I know I’m not alone when I say that this has been an unprecedented election season. There have been a lot of “firsts”, many surprises, and a boat load of ups and downs. We have all seen and heard things that have left us shocked and also inspired.
After coaching clients for more than 20 years, I thought I had seen and heard everything when it comes to professionals, their careers, and the “office politics” that go on in the workplace. But I am experiencing a first after this election: people who want to change jobs because of a difference in political views. People are seriously considering a career transition because of the divisiveness caused by this year’s election.
They can’t – and don’t want to – continue working with someone from the “other side.”
Freedom of speech represents one of the benefits of living in this great country; we can freely express our views, opinions, and core beliefs. However, there used to be a time when political beliefs were kept private. Just like religion and how much money you make, who you supported and voted for on Election Day was typically not discussed in the workplace.
Today is a new day and the political temperature is hotter than ever. Between social media, bumper stickers, political rallies, t-shirts, and outspoken opinions, it’s hard not to know who your co-worker, colleague, or clients support and why. Not only are more people involved and engaged in the national political debate, but this time it feels very personal.
This election season has been so personal that it has divided families, friends, and workplaces. There are still plenty of broken hearts, victory parties, and public protests taking place throughout the country. Leaving a job because you don’t politically see eye-to-eye with a co-worker may be a little impulsive, but the reality is that there needs to be a healing time of transition in the workplace as well as in the country.
Here are 3 Ways to Get Back to Work After the Election…
Recognize that the political parties and faces change all the time, and this is part of the democratic process. Agree to disagree with your co-workers over the next four years, but just like world leaders, come together for a workplace “peace summit.” Perhaps you agree to make politics a taboo topic, to take down the candidates’ campaign posters in your office, and to get back to the work at hand.
Don’t Gloat or Pout
No one likes a boastful winner or a sore loser…not in sports, not in business, and certainly not in politics this year. If the goal is to try and come together and get back to “normal,” then this is not the time for a victory dance or a pity party. Whatever you’re feeling on the inside, this is the time to express graciousness whether your team has won or lost. Do your celebrating or mourning at home and leave the workplace for actual work.
Refocus and Reprioritize
Unless you live under a rock, it’s been nearly impossible to escape the barrage of political rhetoric, the relentless negative ads, and the deep-rooted commitment people have felt on both sides. This endless political season has occupied a ton of our time and even more of our emotional energy. Now is the time to refocus and reprioritize, get back to our daily lives, and to heal.
Before you jump ship, take time to see if your workplace will heal as the election dust settles. And, before you make any big move, step back and analyze the pros and cons of a career transition. Certainly, if your core values no longer align to those of your teammates and/or your employer, then it may be time for a change.
Regardless of your decision, as you approach our national holiday of “giving thanks,” think about all the positive things for which you are thankful and grateful. Appreciate the healthy relationships in your life, the successful career you have built, the personal and professional goals you’re trying to achieve, and all the amazing gifts and talents you bring to the world to make it a better place. Instead of harping on the negative, embrace the power of positivity…pull on those big-girl panties, take action, and take control of your career and of your life.