Do you discuss politics in the office?

Just curious as to how common this is.

Was just thinking about this the other day while chatting to a few co-workers.

We (politically) broadly dicuss (we have a team huddle every few days):

  1. Public budgets (how they impact us)
  2. School costs and sizes (some of us have kids)
  3. Investments (hot topic these days)
  4. Taxes (local and others)
  5. Travel (mostly covid related)
  6. Some purely political topics (lots these days in UK)

I usually stayed away from talking politics at the office because it does make some people uncomfortable (I have seen people reprimanded for some some pretty neutral comments), but my current team is pretty open about it.

We are also not all liberal/progressive types, so its a more balanced international conservative/liberal mix which kind of allows varying view points (there is no mobbing of one vs the rest).

It does not go beyond our current team though (I think because in a corporate hierarchy you do have to be careful even when having informal conversations with others. You really never know who might get annoyed or not).

I used to but I don’t anymore.

Short answer: no, never

Longer answer: when specific bills are passed that impact the company, insurance in general, or our reinsurance partenrs, we discuss the bill and the impact. Ocasionally, someone will say say something about liking or disliking the bill for reasons other than making a direct impact on the business.
And there are a few people (fewer than in the past) that will spout off their political ideals but its very clear that person isnt interested in any type of discussion.



Legislation or regulation that directly affects the industry generates discussion on the specifics.

General banter about politics, no.

I don’t randomly discuss politics, no. But I have some coworkers who have expressed views similar to mine in the past so I don’t have any issue discussing politics with them, and we stay away from topics like abortion and capital punishment.

Ditto up until my current job.

Now I’m the token American on a multinational team, in risk management. So we do discuss political risks, and I do sometimes have to explain how Byzantine the American system of insurance regulation is, which inherently touches on politics.

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Generally, I only discuss politics with individuals who I know quite well already. Perhaps 4 people or so in the workplace.

Back in the era of President Trump though, our team meetings frequently would touch on whatever dumb thing of the day he just did. Our department is all fairly liberal, even the religious ones. However we typically stopped short of too much real political talk, just made fun of the stupid, like drawing in Sharpie on a hurricane map.

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It depends on what you mean by politics. Here in America climate change is considered political but you can’t really avoid the subject if your job has anything to do with natural catastrophes of which there are plenty in insurance.

You’d think the employees would be relatively aligned when they work in a field where their beliefs need to line up with what they are doing, but they aren’t, actually.

There’s also the issue of credit score maybe or maybe not being unfairly discriminatory. You kind of need to discuss stuff like that.

There are certain things I avoid though. One time I had this coworker who believed in weird conspiracy stuff and I kind of just avoided them in general.

Only if we’re close enough friends (outside of office setting), then sometimes I’ll forget we’re in the office and slip.

Among colleagues: Not usually, unless I’m specifically asked for my thoughts on x, or if I’ve heard about y. And even then, I’ll look for an area of common agreement within the topic if possible as a way to participate without participating. (Jaspess II and I are both on the same page about finding political conversation distasteful.)

Among students: Never. I keep my digital classroom viewpoint-neutral as much as possible. Thankfully, so far I haven’t had an issue with a student being rude to another student during the occasional discussion assignment.

The ones I hear slip are usually more senior people in the office, especially on the executive floor. Especially during 2016-

People shit talking trump was rampant.

I worked for a gay second-generation immigrant who was fully MAGA. Let that one sink in… To be fair he was a white male, but still.

I feel ridiculous that I can’t remember, but did Trump specifically do things that were anti-gay? Obviously plenty of other Republicans have, but has Trump? I would not be shocked either way, but I can’t specifically recall homophobic comments from Trump. And I’ll add that I was not particularly following all of the volumes of idiotic stuff he said.

Regardless I’m reminded of the gay Republican congressman on The West Wing. At one point Bradley Whitford’s character is exasperated with the Congressman and the Congessman goads him: “go ahead and ask me; I can tell you want to.”

At which point he :exploding_head: crying out “how can you be a member of that party???” And continues on about Republican homophobia.

And then the Congressman calmly responds that he agrees with Republicans on taxation and foreign policy and education and …

It was kind of similar to Colin Powell’s response when people asked him about being a black Republican and I expect the show modeled the character’s answer from Powell’s answer.

It’s difficult to pin how much of it was solely due to Trump. There were many cases where the people he appointed to HUD, the Department of Education, HHS, etc. rolled back LGBT protections, many of which only came in during the Obama administration.

Direct ties to Trump I can think of:

  • Kicked out/denied access to the military for transgender people.
  • Banned embassies from flying the LGBT flag during Pride Month.
  • Removed the United States from the UN Human Rights Council partly due to LGBT issues
  • (Can’t remember how this ended up) At least tried to remove questions about LGBT status from the census, eliminating the data that would be collected from such
  • Removed all pro-LGBT pages from the same day as inauguration
  • (Also not sure how this ended) At least tried to make it legal for federal adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT people
  • Appointed many anti-LGBT judges, cabinet positions, etc.

If I can drill down to the various administration departments there is a lot more but I kept it as tight to Trump’s personal decisions as possible, as the departments’ actions could be viewed as not necessarily Trump’s.

Even that stuff was most likely his staff and not him. I was more thinking did he make cringeworthy homophobic comments. Stuff that would be hard to ignore if you felt inclined to make excuses for Trump, which is an inclination that many do in fact feel.

That said, it’s certainly reasonable evidence that Trump is no ally to the gay community. Even if you separate out the gay community as distinct from the LGBT community.

I have seen this in the UK

They are usually terrified of being targeted by the new administration + followers, so they will double & triple down on the policies being spearheaded by the new administration, just so they can stay out of the line of fire.

Seems a lot of these are tied more to, “We need to own the libs, cuz that’s what our shitty voters want, so our shitty voters keep voting for us.”