives proper notice and moves on to a new position, that’s a personal problem he should work out with a therapist. This bizarre emotional transference he is foisting on his staff is inappropriate. You do not have to let your employer know you are looking for new work because, unfortunately, far too many employers will retaliate when hearing such news. For now, communicate with the C.E.O. as you normally do because you have nothing to report.Continue with your job search, and when you secure a new position, give ample notice, participate generously in any transition work that needs to happen and move on with a clear conscience.
The Case of the Misspelled Name
I can relate so very much. My name is spelled with one n. It is constantly misspelled. It is aggravating in the way that petty things are aggravating, which is to say that I have the necessary perspective. When someone misspells my name in an email, I simply sign my email Roxane (with one n) so that the correction is there but isn’t the centerpiece of the correspondence. When you receive an email with your name spelled wrong, just sign your name correctly with a parenthetical of your choosing about the correct spelling. I find it easiest to walk the line of standing up for myself and my name while also recognizing that the constant misspelling of my name is, in the grand scheme of things, a minor aggravation.
Roxane Gay is the author, most recently, of “Hunger” and a contributing opinion writer. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.