Monday, July 21, 2008

Politics and Courtesy

Writing in Fortune, Nadira A. Hira on - not office politics - but politics in the office. An excerpt:

Now, I have to admit that when I brought this outrage up with my sister, expecting equal amounts of ire, her response surprised me. Social justice-minded 23-year-old who she is, she went in six seconds from, “That’s an, um, conservative tack for you take,” to, “Why isn’t it okay to say, ‘anyone who thinks coastal oil drilling is a good idea is an idiot’ at work?!”

Maybe she’s right to feel that, in the face of problems we have today, your comfort or mine shouldn’t be her primary concern. But here’s the trouble: When you take that fight to a coworker, you’re assuming that they agree with you, and if they don’t, you’re forcing them to pretend they do, or admit they don’t, opening the door to a potentially volatile situation.

[Execupundit note: I work with a pretty politically diverse bunch. Great people. Very bright. We occasionally argue about politics but have managed to soften the remarks before duels are scheduled. And no one has ever sent emails around presuming that everyone agrees with a particular candidate. Perhaps we've been saved by an office culture that stresses courtesy.]

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