QMy company has publicly supported a political cause that I deeply oppose. While no one, including my boss or co-workers, has been in my face about it, it is bothering me a lot. What should I do?

AOnly you know what you can live with in terms of a values clash, and it's worth the effort to think through.

The inner game

You'll have more success assessing the situation from a place of calm reflection. So, settle in, take some deep breaths and relax. Let your emotions cool, and set an intention of gaining a deeper understanding of what is important to you.

Now, think about the values you hold. They'll likely include the cause that prompted your question; what others are there? They may include having a sense of community, behaving with integrity ... you get the idea.

Consider the ways that you express your values. If you value honesty, you may return money if a cashier gives you too much change. A value of community may inspire volunteerism. Or you may be an activist for a cause you care about. Take a deep look at how much your values drive your behavior. For some people, values are informing day-to-day decisions about how they spend their time and resources. For others, they are more in the background. Which is the case for you?

Finally, assess the overall fit between your company and your values. It's never as simple as complete alignment or complete disconnect. Apart from the current cause, how well does your company fit in terms of other values, such as diversity, family-friendliness, giving back to the community or other issues that may be important to you?

The outer game

Focus on determining the actions you want to take, if any. You may choose to ride it out, particularly if you decide you can live with the company's stance on this particular issue, or if practical considerations such as a tight job market in your field keep you in place.

If you stay put, do so with good grace. Having accepted that you differ from your company in a strongly felt way, you could look for other ways to honor your principles. For example, you could volunteer or contribute financially to the side you believe in; this may help you feel more empowered. You also will want to focus on the positives about your current company so that you don't feel bitter -- others will notice, and that can be career-limiting, to say the least.

If you decide that your values simply do not permit you to work for that company, take measured and careful steps to finding a new position. Network with people in companies that you feel more positive about and ask for leads. Treat it as you would any job search, looking for options while you're still employed. Keep in mind, though, that all companies will have tradeoffs, so it's not likely that you'll find a firm that matches perfectly with your beliefs.

The last word

Be clear about your values, balanced with flexibility about other ways your company fits for you in order to make a good decision.

What challenges do you face at work? Send your questions to Liz Reyer, a credentialed coach and president of Reyer Coaching & Consulting in Eagan. She can be reached at liz@deliverchange.com.