Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

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Expand view Topic review: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Desert Fox » Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:50 pm

Nebby wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:55 pm
OP move to dc and you'll not have to worry. Except for the occasional midwestern patent lawyer and employees at conservative organizations, almost everyone here is liberal
Conservahero DC people just have a secret code to communicate with each other.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by lolwat » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:05 pm

Well, there are obviously those extremes. I don't think that's what people are generally talking about though because it's so obvious. In this environment, identifying as a conservative/republican can get some serious knee-jerk reactions even if you don't support Donald Trump. And there are enough intra-party disagreements among liberals/democrats that you could get into uncomfortable discussions there as well.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by ymmv » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:27 pm

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by SmittyWerben » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:40 am

ymmv wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:00 pm
Develop such a deeply understated layer of irony in your speech patterns that no one can ever tell if you're expressing a sincere belief in the first place.
TITCR

No really though, uniform use of light irony has saved my butt so many times

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by -__________________- » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:26 pm

walking on eggshells sounds really satisfying tbh. nice and crunchy

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Williford » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:08 am

Nebby wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:55 pm
OP move to dc and you'll not have to worry. Except for the occasional midwestern patent lawyer and employees at conservative organizations, almost everyone here is liberal
Liberal if all good. I'm liberal too. But progressives can be dodgy. I feel like you have to walk on eggshells around progressives in the workplace.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by BlendedUnicorn » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:16 pm

Guest wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm
ymmv wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:26 pm
More seriously, just about anything you can work on in a legal setting is laden with political meaning, and my experience is lawyers talking pretty freely about this stuff during downtime. On a case you usually have a pretty clear goal as a client advocate, and metacommentary might be irrelevant, but I’ve never known attorneys of any stripes to shy away from water cooler opinion sharing. Obviously with bosses it’s a tighter judgment call than with coworkers. I’m not like a font of unsolicited opinions in those moments; if someone with supervisor power over me expresses garbage beliefs I’m likely just to express mild discomfort through nonverbal cues and try to change the subject. If they keep pushing or are actively trying to get me to sanction their statements, I’ll disagree briefly and again keep trying to move on. If they want to push something incendiary into argument territory, that’s their call. How far I’m willing to go in responding depends what the argument’s over.

Like my reaction is going to be extremely different between someone with authority expressing disagreement over, idk, executive/congressional separation of powers vs. them expressing hateful options of trans people. Everyone picks their battles in life. Gotta decide for yourself what you care about enough to risk a little workplace discomfort displaced back on someone other than yourself. And take into consideration who else at your workplace is affected by your silence, in the case of subjects like bigotry.
Prior Guest OP here. At my firm, simply supporting the current president would be correctly seen as hating trans people or and hating black people. I honestly think this is the norm in major big law firms in my tier one city. The only acceptable conservative views are “pre-Trump” libertarian conservative views, like supporting tax cuts, and even those are pushing it. Anything remotely traditionalist or nationalist is correctly seen as bigotry.

My advice to people is to never engage in political discussion, no matter what side you’re on, at least not until the current climate cools down. Other than the very senior partners you don’t know what people actually think. Most biglawyers are risk adverse yes men and may nod their head even if they disagree deep down. If you are obnoxiously liberal, you may be annoying people who are just going with the flow and don’t want to say anything in public.
decent draft, a couple small points in red.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Nebby » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:55 pm

OP move to dc and you'll not have to worry. Except for the occasional midwestern patent lawyer and employees at conservative organizations, almost everyone here is liberal

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Nebby » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:54 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:50 am
you can be a republican and not support trump.
not that such a moniker is much more redeeming 8|

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Desert Fox » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:29 pm

I always just parrot back whatever the person talking about politics says without really saying much definitively.

Half my firm thinks I'm lib and half conservahero.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Jubo » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:53 pm

lolwat wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:36 pm
Jubo wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:33 pm
I mean ugh why can't I just advocate for simple eugenics and mandatory euthanization for all men under 5'10'' without being called ugly names and shunned by my peers ugh.

