It’s one of the worst things you can talk about at work, or during a job interview: Politics!
Because, just like religion and sports, it’s a topic most people are passionate about. And no amount of discussion will change someone’s mind, ever.
And even if it starts out friendly, it can easily turn into a fight. And cost you friends, a promotion, or even a job offer, like one woman we read about. During her final interview, an executive came in and began blasting the candidate she supported. She was shocked he even knew her political views, until she realized her résumé showed she’d done fundraising for him.
Despite the dangers, a recent survey found that over 1 in 3 people openly discuss politics at work. And during presidential elections, politics tops the list of topics in break rooms, and on Facebook and Twitter. So, your coworkers are bound to find out what you think. And 25 percent of those who talk politics say they’ve gotten into a heated discussion with a coworker or boss. And 10 percent admitted they viewed a coworker differently after they learned the person’s political views.
So, what should you do if politics come up? Leave your emotions out of the equation, and try to be objective, and respect your coworker’s opinion. For example, instead of saying, “I disagree,” or “You’re way off base.” Try something noncommittal like, “That’s interesting.” Then either change the subject, or walk away.
And check your employee handbook. A lot of them outright ban discussions of politics, religion and other hot-button topics, because they don’t want employees to feel uncomfortable, or harassed, if their views don’t line up with everyone else’s.