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article imageMany of us do talk politics at work

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By Tim O'Brien     Mar 5, 2012 in Politics
One of those items we are warned against discussing at certain venues, or ever, is politics. Of course, it all depends on what direction that conversation takes.
Well, according to a new CareerBuilder survey, 36 percent of workers reported they discuss politics at work.
"Most workers opt to keep political debates outside of the workplace," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "Anytime you're dealing with subject matter that is sensitive or potentially inflammatory, it's important to always be respectful of your colleagues' opinions and avoid emotionally-charged exchanges."
But, office politics and governmental ones are similar, right? This was answered with 46 percent of workers believe the competitive nature of government politics is very similar to office politics. Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) said office politics are more vicious than national politics.
The results also show many of the conversations are under control. However, 23 percent of workers who have discussed politics at work reported they had a heated discussion or fight with a co-worker, boss or someone else higher up in the organization. And, One-in-ten workers said their opinion about a co-worker changed after they discovered that person's political affiliation. And most said it changed for the negative. That alone could change the entire dynamic of the workplace. One thing the survey does not look into is that dynamic and how it changes.
With this being an election year in the United States, a full 43 percent expect they will be talking about this year's races with co-workers. Let's check back to see if they are still coworkers after the election.
Does age matter in these discussions? Workers aged 55 and older were the most likely to discuss politics at work while those under the age of 25 were the least likely. The breakdown for these are: ages 18-24, 25 percent; 25-34, 30 percent; 35-44, 34 percent; 45-54, 40 percent and 55 and older, 43 percent, as noted above.
If one thinks men are more inclined to have these conversations, one would be correct as 44 percent of men discuss politics at work compared to 28 percent of women. In what is perhaps the least shocking information here is that men were also more likely to report an altercation with a co-worker. Those numbers show 25 percent for men versus 19 percent of women. Once again, a follow-up study may be needed here.
* This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 7,780 U.S. workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between Nov. 9 and Dec. 5, 2011 and released this month.
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