How about responding to my ARGUMENT with RATIONAL RESPONSES instead of calling me a "crazy person" or "bigot"?!?!?!!!?
There's a lot of gray area in the middle and a lot you can talk about without getting in trouble, but I think there are just some things you can't believe in--or not believe in--and not be labeled some type of something bad by one side or another. It's not even about arguments or "debate me" or anything like that.
I'm just making fun of Trump supporters who whine about being persecuted. Of course there's a lot of mileage between Trump Supporter and liberal, and it's okay to have opinions about executive overreach in a vacuum (but not okay to only complain about executive overreach re: gay marriage and not executive overreach re: build the wall).

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by lolwat » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:36 pm

Jubo wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:33 pm
I mean ugh why can't I just advocate for simple eugenics and mandatory euthanization for all men under 5'10'' without being called ugly names and shunned by my peers ugh.

How about responding to my ARGUMENT with RATIONAL RESPONSES instead of calling me a "crazy person" or "bigot"?!?!?!!!?
There's a lot of gray area in the middle and a lot you can talk about without getting in trouble, but I think there are just some things you can't believe in--or not believe in--and not be labeled some type of something bad by one side or another. It's not even about arguments or "debate me" or anything like that.
The bigger issue is feeling like you have nothing interesting to talk about other than politics. Idk if you’re giving yourself enough credit but there have to be some other things, even seemingly dull things, to talk about at work other than politics.

Like I’ve always been the go to guy at work to talk about fast food with. It’s not an exciting thing to some people and it can be divisive but usually in a more good natured way than politics.
This is certainly true, but sometimes peoples' interests just diverge too much. 95% of my conversations with people here are about ongoing cases or food. There are also a few people here I can talk about video games and such with. In general though with people that I don't have a ton in common with (often due to interests and generational gaps) politics are like low-hanging fruit for conversation even though it's so dangerous, just because every other day there's something relatively newsworthy going on there.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by jeff chiles » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:47 pm

The bigger issue is feeling like you have nothing interesting to talk about other than politics. Idk if you’re giving yourself enough credit but there have to be some other things, even seemingly dull things, to talk about at work other than politics.

Like I’ve always been the go to guy at work to talk about fast food with. It’s not an exciting thing to some people and it can be divisive but usually in a more good natured way than politics.

And you can always just do work and go home and not talk a lot but that’s kind of lame especially if you have social coworkers.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by pancakes3 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:45 pm

FedSoc. Draw your own conclusions.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Jubo » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:33 pm

I mean ugh why can't I just advocate for simple eugenics and mandatory euthanization for all men under 5'10'' without being called ugly names and shunned by my peers ugh.

How about responding to my ARGUMENT with RATIONAL RESPONSES instead of calling me a "crazy person" or "bigot"?!?!?!!!?

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by lolwat » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:20 pm

Nony wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:18 pm
pancakes3 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:50 am
you can be a republican and not support trump.
Absolutely. One of my politics-chat colleagues is exactly that.
I think most of the republicans I talk to regularly are also that.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Nony » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:18 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:50 am
you can be a republican and not support trump.
Absolutely. One of my politics-chat colleagues is exactly that.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by pancakes3 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:50 am

you can be a republican and not support trump.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by lolwat » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:26 am

I can’t say what biglaw lawyers think, but I’ve definitely come across the belief that supporting Trump = hating trans people/people of color etc.
Yeah. I can't imagine this is a surprise to anybody. Certain topics and certain people are just incredibly divisive in our current climate and can cause people to come to conclusions about things. Read the room and pick your battles = the best advice here, as I think you absolutely can talk about certain things with certain people, but also should avoid at any costs talking about certain other things with certain other people.

I happen to have views that practically everybody on every side can find reasons to hate so I just avoid talking about them at all and stick to very broad generalizations when topics come up or otherwise just poke fun at little things that I know nobody at my firm would take offense at (covfefe, hamberders, etc.).

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Guest » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:57 am

UVA2B wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:43 pm
Guest OP, do you have a rational basis to attribute those views to your peers? Or is it mostly perceived?

