Express Your Religion at Work? Go for it, Experts Say

Who knew?  Employees who are open about religion are happier, this from a new study, as reported by

The study also found that it may be beneficial for employers to not only encourage office Christmas parties but also celebrate holidays and festivals from a variety of religions, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Researchers discovered that employees who openly discuss their religious beliefs at work are often happier and have higher job satisfaction than those employees who do not.

"For many people, religion is the core of their lives," said study author Sooyeol Kim, doctoral student in psychological sciences. "Being able to express important aspects of one's life can influence work-related issues, such as job satisfaction, work performance or engagement. It can be beneficial for organizations to have a climate that is welcoming to every religion and culture."

Now, I find this hard to believe.  I'm sure the study did not mean the people who might circle your desk, waiting for an opportunity to plug their church.   In my 20s I lived briefly in the Midwest and was befriended by the president's secretary, who also lived in my apartment building. She was a very nice woman but she was an Evangelical (no two people of opposite sexes sitting in a room without the lights on; church on Sunday mornings and nights, and Wednesday nights,  too, and when we did go to church together, those people standing and throwing their arms up in the air, or being overcome by a force that made them start speaking nonsense in rough, guttural voices) and I found it all a little scary.

I dated several men while living in Minnesota and down to a one, they all desperately tried to "save" me, to get me to go up to the altar and claim Jesus as "my lord and savior."  Couldn't do it. 

An attractive college friend came for a visit and was immediately set upon by several of the men.  But then I was told they couldn't ask her out because she and I were not among the chosen. (Ironically, she went on to, briefly, marry a man she met in a bar while she was out there.)

This is not to say that religion has not played a large role in my life.  It has.  It's helped me overcome many obstacles -- infertility, cancer, my mother's death -- and I am grateful to have God in my life.  But the practice of that kind of religion was just not for me.   And I'm sure not too many workplaces would embrace it.

Results of the study showed that employees who valued religion as a core part of their lives were more likely to disclose their religion in the workplace. Employees who felt pressure to assimilate in the workplace were less likely to disclose their religious identity, Kim said.

But most significantly, the researchers found that the employees who disclosed their religion in the workplace had several positive outcomes, including higher job satisfaction and higher perceived well-being.

"Disclosing your religion can be beneficial for employees and individual well-being," Kim said. "When you try to hide your identity, you have to pretend or you have to lie to others, which can be stressful and negatively impact how you build relationships with co-workers."


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