Episode 48: Navigating Politics at Work


October 27th, 2020

14 mins 42 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

The US election is heating up, and Liz and Kat want to help you navigate politics, voting, and all related topics at work.

First of all, know your company’s rules around voting and if you have time off to vote. Make a plan to vote! And do it within your employer’s rules.

Know that social media is public, and if you are choosing to be political on social media, our advice is to be as minimalist as your integrity allows and you feel that the situation calls far. Being aware of what you’re putting out there and that your words can get back to your co-workers. If your opinions will make someone uncomfortable around you, it can affect your career.

Our goal for discourse at work on all topics is to allow people to be who they are, to not shame anyone, and to feel comfortable participating as you choose to in company events, like company representation at parades and protests. And at the same time not to shame someone for not participating in social activism.

If politics come up at work, you should come from a place of inquiry, understanding and conversation -- rather than a place of defensiveness. Try something like this: “I haven’t heard great things about that candidate; can you tell me why you like them?”.

As far as your workspace environment, try to keep it neutral at work. And try not to check the news at work, especially if it's something that's likely to rile you up or make you anxious or distracted or otherwise nutty.

To create a postitive impact, rather than just adding ot the flames of political fighting, try to focus on how alike we are, and what we have in common -- vs zooming in our differences.

People who pick fights unnecessarily yat work can be assholes. Our asshole episode- see RJT Episode 6 for more tips on how to work with assholes, but don’t be one!

Our basic rules around politics at work:

  • Ask open questions about political and policy topics
  • Stay away from the biggies like abortion and same sex marriage if that topic is going to make someone uncomfortable
  • Walk away or change the topic if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Don't poke the bear. Or ask someone "why do you support xYZ?"
  • Be honest, but answer with tact and facts. Try "Education is my hot button belief, and I believe that candidate XYZ will do more to support modernizing education than the other candidates, so they have my vote." instead of "Only idiots will vote for candidate ABC, "
  • Don't try to win a debate... you're most likely not going to change someone's mind in either Slack or the break room at work.

If you're in the US, make sure you have a plan to vote!