Ask the Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email [email protected]
I have been at the same restaurant industry job for five years. I always liked my job. That is, until one of my coworkers became completely obsessed with Donald Trump.
He is always sending us articles in the group text and berating people who try to disagree with him. I disagree with Trump’s views and get emotional when this stuff comes up. But he becomes even more of a bully if you try to say something. I have asked him (nicely) to stop, but he doesn’t listen.
Now I am dreading work and starting to lash out more.
What can I do?
Tired Of Politics At Work
You are correct in your feeling that the workplace should be a politics-free zone.
“The general guideline for talking politics in the office? Don’t do it,” Barbara Pachter, a career expert and author of The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success, told Business Insider.
Talking about politics at work is a don’t because it can make people uncomfortable (as you are) and change their perception of you.
According to Pachter, you have a few safe options for staying sane.
The first is to politely excuse yourself when politics come up in the office. Simply say, “sorry I’ve got to go!” and walk away.
You can also try changing the subject in a non-confrontational way. Bring it back to work by saying something like “Did you see the memo our boss sent around?” or “What’s the plan for the next happy hour?”
If those methods don’t work, you can try lightly saying “Don’t go there; I’m done talking about this!” in a light, joking tone and walking away.
If the softer approaches fail, you can have a more serious conversation with your coworker. Tell him you’re uncomfortable discussing politics in the office and would rather focus on your job.
And as a last resort, you could try going to your manager and suggesting a policy on discussing politics in the office.
Almost everyone feels uncomfortable discussing politics at work. You shouldn’t have to deal with it.
Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to [email protected] for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.