Political Fix

Office Politics & You


On paper my office mate (let’s call her S) and I have nothing in common.  I am a late 20s black woman who was born and raised in a giant city.  She’s an early 50s white woman who grew up on a dairy farm.  And yet we can talk about (almost) everything together and generally agree.   We manage to keep the office radio on the easy listening channel with no problems!  We even have similar filing systems.

Everything was great until about September 2008 when the political debates started to get verrrrry heated.  I was making a cup of tea when S walked into the office and I noticed a giant “Maverick” button on her purse (insert side eye).  It had been obvious through some prior conversations that S was of the Republican persuasion, but we had never really had any issues with blatant party representin’ until now.  And I couldn’t even say it was an actual problem because she didn’t say anything.  I would just have to look at her giant Sarah Palin button for a few weeks.

At least that’s what I assumed.  The closer we got to Election Day, the more objective S got to the Democratic candidate.  And then I realized why I was getting so uncomfortable.  It wasn’t because S was bashing who would end up to be our first Black president.   It wasn’t because there was becoming a great divide in the office of who would move to Canada if the other side won.  It was because S automatically assumed I felt the same way she did about our nation’s leadership.

Woah.

I had to stop and reevaluate myself.  Did I all of a sudden look Republican?  Just because I’m a Texan is that what people automatically assume?  What happened to not saying peep about who you were voting for?  What happened to stereotypes and thinking I’d just vote for someone because they were the same color as me?  Do I just lump all people into one political party because I think they are “smart enough” to vote the way I do?

Dave Chappelle has a skit about how white people would never talk about who they were voting for in any type of election.  “Dave I’m trying to tell you a story about fcuking my wife and you’re asking me personal questions!” (see: Killin’ Em Softly.  HILARIOUS).

I’m all for freedom of speech.  If you believe in something strong enough you generally feed the need to talk about it.  Or hell, put a bumper sticker on your car.  But for all things holy, please shut the fcuk up about it at work! Nobody wants to be stuck somewhere for 8 hours a day with something who after a while becomes just stupid to you, because when you don’t agree on political sides then eventually that’s all it becomes.  You versus them.  So what you share the same birthday month.  So what you both love the Beatles.  None of that matters when you look across from you and think “this dummy really wants Sarah Palin in White House, no wonder she can’t send an email with an attachment” or “they’re going to raise my taxes because this bleeding heart Liberal jackass can’t refill the coffee maker”.

Once I got the idea of what was going’s on office-wide, I took off Wednesday, November 5, 2008. My boss didn’t care because it was just a personal day, but I think it was a good call on my part.  I was either going to be sulking at home complaining with my friends, or celebrating at the Breakfast Klub with tons of people I didn’t know.  Either way, I wasn’t going to be sitting in that office.

Do you think that politics should be discussed in a work environment?  Have you noticed any political discomfort in your office? Do you automatically assume people are “smart enough” to vote the way you do? Do you have a personal day saved for November 7. 2012?  

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10 thoughts on “Office Politics & You

  1. I was always told to never talk religion or politics at the office. It never goes well. I had a manager of mine send me an email with a photoshopped Obama shinning Palin’s shoes and thought it was funny. really?

  2. I think politics at the office should be discussed as often as I discuss what I just did to the bathroom after my Indian inspired lunch: NEVER. I’ve actually had the “pleasure” of someone assuming that I was a Republican (how that happened, I’ll NEEEEEVER know) and getting into a totally unprofessional debate about pro-choice vs pro-life. o_0

    I think it’s best to stfu about any topic (at the office, and in my case, some family functions…lol) that can lead people to hating your guts, calling you racist and/or a dumf*ck. Let’s just all talk about why the d*mn copier can’t get fixed and leave the economy out of it. Ya know?

  3. I’ll always cherish those breakfast klub memories. =)

    I don’t think politics should be discussed, but sometimes it is interesting to hear just how dumb someone is. Or who is blindly listening to whatever their chosen form of media presents as truth. The day after the day after the election (because clearly I skipped work too), I was talking to my supervisor about it (mid 20s biracial Christian girl), and she said, proudly and boldly, “I can’t believe this country actually elected a president that’s Muslim!”

    Um….

  4. As a general rule, I don’t, cause I can get into a real rant on the right subject. I stick to the middle, but usually I can tell well people stand and steer clear. It is a very personal thing, and I know I can say things (that I really believe) that can and will and have pissed off Christians, Mulsims, Repubs and Democrats, pro lifers and pro-choicers.. etc and so forth.. so, yea, it’s best I shut up and get to attaching things to the email, and brewing the coffee just right.

  5. I think I’m able to talk politics, when I was in an office, because I’m not a fan of authority. You take race out of it and Obama is still a politician at the end of the day. You take IQ out of it and Sarah Palin is still an idiot making Americans wish they never gave women the right to vote.

    No matter if you work in an oil field or a politicians office you should never talk politics, religion or bowel movements. Even the smartest people in the world sound like professional idiots on either of the aforementioned subjects.

  6. You know, I have to tell you, I really enjoy this blog and the insight from everyone who participates. I find it to be refreshing and very informative. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, I felt it was about time I posted, Ive spent most of my time here just lurking and reading, but today for some reason I just felt compelled to say this.

  7. Hmmm. Hard call. I work in the legislative branch of state government for a non-partisan agency responsoble for developing the state budget. While we’re non-partisan and work for both GOPers and Dems, politics is a reality. We discuss them and our environment is one of frankness and reality. You develop a respect for folks on both sides of the aisle who are in it for the right reasons and a disdain for those who aren’t. One of the best friends I’ve gained through my work is a white Republican from Alabama. We’re the same age with different upbringings, but literally agree on more issues than we disagree. He makes me a smarter voter and I do the same for him. It’s a rare example where keeping it real goes right.

    • it’s one thing when a person has done their research and can actually explain with real words why they feel a certain way. but when i have to bite my tongue to explain why people are protesting rick perry using government money to pray for rain, i doubt your political prowess.

  8. I discuss politics with a very few folk on the job. One of my best friends I’ve met on the job is a Republican and he still likes Pres. Bush/Reagon and ’em(He doesn’t like Palin and Perry). As a matter of fact, we both met Obama in 2006 during a sit-down lunch after a political event that we both attended during a lunch break. We’ve been working together on the same job project since 2004. When we discuss politics we are to the point and able to back everything up with facts. We still forward emails to each other about the other side, and we both take the time to read it and discuss afterwords without it getting heated. The reality is that we don’t really assume stuff about the other side. We both understand each other stance on issues, and ultimately we both agree with always putting the country first. We are both about the same age and plan to go golfing this Thursday (if the weather is nice).

    That said, I would never discuss politics with someone much older than I am on the job; I usually keep it just professional with them. And most of the very few black folk I work with, we all see eye-to-eye when it comes to politics and am able to discuss (regardless of age).

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