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.
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.