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10 Tips On Discussing Politics and Remaining Civil (and Employed?)

By Terry | 1st amendment

Politics in the Office

A survey on hiring and discrimination conducted by Air Tasker, an online temp hiring service, demonstrated bias in hiring based on political and identity politics issues.

Air Tasker conducted a survey of 1,009 people – 204 hiring managers and 805 employees to “what’s really going on inside offices across the country regarding discrimination.”

What their survey revealed about what pro-Trumper’s in the workplace face was:

  • 28%, joking about them.
  • 23%, overly critical of them.
  • 21%, being dismissive of them.
  • 11% facing name calling.

Even more telling however was that 65% of hiring managers want to know a job candidates position on race.

  • 29% will reject a candidate if their position isn’t in lin with the manager’s.
  • 20% (1 in 5) said they would reject a job candidate who backs the President.

It used to be that skills were the most important hiring criterion. Not the only factor these days however.

Apparently in today’s age of “identity politics”, you have to gauge the hiring person’s political leanings as well during the interview.

Social Media- Especially Facebook

Clean up that Facebook feed too.

  • More than 2/3ds of hiring managers said they combed a potential hire’s social media before making a final decision.
  • Facebook was consulted 91% of the time. Instagram 2nd at 62%. Twitter and LinkedIn 56% and 55% respectively.
  • Layoffs too are impacted as well according to employees.

While the survey was not large, it is still telling enough to remind a potential new hire to watch their p’s and q’s both before and after getting hired.

10 Tips for Discussing Politics At Work or Socially

An article from the Spruce on workplace etiquette gives some pointers that may be useful in the case of politics. Not, only will it help to retain friends, it may also help you to retain your job.

Listed here are their suggestions. Look them over and use them in the workplace and with family as well:

  1. Know what you and others can handle. You may be able to handle a heavy-duty political debate, but better watch it with the left especially. Driven by emotions, they may be easily offended. So, don’t let the conversation go in that direction. There is no point in damaging an otherwise healthy relationship for the sake of a political conversation that will leave you feeling hurt or angry and maybe without a job.
  2. Listen. Better to listen if a politically charged topic comes up. Give everyone a chance to speak before you break into a long discussion. It’s difficult not to interrupt when you agree or disagree strongly with something that is said, but err on the side of caution as the saying goes.
  3. Watch Your Tone. If a debate comes up, keep your tone even. Don’t accuse someone of being anything negative (stupid, unenlightened, immoral, or anything that can start a heated argument).
  4. Avoid name-calling. The second someone calls another person in the group a derogatory name, the discussion is on dangerous ground. Even if attacked, don’t reciprocate. Better to point out what they are doing than engaging in ad hominem (against the person) tactics.
  5. Ask questions. If the person is not being clear or generalizing ask specific questions to clarify. Make sure you allow the person a chance to answer without interruption. You may be surprised and learn something or may win by default when they cannot back their assertions with facts. Keeps it civil too.
  6. Don’t take anything personally. Even if someone opposes your political beliefs, if they are a friend, it’s obvious they like you as a person. Don’t take it as an affronted just because someone disagrees with your political views.
  7. Don’t throw stones or resort to foul language. Don’t start mud slinging at someone who opposes your political views. That will only drive a wedge between you and them. You may never be able to repair the relationship in the future. And for heaven’s sake, keep the language clean. Not only will that trash up the discussion, it could get you fired or lose a potential friend as well.
  8. Do Your Homework. If you want to discuss an issue, better make sure you have done some research. Not only will you lose the argument if you misuse facts, you also lose credibility. Be careful who or what you quote. If you, “read it somewhere.” Know where you read it and who wrote it.
  9. Try to Find common ground. Don’t assume that because you follow an opposing political viewpoint that you disagree on all issues. Look for what you can agree on. You wouldn’t be friends otherwise.
  10. Give praise. When the other person makes a good point, even if you don’t agree with the general concept, give them credit by saying something like, “I can see your point,” or “Now that you put it that way, it makes sense.” This shows you are listening, and respect the other person’s opinions – even if you don’t agree.

This will help you to keep things civil which is sorely needed in today’s emotionally loaded political climate.

One thing to keep in mind as well is to know when to walk away from a discussion. Sometimes, it is better to just let it go rather than engage. Maybe later when the issue is less politically charged or maybe never.

Better to keep your mouth shut and keep your job than winning an argument but losing an income in the balance.

Hope these tips help. I need them too. I speak from some negative experience on this issue, so take them seriously and use them.