• Antoinette Minor

Political Debates in the Office

This entire presidential election has been one big joke to me. I honestly, can't believe the actions and words of the presidential candidates over the past few months. I will say that the one good thing is this election has given me ALL of the laughs as well. Twitter trending topics keep me fully aware of the foolery but what do you do when the topic of politics comes up in the office? It can be a touchy subject and I don't have all of the answers but I do want to share my real feelings about this topic.

There are people on all sides of the fence when it comes to the election.  There are Trump supporters, Trump haters, Hillary supporters, People with Hillary because Bernie isn't in the race and people who are #TeamBernie 'till the day they die.  Most employee handbooks would ask you to shy away from bringing up politics or human resources has already sent out an email telling you to keep your mouth shut.

Recently, I found out politics can make or break your career before you even step foot in the office.  There is a county outside of Philadelphia where most employees register as Republican because it is known that those registered as Democrat can be discriminated against when applying for jobs.  Crazy, right?  Is it really that deep?  That is petty.com if you ask me but it happens more often than you think.

As human beings we like to categorize, include and exclude. It makes us feel safer by surrounding ourselves with likeminded people. In the same vein by excluding what you do not understand or relate to can really limit you as a person. With that being said, its quite possible that your political position could cost you an opportunity or relationship with a coworker because you have opposing views. Its unfair and childish but this is the world we live in. I encourage everyone to stand for what they believe in but also realize that it is perfectly okay for others to stand with something other than your beliefs.  What I'm saying is, don't treat your Trump supporting coworker differently. *wink* 

For the most part my office crew is pretty open with discussing their thoughts on the election. We've had conversations in passing in the hall, in the lunch room and even as side bar conversations during meetings. The only reason I believe it works for my coworkers and I is because we are all mature enough to have an open and honest conversation without judging others. We also work in an industry where we are told not to judge those we serve and we deal with sensitive circumstances on a daily basis.  Being open minded is engrained in us. If this is not the case for your office you may want to reconsider being open about your position or the position of others.

When considering if and/or when you want to talk about politics in the office you have to think about the environment and culture of your company when deciding to jump into conversation with your coworkers. For some companies it is completely normal and for other its inappropriate. Make sure to read up on the company policies on the issue and even go to HR. Human Resources is there for you to ask the hard questions. But always, when in doubt, be safe and keep to yourself.   

At the end of the day, I'm unsatisfied about this election disregarding many of the very fundamental lessons we learned as children. I'll take the election seriously when name calling, hatred, plagiarism, and discrimination are not tactics used by presidential candidates. On that note, Kanye for President 2020!  

See you at the top,

The Young Professionalist


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