Could you do a post about politics at the office? I am a moderate liberal, and my approach has always been to avoid discussing politics at work at all, except when necessary to serve the needs of a client (i.e., analyzing a judge’s leanings or referring a client to a PR/lobbying specialist). I now find myself in a small-ish firm (about 35 attorneys) in a conservative, evangelical region, and political conversations are very common in my office. Some of the partners with offices near mine are constantly making derisive comments about president Obama and his policies, the liberal agenda, the liberal media, etc. Sometimes the critiques venture into gender issues. I find many of the things they say to be pretty offensive. I try to avoid participating in the conversations as much as possible so they don’t ask me what I think, but I can’t help overhearing them. Do you have any advice on how to handle this situation, short of (or until) leaving the firm?
Yeouch. We’ve talked about election politics at the office many years ago, as well as pressure from coworkers to give to charities at the office (which sometimes veers into the political realm), but we haven’t talked about either in a really long time. (We’ve also talked about how to handle it when your coworkers are sexist pigs.)
I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but in this particular situation, this sounds like a Fit Issue. A big time, capital letters, serious fit issue. It sounds like you don’t agree with or respect their opinions regarding politics or religion, and you feel like your opinions wouldn’t be respected either. Not only is it unpleasant and awkward at work, but honestly I think your career prospects are also limited, because Fit is a major reason why people get promoted (or don’t). So: for you, it’s time to move on. [Read more…]