Workers try to avoid office political chatter but can’t

Workers try to avoid office political chatter but can't

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If there’s a high political season, this surely is it.  

Monday’s Iowa caucuses kicked off what’s shaping up to be the most vitriolic presidential campaign in U.S. history. President Trump will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night before a bitterly divided Congress and nation.

And on Wednesday, Trump, who became just the third American president ever impeached, is set to be acquitted by the Republican-dominated Senate after a controversial trial that included no witnesses.

Oh, and based on Gallup polls, Trump is the most polarizing American president ever, as adored by Republicans as he is reviled by Democrats.

So it may not be surprising that Americans don’t think they should stoke that incendiary cocktail by discussing politics at work. Perhaps it’s also no wonder they can’t help themselves, sometimes hurting relationships with coworkers and even prompting them to consider quitting.

Sixty percent of employees believe talking politics at work is unacceptable, a Glassdoor survey shows. Yet 57% of workers have done so, according to the mid-January poll of 1,204 employees by the job posting and employee review site, whose results were provided exclusively to USA Today.

“People, on an ideological level, say you should keep politics out of the workplace,” says Glassdoor career expert Alison Sullivan. But, she adds, ”Lots of political events are happening every day. It’s probably hard not to talk about it.”

President Donald Trump at a political rally Tuesday in Wildwood, N.J.

Most workers say political water-cooler conversations have become more common in the past four years, according to surveys by staffing firm Robert Half and the Society for Human Resource Management in late 2019.

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“It happens to be a really turbulent political time,” says Ali Fazal, a senior director at Hibob, which provides companies human resource software and consulting services.

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