You're making pretty grand pronouncements about supporting the current president, and I'm just not convinced it's true. If you're worried about your political views enough to shield them from others, maybe your views aren't compatible with the people you associate with. And maybe that means you should reconsider those thoughts. But even if your views are true/valid, I can't imagine you are being ostracized because the political climate can't suffer your views.
Guest OP here. I'm not ostracized, I get along fine with my coworkers and I find other things to talk about with them. I like my firm and my job. My post was simply advice for people who are not in line with standard liberal orthodoxy and are planning to work in biglaw. I realize it's not totally relevant to the OP.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Nony » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:54 am

I can’t say what biglaw lawyers think, but I’ve definitely come across the belief that supporting Trump = hating trans people/people of color etc. But I’m not sure this is really relevant to the original question - I didn’t get the sense that the OP was a Trumper trying to figure out how to get by so much as concerned about all varieties of political talk.

The simple answer (for me) is that it’s never a good idea to discuss highly divisive topics with co-workers who disagree with you. There are some people in my office I avoid ever talking politics with, because I know we strongly disagree. There are some people I talk politics with to some extent because I know we do agree. Often people will make references/allusions that you can follow up on or not. So personally I try to read my colleagues and tipping into political talk is fine sometimes and not fine other times.

Mostly I haven’t found it a problem handling it that way. I agree with ymmv that my reaction will depend on what the other person is saying (though honestly also their position, like with the OP’s partner. I clerked for a judge with v different opinions from mine and wasn’t about to push back, to be honest. That said, the judge was pretty good about not getting political. I did push back with the career clerk, but they welcomed/started political discussions. And there was one somewhat awkward argument about a local trans high school student with the career clerk AND the JA and courtroom deputy, but certain things I’m not willing to let slide). I think you just have to 1) read the room and 2) pick your battles.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by UVA2B » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:43 pm

Guest OP, do you have a rational basis to attribute those views to your peers? Or is it mostly perceived?

You're making pretty grand pronouncements about supporting the current president, and I'm just not convinced it's true. If you're worried about your political views enough to shield them from others, maybe your views aren't compatible with the people you associate with. And maybe that means you should reconsider those thoughts. But even if your views are true/valid, I can't imagine you are being ostracized because the political climate can't suffer your views.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by ymmv » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:32 pm

I mean if I were a Trump supporter I too would be deeply ashamed for anyone to find out.

Re: Talking politics at work: guidelines? Guidance?

by Guest » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm

ymmv wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:26 pm
More seriously, just about anything you can work on in a legal setting is laden with political meaning, and my experience is lawyers talking pretty freely about this stuff during downtime. On a case you usually have a pretty clear goal as a client advocate, and metacommentary might be irrelevant, but I’ve never known attorneys of any stripes to shy away from water cooler opinion sharing. Obviously with bosses it’s a tighter judgment call than with coworkers. I’m not like a font of unsolicited opinions in those moments; if someone with supervisor power over me expresses garbage beliefs I’m likely just to express mild discomfort through nonverbal cues and try to change the subject. If they keep pushing or are actively trying to get me to sanction their statements, I’ll disagree briefly and again keep trying to move on. If they want to push something incendiary into argument territory, that’s their call. How far I’m willing to go in responding depends what the argument’s over.

Like my reaction is going to be extremely different between someone with authority expressing disagreement over, idk, executive/congressional separation of powers vs. them expressing hateful options of trans people. Everyone picks their battles in life. Gotta decide for yourself what you care about enough to risk a little workplace discomfort displaced back on someone other than yourself. And take into consideration who else at your workplace is affected by your silence, in the case of subjects like bigotry.
Prior Guest OP here. At my firm, simply supporting the current president would be seen as “hating trans people” or hating black people. I honestly think this is the norm in major big law firms in my tier one city. The only acceptable conservative views are “pre-Trump” libertarian conservative views, like supporting tax cuts, and even those are pushing it. Anything remotely traditionalist or nationalist is seen as bigotry.

My advice to people is to never engage in political discussion, no matter what side you’re on, at least not until the current climate cools down. Other than the very senior partners you don’t know what people actually think. Most biglawyers are risk adverse yes men and may nod their head even if they disagree deep down. If you are obnoxiously liberal, you may be annoying people who are just going with the flow and don’t want to say anything in public.

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