March 2, 2017

Should You Only Work With Likeminded People?


This year has certainly started off on an interesting foot. I don’t know about you, but for me, surfing social media used to be a relaxing activity. I learned about engagements, saw baby photos, and watched cat videos. Lately, however, it’s filled with opposing views and tension – on all sides of every issue. It’s exhausting.

I have friends on both sides of the aisle – and some from other aisles, too. I see them thoughtfully speaking out about their concerns. Regardless of your views, there’s a decent chance the past few months have not been a cakewalk.

This level of frustration we’ve all been experiencing can sometimes lead us to reevaluate things in our lives. I know a number of people who are cleaning out their Facebook friends lists, eliminating anyone who doesn’t share their perspectives. More than before, I also see job seekers scrutinizing the personal values of their future bosses and coworkers. They’re not sure they want to work with people who have different viewpoints than theirs.

The question becomes, where do we draw the line? After all, we spend eight waking hours a day at work. I can relate to this struggle myself. In a similar way, I have shied away from industries that make products or services I’m not completely comfortable with for one reason or another.

As you know, deciding where to work is a very personal decision, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. That said, you may want to weigh how much your personal views play into the work you do. If you didn’t know your boss held an opposing view, would it still matter? Could you still do your work?

The other thing I’d like to say is this: There was once a time when we were more open to making friends with those who were different from us. I really liked that time. It allowed me to grow up in a place like Oklahoma and move to places like New York and California, where I met people who grew up with very different ideas than I did. This openness allowed me to make close friends from cities all over the U.S. and countries all over the world. I rarely meet someone with whom I agree on every issue, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be friends or that I can’t work to have a better understanding of their perspectives.

However, with all the time we spend there, work is something we’re practically married to. If it just doesn’t work for you to labor alongside someone with values that are different from yours, I get it.

But wouldn’t it be great to put these frustrating thoughts on a shelf for a few hours each day and focus just on work? Perhaps we could make a few great things happen with a diverse team of people who all bring different views and strengths to the table.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.

Read more in Job Search

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching ( She is host of the Copeland Coaching Podcast, and author of the career eBook "Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job". Follow Angela on Facebook (, Twitter (, and Instagram (