In Episode 25 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”
This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “We commit to not get caught up in each other’s politics and religion. It has nothing to do with work (unless we work for a political campaign, a politician, or a religious organization). As individuals, we may have strong convictions, but work is not the place to be politically or religiously expressive. We are going to leave this stuff out of the office environment. And besides, people who cannot see past their own political and religious biases are like robots, and poorly programmed ones at that.”
Much of my work with the book Happywork and the work code of conduct I call The Happywork Agreement dealt with human conflict. Why don’t we like our jobs? One big reason is the people! But why don’t we like those people? One reason is they’re different than us, and they sometimes make it a point to ensure that we know that. Quite simply, a Muslim might not be welcome among Catholics.
The workplace is a funny thing – yes, we do choose our places of work. We’re not conscripted into our jobs. However, for the most part, we don’t get to choose WHO we work with. They’re already there, and we often have no idea who those people are. Besides an extra interview or two, or maybe a whirlwind stroll around the office, you’ve never met your coworkers until day one.
Where does that leave you? Basically, you’ve landed the job (maybe of your dreams), and you’ve thrust yourself into a group of strangers who are not like you. It’s a combustible mix of races, ages, talent and ambition levels, religions, and political beliefs. And I think history has shown that such differences often cause humans to come to blows.
I’ve heard that conflict is good, and necessary. I think the expert who said this meant healthy conflict surrounding the direction of the company. I don’t think she meant, for instance, Republican owners intimidating their employees to vote Republican (yes, this has happened). I don’t think it meant ostracizing the one employee who’s religion is different than yours because he was born far, far away. These seemingly small differences aren’t small at all – they tear nations apart.
All we’re trying to do at work is 1. Do our job, 2. Provide for our families, and 3. Achieve great things. The historically divisive topics of politics and religion have nothing to do with our work, and must be left out of the workplace.
— — — — —
— — — — —
Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!