Author Topic: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace  (Read 4706 times)

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CakeBeret

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Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« on: October 01, 2012, 10:15:48 AM »
I will be so glad when election season is over. ::)

My bosses have very strong political opinions and at first seemed to assume that "of course" I share their political beliefs. I don't. They like to talk about politics a lot lately. I make "hmm" noises, bean dip, and find something important to do.

Now they've started the tactic of calling me into their office and bombarding me with political statements such as "You support Candidate X, don't you?" in order to flesh out my stance. It's getting to the point of ridiculousness.

I would really like some advice on whether I should continue bean dipping, or tell them that I refuse to discuss politics. (Please, no legal advice or political speculation--I really don't want the thread to get closed. :))
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

dawbs

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 10:21:17 AM »
"I don't ever discuss politics at work, to many hard feelings"

"my mother always taught me that one doesn't discuss politics or religion in social/work settings"

"My grandmother would come back from the grave and smack me with her copy of Emily Post if I even THOUGHT about discussing that in the workplace"

I find telling people works better, especially when they have escalated beyond beandipping.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 10:24:13 AM »
  I have a lot of friends and family who don't see eye to eye with me on politics, and I've told them hey, I know we have different opinions, so I'm not going to discuss it with you.  And most of them are ok with that.

with your bosses, it might be a bit trickier, but I'd simply say you you'd rather not discuss politics at work, then bean dip. And keep doing it.  And when they call you into their offices, do what you've been doing, and then ask if there's anything else they need, preferably work-related. HOpefully they'll get the message.

audrey1962

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 10:27:37 AM »
"Does this effect my job or work performance somehow?"

O'Dell

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 10:45:56 AM »
"Does this effect my job or work performance somehow?"

Yep, this is what I'd do. Along with that, I'd emphasize wanting to concentrate on work during work hours and avoid topics that divert my attention from doing my job well. Link not wanting to discuss politics to *their* bottom line. Maybe they'll get that.
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Oh Joy

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 11:22:36 AM »
Tough position for you, especially if it feels like they mean it in an inclusive and well-intentioned (just clueless) way.

I would probably - directly but lightly - say something like 'S*x, religion, and politics...too personal for me to discuss at work.' 

Best wishes.

Amara

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 01:42:03 PM »
I promised my cats I would only discuss politics and religion with them. And they check up on me."   >:D

TootsNYC

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 03:19:09 PM »
"Does this effect my job or work performance somehow?"

And then I might say, "Are you going to fire me or dock my pay if I happen to have a different political stance from you?"

"Since I haven't chimed in to agree with you, it's pretty obvious that my *personal* views don't quite align with yours. Why is it so important to you that you pressure me into discussing the topic?"

"I'm just so tired of the election topic--I like work to be a place where I don't have to discuss it."

But to the core of your question--yes, I'd say that it's time to stop serving up bean dip and instead make a frank statement to the two burghers: "I really don't want to discuss politics at work. You two are my bosses, and if my own views are not in complete alignment with yours, I don't want to feel that I could lose your good opinion if I try to explain myself. And if my views ARE in alignment with yours, I don't want to feel that any good opinion I earn comes becuase I agree with you, instead of because I'm good at my job. So I would like to ask you, please, to simply leave me out of the political conversations."

LeveeWoman

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2012, 03:49:08 PM »
"Does this effect my job or work performance somehow?"

And then I might say, "Are you going to fire me or dock my pay if I happen to have a different political stance from you?"

"Since I haven't chimed in to agree with you, it's pretty obvious that my *personal* views don't quite align with yours. Why is it so important to you that you pressure me into discussing the topic?"

"I'm just so tired of the election topic--I like work to be a place where I don't have to discuss it."

But to the core of your question--yes, I'd say that it's time to stop serving up bean dip and instead make a frank statement to the two burghers: "I really don't want to discuss politics at work. You two are my bosses, and if my own views are not in complete alignment with yours, I don't want to feel that I could lose your good opinion if I try to explain myself. And if my views ARE in alignment with yours, I don't want to feel that any good opinion I earn comes becuase I agree with you, instead of because I'm good at my job. So I would like to ask you, please, to simply leave me out of the political conversations."

Best use of ambiguity I've seen in ages. I bet if I were to look in the dictionary under "tact", I'd find this as an example.

TootsNYC

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2012, 05:26:30 PM »
The thing is, I often have views *similar* to someone else, but not exactly identical. And the nuance is important to me, but trying to maintain it is just frustrating.

Sharnita

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2012, 05:32:23 PM »
Maybe mention how we didn't always have a secret ballot in this country and now that we do you feel a  moral obligation to protect that ideal by refraining from discussing your political views in the workplace.

sweetonsno

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 12:01:04 AM »
You've already gotten some great advice. Assuming that your job does not relate to politics in some way (if you work for a company that organizes canvassing or advertising for one of the candidates or something, it might matter), this question isn't entirely appropriate. However, you probably don't want to actually say that to your bosses.

I think it really depends on your work environment. Humor is a great tactic (I love the idea of not wanting to "cheat" on your cats. . . I'm going to use that one). You could say that you're writing in Santa. TootsNYC had a fabulous idea of how to directly (and politely) state that you don't want to talk about it without making it look like you're trying to hide  anything.

Petticoats

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 02:16:26 PM »
Maybe you can remind them that you're busy... doing the work they hired you to do. "Oh, is this not about X assignment? I'm afraid I really need to get back to it, unless there are any changes you need to tell me about." Or "I'm afraid my mind is on X assignment, and if I try to switch gears right now it'll take me a while to catch up to where I was." Or if you're brave, maybe "When I'm at work I don't have any politics. I leave all that at home. Was there something related to X assignment that you needed?"

MummySweet

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 02:36:16 PM »
"I have a firm policy about not discussing politics, religion, or Justin Bieber  ::) in the workplace.   I know you'll want to respect that.   Is there anything else? "   

Twik

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Re: Need help avoiding politics in the workplace
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 03:59:52 PM »
Since I get a vibe that not agreeing with the bosses could have serious repercussions, I might suggest a gentle lie, of the "My mother made me do it" persuasion.

"I'm sorry, but my mother always told me a lady never discusses religion or politics in society. And I just feel so uncomfortable going against that."
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