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I recently started a new software development job after taking a 50% pay cut at my previous company due to Covid. I had interned at my current company back in college, but they were unable to match other offers so I ended up working elsewhere for a while. When I first interned here, I wasn't involved in any office group chats, and generally wasn't really aware of it.

As a full-time developer now, I've been added to a variety of group chats that are used for work--and also for political discussion. I will say that I differ from the vast majority of my coworkers politically (I'm moderately left-leaning, they're mostly American Libertarian or Republican)--which is fine. I don't have issues with people of other political stripes. My coworkers, however, do. More specifically, they are VERY vocal about how opposed they are to people of my political bent. Essentially, the group chats that I've been invited to are 60% discussion of how much they hate anyone different than them politically (often in very explicit terms), and 40% work, so I cannot leave the group chats or ignore them.

At my two previous companies, this was explicitly against company policy. This company, however, is very small, and given that many people in leadership and management positions apparently see no problem with this I cannot really bring this up with anyone. The 'HR' department consists of one individual--the CEO. I've tried pushing back a little bit without outing myself. Asking work questions in the middle of these conversations to try and derail them does little good, and actively pushing back usually earns responses along the lines of "Well [X political group] is un-American and trying to destroy this country."

Unfortunately, I feel like I'm essentially stuck here for at least a few years. I graduated college in 2018 and have had 3 jobs then. My first job I left due to poor management and repeated 80-115 hour work-weeks being expected. The position I took after that was far better, up until Covid hit. They were a travel-related company and as such were hit extremely hard. A 50% paycut would have left me unable to pay rent or cover expenses. Now, I feel that if I start looking for a new job it will look like I'm simply job hopping, as I was at my second job for 6 months and have hardly been here for 2 months.

Should I just buckle down and deal with this for a 2-3 years and then begin looking for a new position? Bring this up with my manager (despite the fact that he is one of the individuals constantly deriding my politics as "F****** awful", "un-American", and talking about how angry he gets at people with my beliefs)?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Mister Positive Aug 10 at 12:25
  • Political persuasion is not a protected job class. Stick with it while looking for a tech company where the management tilts to the right. – David Hammen Aug 13 at 17:22
  • @DavidHammen It's not a protected class, but there are things like "creating a hostile work environment" and "constructive dismissal". – gnasher729 Aug 16 at 20:50
  • You probably want to remove all the specific details from the question and just ask about the principle of the matter, i.e. knowing which particular political leanings you and your coworkers have is probably not relevant to the answer, what matters is that you have different leanings, that these are being discussed in work channels and that it seems like this situation is endorsed by management. – Cronax Aug 18 at 12:45
  • Is this work-from-home or in person? – Michael McFarlane Aug 20 at 20:40
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Sorry, that's a tough spot. Long term, it's a losing proposition. There is a huge cultural disconnect between you and your employer and your employer is behaving very unprofessionally in the first place.

Best you can do is to hunker down, do your job, stay out of any political discussion and keep looking at full throttle. Deal with the job hopping question when it comes up. Make sure you have a decent story and Covid actually makes it easier to sell. Some companies may care, but other's may be ok with it and you really have nothing to loose at this point.

One lesson to consider: You signed with an employer that you were utterly incompatible with. Make sure that doesn't happen again: make sure you covers this in the interview question that you ask and the research that you do.

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    Agreed it's always a good idea to try to discover as much about the culture as you can in an interview, but to be fair the OP probably did not have much of a selection of jobs, and even if the OP asked if politics were part of daily conversation I'm sure the answer would have been No. – mcknz Aug 8 at 21:22
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    "lLong term, it's a loosing proposition" ??? That grammatical mistake is fingernails on the chalkboard to me. That StackExchange does not allow me to even suggest a one character change is a losing proposition to me. Let the extra "o" in loosing go loose. The correct idiom is losing proposition. – David Hammen Aug 13 at 16:39
  • @DavidHammen: fixed. – Hilmar Aug 14 at 11:09
  • @Hilmar - Thanks. I retracted my downvote. I know that my downvote was for a petty reason, but "loosing" just grates on me. – David Hammen Aug 14 at 11:56
  • That said, talking politics during an interview is a good way to not get the job. It's also a good way to continue unemployment benefits; I strongly suspect that some of the candidates I have interviewed intentionally tanked the interview process. In addition to interviews, my employer requires candidates to give a presentation on a subject of their choice. One candidate went into a rant in the Q&A after the presentation on why females are (a) terrible engineers, and (b) even if they are, they should not be in the workplace, as their right place is getting pregnant and raising kids. – David Hammen Aug 14 at 12:06
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  1. Do not engage politics in the chat. You will not gain, and you will lose productivity to it.

  2. Demonstrate you are a nice, reliable person for a while— months at least.

  3. When you get back into the workplace, if you do, and after you've built up a rapport with them, engage your coworkers in conversation 1:1. Be respectful and courteous. Don't outright put down their views. Listen mostly and ask questions designed to provoke their skeptical thought processes eventually. Example lines might be: "I think I see where you're coming from, but I think those people are well meaning as well. Have you ever talked to them?"; "Do you think 1/3 of the country wants to destroy it?"; "That's me you're talking about. I'm not so bad."

Eventually, if you want to stay at this company, it's better to politely and firmly stand up for yourself rather than bear it miserably. But, if you want to quit, then just do it.

Your manager is another matter. You have to be forthright with your manager, but not demanding. I would say, "I'm moderately liberal. Will you have a problem with me working here? You've expressed that I'm awful and unamerican. I assure you I'm not." Note that this speaks to your value personally, and is not making demands that people be silenced. The other employees are likely following your manager's lead, and if s/he relents, they might tone down too.

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  1. Saying that these group chats about politics and other issues make this a toxic work place is a bit of a stretch. Many things can contribute to making a work place toxic, and I'd personally put this kind of thing pretty low on that list. People are entitled to their own opinions and views. Just because they're the opposite of yours doesn't make them toxic. Unless they're being outwardly and vocally xenophobic, racist, sexist, etc., etc. you'd have a hard time making a case for this being a toxic environment.

  2. While it may be challenging to do, my advice to you is to either stay out of these particular chat channels or ignore them. You have nothing to gain by engaging in these chats and nothing to lose by disengaging from them.

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    I’m not sure if you understand the problem...if the OP outs themselves, the CEO themselves has openingly considered them ‘un-American and trying to destroy the country’...if you can’t predict that there will work place bullying when the OP ‘outs themselves’ then you surely can’t suggest this work environment isn’t toxic, or is simply one step away. – morbo Aug 8 at 15:56
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    1. Don't engage in these conversations. 2. Keep your opinions to yourself. 3. Ignore it. None of this is difficult. The OP put himself in this position by making his political views known. Stop doing that and people will stop directing attention to him. – joeqwerty Aug 8 at 17:23
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    To assume that they being quiet won’t open them up to bullying eventually is naive...eventually someone is going to wonder why the OP never says anything, dodges questions or only talks about work and doesn’t engage with the rest...for them, their open speaking is a form of bonding and the op isn’t....and they will eventually either straight up ask them, or start a witch hunt. No answer is still an answer to those looking for one. – morbo Aug 8 at 17:28
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    How am I blaming the victim? I didn't say that any of this is his fault. – joeqwerty Aug 9 at 16:13
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    You literally said, "The OP put himself in this position by making his political views known.". First of all - they explicitely stated that they didn't, but the other parties did and second of all - this is the victim blaming part. – Koenigsberg Aug 9 at 22:54

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