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Politics in the Workplace December 12, 2012

Posted by David Bookstaber in Social Politics, Uncategorized.

Years ago, ending one of my first summer internships at a somewhat Liberal company, I was told that it was not a good idea to advertise my Conservative leanings in the workplace. As politics became more polarized an awkward dynamic evolved in the professional world: Liberals became self-righteously and overtly intolerant of Conservatives. Espousing Conservative ideas in the wrong company could actually end your career. In contrast, Conservatives remained disinclined to hold someone’s politics against them if it did not bear on their job performance. So Conservatives learned to hide in the closet unless sure they were among like-minded or tolerant coworkers. Liberals, on the other hand, wore their leanings as a badge of pride. Some apparently forgot that Conservatives even exist: One finance company aggressively recruiting me proudly mentioned that the partners were all big Democrat activists, as if that was another selling point. (Yes, they were based in NYC.)

Now that politics have really started to hit businesses I’ve seen many Conservatives come out of the closet. Right after the reelection of Obama one small business owner said, “This is going to hurt business. I won’t be able to hire as many people as I had planned. Therefore, I think it’s only fair that I give preference to those who didn’t support these policies.” I.e., when it comes to layoffs, let Democrats go first into the arms of the welfare state they asked for.


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