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What about politics in the office?

Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
I am against it, I think in the office you should work, not proselytize.

The following thing happens. The CEO comes in. At lunch break. There is a political issue in the news. He starts to talk about it himself. Normally the rest of the staff avoids these topics. He give such a black and white opinion, that if you would argue with him, you would think you will lose your job or something. Okay I am exaggerating here, but nevertheless, he talks like people who disagree with him are either dumb or anti social. I myself did not argue with him today, since I only have a temporary contract. But think I was not the only one who had enough of it. Three people (!) walked out of the cantina before the break was finished. We have a group of about a dozen sitting there.

I think you should be more neutral if you discuss things like that, preferable as manager, dont touch these subjects. Do you agree, or am I making too much fuss about nothing?
Tim Cooke
Bartender

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 1231
    
  67

Where there are people, there will be politics and opinions. That's just human nature.

While your CEO is perfectly entitled to have an opinion, and he may choose to announce it to the break room, you are not obliged to agree with him or engage in a discussion about it with him.

He may be just as outraged that you have no opinion on the matter as you are that he has such a strong opinion.


Tim Driven Development
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
If he would demand people to speak out on politics, I am gone really. Having such a strong opinion is one thing, obliging your workers to talk about it? I am not living in the DDR. (Deutsche Demokratische Republiek, or communist East Germany.)
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42913
    
  68
"demand people to speak out on politics"? I think you are overreacting to a single incident. I suspect that he would find himself lunching alone a lot if he broached subjects people didn't feel like talking about more regularly.
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
No, it is not a single incident. And it is about politics, but it is also about the good people against the bad people. It is lifted index finger, it is the 'Gutmenschen' stuff, if you understand that word. And it is not the reason to leave, but it is another drop in a bucket that is getting full. I am very serious, this is one of the aspect of my job I do not like.
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42913
    
  68
Hm, there seems to be more to the subject than you let on at first. As to the subject at hand, if it happens repeatedly, the last sentence of my previous post applies.
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
I don't want to make a fuzz and be a whiner, but it certainly does happen frequently. Like every week one or two times, while nobody else talks about the issue, many try to jump to another subject. Also it is a statement like: "That politician is an ***hole!!" Literally. Not like: "I do not agree with that person, what is your opinion?". Now if the person who decides whether your contract is renewed, the person who pays your salary says that, would you try to argue with him? I did it once, had a big row with him, and now I gave up, I did not argue anymore. I think of telling it to him when I resign here, but it probably has no use anyway, and it would give me a bad reference.
J. Kevin Robbins
Bartender

Joined: Dec 16, 2010
Posts: 1066
    
  13

It sounds to me like very unprofessional behavior for a senior executive. I certainly would not attempt to engage in such a discussion with someone above me on the reporting structure. That's what we used to call a CLM, a Career Limiting Move. The best advice I can offer is "Walk Away". I see nothing to be gained by engaging him and much potential for loss.


"The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do." -- Ted Nelson
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
Thank you. That is my idea too, especially now since the job market is not good. If you say 'walk away', there is another small problem though. It is a very small company, one part hardware production, the other part supporting software. The breaks are fixed-time, and all-together. If you walk away or stay away, it gets noticed. I will just keep my head down. Also it is not really the biggest problem I have now, but just wanted to hear other peoples opinion on it. Thanks for the input. :-)
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31057
    
232

Jan de Boer wrote: If you walk away or stay away, it gets noticed.

Are you allowed to go outside and take a walk?


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Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Jan de Boer wrote: If you walk away or stay away, it gets noticed.

Are you allowed to go outside and take a walk?


Officially yes, but it gets noticed. I am quite sure the manager would see it as not trying to integrate in the group. So, yes maybe, I will just do that a few times but not every pause. Anyway, I was really annoyed, but since I cannot do anything against it, I just let it come over me, and ignore it. It is not my major problem at the moment. Should focus on getting my knowledge up to date, and not be distracted by such bagatelles.
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31057
    
232

You can't do it for every break, but you could make a routine of doing it once a day. (The same time every day.) It also gives you a talking point that isn't politics. You get to talk about how you are exercising and how much you enjoyed your walk.
 
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