6

As I wrote in the title, my boss brings up politics a lot in the workplace. I won't bring up my individual politics, but let's just say we differ significantly. Frequently he'll mention politics that he thinks will help his business. Sometimes this will be in group meetings, but it also happens when it's only me talking to him. To avoid an argument (and to avoid losing my job) I just nod my head and try to appease him until I can leave.

Recently, he began talking bad about a candidate and their policies that I strongly support. Soon I will even be putting a bumper sticker on my car in support of this candidate, which my boss will likely see. Forgetting about the bumper sticker for a moment, it seems to be getting harder to avoid political conversations. He seems to think everyone has the same views as him. I'm worried about what will happen if he realizes that I'm actually completely opposite of him on the political spectrum. Even if he doesn't see the sticker, it's likely he'll see me at some point outside of work wearing a political shirt or campaigning for my chosen candidate.

What can I do to keep work and politics separated?

  • Frequently he'll mention politics that he thinks will help his business. - Are the politics he brings up actually business related? For example, are they about tariffs or taxes that would actually impact the company's revenue? Or are they unrelated things where he'll just throw in, "that'll help the business" at the end? – BSMP Feb 22 at 21:40
  • @BSMP It goes both ways. – Jorge Feb 22 at 21:44
  • 4
    Hello and welcome to Workplace.SE! I took the liberty of removing your mention of "left"/"right" - I think the question stands well without it and you may get better answers if the people answering don't immediately identify you as "one of them" or "one of us". If this was incorrect, please edit your question and rollback the change. – Dan Pichelman Feb 22 at 21:57
  • 1
  • Jorge, to give you an excellent tip to actually solve the problem, notice my "Hot Tip" in my superb answer already linked. Man, that was a good answer. It will solve all your problems. – Fattie Feb 23 at 16:47
5

Never discuss politics or religion at work.

I repeat:

Never discuss politics or religion at work.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is openly giving their views and you disagree don't get dragged into it as it probably won't end well (especially if the person is your boss).

You need to realise some people absolutely cherish these thoughts and values and to openly disagree in the workplace will cause animosity, resentment, hostility etc. Humans are generally just not mature enough to respect each others beliefs.

  • What tactics should the OP use to avoid discussing politics at work? – Dave Gremlin Feb 25 at 11:51
  • @DaveGremlin really depends on OP's personality and the workplace dynamics. The answer could be widely varied from pretending to have to run off to finish an important and urgent task to cracking a joke and changing the subject or simply smile, nod, don't say much and move on. – solarflare Feb 25 at 22:05
1

When you choose to support a side publicly, you are putting your views out there for the world to see, coworkers included. If you'd prefer them not know about your views, don't make your views publicly known.

The way I see it, you have two good options.

1) Keep working, avoid political talk as much as possible. Just nod and agree when it occurs. Don't make your views publicly known, and avoid the problem altogether.

or if that option doesn't satisfy you..

2) Make your views publicly known, and see how it all plays out. Obviously you shouldn't vocalize your political opinions in the workplace, but your boss should be able to ignore your political views if only displayed on a bumper sticker. If he can't handle that professionally, then find a new job. But I think giving your boss the benefit of the doubt can't hurt.

And of course there's the third option:

3) Find a new job and hope you don't run into the same problem. I'd recommend against doing this preemptively since your boss might handle the situation professionally, whereas a new boss will give you new problems.

0

You're in a bad spot Jorge. It's pretty much inevitable that your boss will eventually figure out you're not on his side, even if you managed to keep the bumper sticker off your car (which I would advise, for the moment). He's already abusing his boss power by subjecting you to his views, perhaps even because he's noticed your lack of response, so he's not any sort of nice or fair person. I have bad news for you - in the long term, he won't be satisfied with more evasion, he'll get more and more strident, setting aside the possibility of more direct harassment.

Can you at least look around and see whether you can get another job, or perhaps transfer out from under him if your company is large enough? Just spiff up the resume and put out feelers, you might be pleasantly surprised.

I should add that a friend of mine spent the latter half of 2018 patting herself on the back for not being subjected to more long, screaming political rants from her boss. He was already out of control in February (and I freelanced there, so this is not a second-hand report), this would have gotten very ugly way before November and she would have been job-hunting in less than ideal circumstances.. She's now very, very happy, much better paid and appreciated.

  • It sounds like OP is asking for strategies for dealing with a personal disagreement with their boss. I don't think this answers that question. Responding "find a new job" to avoid conflict is both unrealistic and unreasonable, especially given that conflict has not actually occurred, and transferring offers no guarantee of solving the problem anyway. – MindS1 Feb 23 at 4:09
  • While all admirable, this does not answer the question. – Fattie Feb 23 at 16:46
0

While discussing politics to such an extent isn’t ideal has he actually belittled any other colleagues yet because of it? People are vocal about things that they are interested, it sounds like you also are interested in politics. While you might find yourselves across the aisle from each other in terms of views you might actually find that he is willing to engage in good natured discussion about it. Just because his appraisal of a candidate you support is negative does not mean he will have that same appraisal as you.

Without knowing more about the character of your boss I err on the side of optimism, ultimately you know how he deals with subordinates.

When (as I think it’s a certainty) that he finds out you support that candidate don’t become defensive. Simply allow him to broach the subject and determine how this might affect your working relationship. If he is professional enough to maintain your working relationship then that is all you can ask for in an employment scenario. If you want to discuss political ideas with him more you could even invite him for a social catchup outside of work and set the tone of “no politics in work” that way.

I think it is way too early to be considering jumping ship from your company because of this. It feels like you are anticipating the worst before it has happened. Sometimes that anticipation will be the direct influencer of the outcome you don’t want.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.