Have you seen this story about the yoga instructor who was fired from teaching yoga classes at the Facebook headquarters because she glared at a participant who wouldn’t put away her cell phone during class?
When she was fired, she was told by the company that contracts with Facebook to provide their fitness programs, “We are in the business of providing great customer service. Unless a client requires us to specifically say no to something, we prefer to say yes whenever possible.”
The employee told the San Francisco Chronicle, “The culture of these places is to let them do whatever they want, and I’m just not really OK with anarchy. I understand the world still happens and there might be emergencies, but it’s like, can we have some sort of boundary, a line of what we’re not going to accept bringing into this class.”
I’m writing about this here because I think the yoga instructor is completely missing the point– and so is much of the coverage of the story. She’s entirely entitled to her opinions about what is and isn’t appropriate in her class — and she may be perfectly right. But when you disagree with your employer about something, you need to work those issues out behind the scenes. You can’t just insist on doing it the way you want, your employer be damned.
In fact, ideally this is a question of fit that you explore during a hiring process and before you accept a job: Are you sufficiently philosophically aligned? Are you clear on the expectations on both sides? If there are places where you differ, are you able to abide by the way they want it done, or convince them to try your way?
What you can’t do is to just plunge ahead with your way, simply because you believe you’re right. If there are differences, you need to surface them and figure out if they can be resolved. If they can’t, you either accept that the employer — who’s paying for the work — has the final word, or you find another job. It’s not about who’s right or wrong — it’s about the fact that you need to be philosophically aligned or at least willing to operate as if you are.
Now, to be fair, I’d be taking a less harsh tone if the employee had never had this issue come up before and she handled it in good faith and got fired without a warning. (Although I’d still say that she should have done a better culture and alignment check before accepting the job.) But news reports say that she’d already been warned not to be overly rigid with rules in her classes previously, so she was already on notice that there was a philosophical difference with her employer.
Philosophical alignment: It’s a real thing, and it’s pretty key in your success at work.