Election Night.

Once every four years all of a sudden everyone seems to care about politics. People that never pay attention to the topic suddenly become experts in the field and feel the need to publicize their opinion. But if you are not careful, this can cause a lot of trouble in your workplace.

It seems like the answer would be obvious right? Don’t discuss politics and do your best to keep up the professional persona that you worked hard to create. After all, you don’t want to say the wrong thing and offend someone in the office. But this is easier said than done, especially when your job is to report the outcomes of elections.

Working election night in the newsroom was a great learning experience for me. I got to witness how people would deal with political topics in a professional work setting and I was surprised.

 As the numbers started rolling in it was chaotic. Everyone was frantically hitting the refresh button on their web browsers, reporters standing by at elections parties with the tension in the air so thick you could cut it with a knife. Image

When the results were released everyone was amped up that it was nearly impossible to hold back a “wooohooo” and smile. Others weren’t so excited, lowering and shaking their heads. As the data entry continued people were focused, but on breaks between updates political discussions were everywhere, and many involved people who had strong beliefs.

After observing the interactions I realized that yes, there are topics that are probably better left undisclosed with colleagues but sometimes it’s hard to avoid. As an intern I definitely didn’t partake in any of the political banter because I think its better to err on the side of caution, but I realized that if I was working there it might be something I needed to prepare myself for.

Alexandria Naboulsi 

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8 Responses to Election Night.

  1. hailayn says:

    What an interesting position to be in. Like you said, I think it’s generally better to treat the work place like a first date: don’t discuss politics or religion…especially with the person who signs your paycheck. That being said, there are plenty of people who have no problem voicing their opinions and more power to them. Thanks for sharing your behind-the-scenes experience.

  2. Thanks for sharing this experience. I wouldn’t have thought about that tension if you hadn’t spoken to it. On a similar not, my office did an election themed pet photo competition and in thinking about how to promote it on social media, I really had to think about how to not show a bias to one side or the other. Thanks for sharing!

  3. katshannon says:

    Alexandria, I think that your opinion is very interesting. No matter where you were last night, the tensions were high and it definitely is hard to keep political opinions quiet in any situation during election season. I’m sure it was a great experience and an unbelievable thing to be a part of.

  4. How exciting that you were able to be a part of the elections like this, I’m sure you’ll never forget it. It’s definitely tempting sometimes, especially as a journalist, to spill your personal views on the stories you’re reporting because it opens up for closer work relationships and even creative brainstorming. Although, I agree that because we’re interns and are just peeking into this world it’s best to keep quiet. Good post!

  5. sarahbrown90 says:

    Sounds like this was a great experience for you to encounter while you’re still starting up your career. You’re pretty lucky to have been given this chance, because like you said it only happens once every four years. Although we all have our right to our political opinion, you are very right, politics is something that should not be discussed in the work place. It’s something that can get messy very quickly and topics like that are always best to stay clear of. It’s best to learn these things now though while we are young so we don’t make these mistakes once we land our dream jobs.

  6. eilíseward says:

    We had an office meeting and office mass email dedicated to this topic, and it wasn’t something I had thought much about before that happened. It’s sometimes so hard to keep your joy or disappointment under wraps, but as I also learned firsthand, it’s pretty necessary if you want a workplace to remain as calm and respectful as possible. Great post, sounds like we had a similar workplace experience this week!

  7. cmckee2 says:

    Sounds like an amazing opportunity for your professional development. Although I haven’t done any work directly related to the election, my job has required me to contact both Democratic and Republican state leaders, and one of my co-workers is married to a former state legislator! Needless to say, keeping a level head and avoiding hot button topics is definitely important. Fortunately, my job also allows me to keep focused and work on non-partisan issues. As you said, it’s extremely important to be aware of your co-worker’s attitudes, but not necessarily to adopt them.

  8. lizazevedo says:

    This is a fantastic topic to discuss. It must have been incredibly hard to keep you excitement or discontent to yourself while reporting on the election. I would have struggled with that intensely. I work in an office where everyone is very open about their political views because we all are a part of the same party. However, when politics was first brought up in the office I was uncertain whether to open my mouth and say anything or to remain silent. Like the comments above said, it is important to be respectful of your coworkers; therefore, I analyzed the office culture and over time realized that it was acceptable for me to share my sentiments when discussions were going on in the office.

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