Over the next 60 days, workplaces across America will be the filled with whispers, back room conversations, and a few heated debates about the upcoming presidential election. Employees will be reminded to keep politics private although political bumper stickers and other paraphernalia of coworkers put them in one camp or the other. There will be a lot of “walking on eggshells” and if you are smart, you will learn to walk on them too.
Politics can bring out the best and the worst in people. That’s why conventional wisdom recommends leaving conversations about politics and religion out of social and work settings. This is difficult, especially when “they” (those in power) seem to say and do whatever they want on the subjects. It is very difficult. Even so, my advice is this: WHEN AT WORK, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT YOUR POLITICS. SMILE, WALK AWAY FROM HEATED DEBATES ABOUT THE CANDIDATES, AND TAKE YOURSELF (AND OTHERS) TO THE POLLS AND VOTE!
There is no need to strain relationships at work over a political election, as important as this election is. . This election is critical – and so are your job and the relationship capital you have built. If you already have a trusting relationship with someone at work and you know, without a doubt, what you say will not be used against you, then sure – have the conversation. But let me tell you, those TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS ARE RARE AND FEW IN NUMBER.
Whatever you do, NEVER USE COMPANY PROPERTY (computers, phones, copiers, etc.) to send political information such as jokes, invitations to political functions, party platforms, or anything to do with the candidates. In some environments, this could cost you your job.
While I often say personal life and business life begin to mesh the longer you are in business, and especially as you grow in the organization, this is one time I am telling you to keep them separate.
The closer it gets to election day, the more you must BE PREPARED FOR YOUR EMOTIONAL BUTTONS TO BE PUSHED, SOMETIMES BY ACCIDENT AND OTHER TIMES ON PURPOSE. You must be in control of you. Stay alert. Know when to walk away. If you cannot walk away, listen with a poker face.
If asked a direct question, remain calm, thoughtful, and smart about your answer, taking care to not offend. In a very few words, say why you are for your candidate, avoiding any mention of the candidate you do not support. If someone comes to you with a lot of negative talk about the candidate you support, smile and simply say you do not agree. DO NOT BITE THE HOOK!
- At work, keep your mouth shut about your politics.
- Smile and walk away from heated political debates with co-workers.
- The best way to work off all that energy about your candidate is to volunteer and work for that candidate on your own time.
- Take your passion to the polls and vote!