It is no secret that my coworker and I have conflicting views when it comes to politics. And while I know we should not discuss our political differences at work, he gets under my skin. In 2012 we had a huge falling out during the presidential election. It got so serious that we stopped speaking to one another for almost an entire month. I am a strong Obama supporter and my coworker is a diehard republican. We are now on the opposite sides of the fence with the Trayvon Martin case and the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. To make a long story short, we almost came to blows in the office and we were both written up by our supervisor for the incident. I just don’t think I can continue working with someone who refuses to respect my opinion.
First let me say that you and your coworker are lucky to not have been FIRED for causing such a disruption in the workplace! Violence in the workplace is a very serious issue and you both are adults, you should know better! I am glad however that you did not come to physical blows. I have always been taught that politics and religion are two subjects that are off limits in the office. You and your coworker arguing and not speaking to one another cannot be productive for your employer’s bottom line and it can affect the quality of work. It can also affect the morale of the other employees who have to listen to this bickering and maybe even have to step in to break the two of you apart.
Politics and religion are two hot-button subjects that seem to bring out the fight in people. There are many different issues and beliefs in these two areas. And as hard as you may try, you cannot force anyone to change their opinion and beliefs. This is a voluntary process. And while you may be able to affect change or shed a different light on a subject or a belief, and at the end of the day, each person is able to make their own choices.
Both you and your coworker are wrong for blowing up at each other. You should have agreed to disagree and walked away from any potential confrontation. I hate to see a friendship and/or working relationship destroyed because of a difference of opinion. I believe that everyone has a right to his or her own opinion and that there should be enough respect in a relationship to sustain any difference of opinion. And to get R-E-S-P-E-C-T, you have to give R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You need to have a conversation with your coworker and both of you need to apologize to one another and then agree to what subjects are off limits to your working relationship.
Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru and the author of Stop Wasting Your Time Blaming Others for Your Life, REAL Advice from REAL Experience: Advice, Tips and Strategies for Your Life Relationships, and Career and the Been There Done That Wrote a Book About It! book series. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Read advice archives at www.YourAdviceGuru.com. Email questions to advice@YourAdviceGuru.com or on Twitter @DrTamaraHartley using the hashtag #AskTamara.
Tamara is also a personal success and “How-To” coach and helps individuals figure out the “how” so that they can make their dreams a reality. Learn more about her coaching programs at www.YourPersonalSuccessCoach.com.