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What Really Happens When You Bring Politics To The Job Search And Office

The United States is weeks away from its 2020 presidential election. Animosity, anger, apprehension and anxiety are at an all-time fever pitch. The nation is divided into two warring factions and there is just no escape from all of the political fodder. Cable news, papers, social media and dinner conversations invariably turn toward the political hot topic of the day—accompanied by acrimony and arguments.

It’s even pervaded the office. While good-natured trash-talk about how poorly your co-worker’s football team fared on Sunday was accepted behavior, politics wasn’t a freely discussed topic of conversation. Things have dramatically changed and now talk about politics and social causes have become commonplace at work.

Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Silicon Valley-based cryptocurrency exchange and broker Coinbase, told his employees that he won’t stand for politics and the championing of social issues at the office. Armstrong bluntly said that he’d gladly offer severance packages to employees who aren’t comfortable with the new corporate policy of “political neutrality” in the workplace. The chief executive wrote in a letter to employees, “Life is too short to work at a company that you aren’t excited about. Hopefully, this package helps create a win-win outcome for those who choose to opt out.” About 60 Coinbase employees have accepted a buyout offer after Armstrong announced the controversial new policy curbing political activism inside the company.

Job seekers seem comfortable putting their political activities on their résumés and LinkedIn profiles. As a recruiter, I couldn’t care less about someone’s politics. I just want to place someone. The same may not hold true for a hiring manager, human resources professional or senior management.

Job hunters have the right to campaign and vote for whomever they desire, but you must recognize the reality that at least half of the people you’ll interview with won’t share your political views. Of that half, a good percentage probably despise your candidate. You are taking a big risk of alienating people when you promote your political preferences. This even encompasses seemingly harmless activities, such as volunteering and knocking on doors for the reelection of President Donald Trump or to get out the vote for former Vice President Joe Biden. Read more via Forbes

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