We’re in a weird space these days. The country is remarkably polarized when it comes to politics, and it’s said personal relationships have a lower chance of succeeding if the parties aren’t on the same political page. Yikes.
So how do you navigate this landscape in the workplace, especially if your views are in the minority at your firm?
This is such a thorny issue it’s hard to talk about. Some people will just go about their business, pay little or no attention and not participate in any conversations. Others will silently fume. Still others internalize their feelings. And then there are those who’ll state their opinions, no matter whether they’re politically correct in the particular environment.
The best tactic probably is to keep your opinions to yourself, but sometimes that’s impossible. The whole topic can leave you wondering whether it’s time to look for a new job. That may, in fact, be the best option in some circumstances.
We talk a lot about how firm culture has an impact on your work-life. Subjecting yourself to an environment that you find “toxic” because of your political viewpoint can be debilitating to your work performance and your emotional health. You’re the only one who can decide if it’s time to move on.
Say you do decide to actively pursue other options. How can you tell whether a new firm will be a better match? Here are a few hints on what to look for:
- If there is a TV in the reception area, what channel is it tuned to?
- Is the reading matter in the reception area slanted one way or the other?
- What screen savers do the people you’re interviewing with have on their screens?
- Personal photographs of particular candidates/elected officials in their offices?
- What is posted on their personal social media?
- Are they wearing political pins on their clothing?
- Do you have a gut feeling the firm is/isn’t a good fit?
None of these hints are foolproof, but these and other observations during an interview should give some guidance about the firm’s political leanings–and whether it will be a better fit than your current firm.