I have been employed as an executive assistant at the same company for almost 10 years. Recently the boss I had since the beginning retired and a new executive has stepped in. He knows I am vegan and makes the same cliché jokes as many others, which I can let roll off my back. What I struggle with way more is him sending me out to pick up lunch for him on busy days and ordering meat. I cringe with sadness every time I have to carry that bag out to my car, and the smell on the drive back is just awful. I’m not sure how to address this with him so he takes my feelings about this issue seriously.
Dear Advocating Always,
This is a very timely question! Had you heard that ethical veganism is now legally recognized in Ontario, Canada? (Check out the news here!) With any luck, this is a trend that will continue so these kinds of issues will be non-events! In the meantime, I hope it’s comforting on some level to know you’re not alone and things are changing.
I think many people see veganism as a diet plan or trendy since people like Beyonce and other celebrities made it “cool.” Yes, some people do follow a plant-based diet but veganism is so, so much more. It’s our belief system… basically, compassion is our religion. It’s a very emotional concept, and one not super-familiar to society as a whole (hence, vegans making up about 2% of the population). I would suggest drafting an email to him so that you can carefully express your thoughts and allow editing for any emotional statements (I know I can fall into a weepy, sniffling mess when talking about factory farming atrocities), but also to leave him with the words to not only hear, but see to help it all sink in. Assuming you don’t mind picking up lunch for him in general, let him know you’re happy to do so but you respectfully request that your belief system be taken into consideration. Explain that you are morally opposed to participating in an industry that causes so much needless pan, fear and death, and that it’s hard for you to even enable it as a go-between.
To help your boss see this as something to be excited about as opposed to inconvenienced by, offer a list of your favorite vegan lunch options at local restaurants. As I say that I’m mentally running down my “go to” meals where I live… soyrizo and avocado wraps, grilled tofu street tacos, chana masala, sushi rolls filled with tempura asparagus and almond butter, tofu and pineapple curry, and pizza topped with Daiya cheese (hey, maybe you guys can share and you’ll score a free lunch; just tell him you’ll fly if he’ll buy!). Vegan food is so bright, fresh and creative, perhaps this will be a little culinary adventure for him. A compassionate culinary adventure.
Thank you for writing in with your question and for giving the animals a voice in this situation. I’d love to hear how receptive he is, if you don’t mind following up later. Maybe you can share what his new favorite lunch request is, too!
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