New York Today: Talking Politics at Work

In Politics
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To talk politics, or not to talk politics?

Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

Good morning on this sparkling Monday.

You may hear your co-workers talking about in Charlottesville, Va., and . Or maybe a colleague or two will be discussing and .

How do you respond?

Discussing politics at the office can be somewhat tricky: You want to speak openly about politics but you don’t want to assume others share your view, or worse, to offend someone.

So we sought advice from three professors on how to talk about politics in the office, if at all.

, a professor at Baruch College who teaches communication strategies for the workplace, said to leave your political opinion at the door.

“It’s inappropriate because it leads to conflict,” she said. “And if there’s conflict, you can’t function. And if you can’t function, you don’t make money.”

(The same goes for talking about religion and personal problems in a professional setting, she added.)

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, an assistant professor at who focuses on political sociology and how secrets affect the world in which we live, agreed. But, she stressed, having conversations about politics with people who may disagree with you presents a “huge opportunity” in nonwork, social settings.

It’s a “plus for relationships, a plus for democracy — the question is just: In what terrain of your life do you want to do that?” she said.

, an associate professor of politics and public policy at N.Y.U., said there was much at stake if we don’t have those conversations — we risk living in political silos. Even though the office might not be the easiest place to talk politics, it might be one of the more productive spaces to do so, he added.

“The workplace is one of those places where you don’t have a whole lot of control over who you interact with; chances are your co-workers are not being selected on the basis of whether or not they agree with you politically,” he said. “To the extent that we are avoiding these conversations in the workplace, we’re losing out on one of the few venues where we may encounter ideas that are different from our own, and therefore, our own ideas may become stale and less principled.”

If you do decide to discuss politics at your job, here are some tips:

• Don’t assume every co-worker will agree with your opinions.

Approach the conversations with an open mind and curiosity for understanding others’ views, rather than wanting to prove a point.

Look for shared values that allow you to explore these political questions together.

Be comfortable with differences in opinion. “No individual conversation about politics right now is likely to change anyone’s mind, so approach any interaction at work about politics with that awareness,” Mr. Egan said.

Should employees talk about politics at work? What are the pros and cons? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Here’s what else is happening:


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Want something else to chat about at work? How about this splendid weather we’re having?

It’s going to be sunny today with and a .

On-again-off-again wet weather is on tap for the rest of the week.

In the News

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is pushing for new tolls on some of the city’s busiest areas, a plan that could generate millions of dollars for repairing the subway. []


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo touring New York City’s subway system.

Harrison Hill/The New York Times

Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered across the city to denounce the weekend’s white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville. []

The annual Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan was described as a counterpoint to the events in Charlottesville. []

Places across the United States are looking to the gondola as alternative transportation. In New York State, there have been three recent plans. []

A Police Department K9 named Timoshenko is recovering after falling through a ceiling during a firearms investigation. []

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “”

For a global look at what’s happening, see .

Coming Up Today

The annual brings outdoor performances to Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in Battery Park City. 7 to 9 p.m., through Friday. [Free]

, a series of readings and discussions featuring local authors and bookshops, at in Brooklyn Bridge Park. 7 p.m. [Free]

The performs “How Forests Think” as part of the festival at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. 7:30 p.m. [$30]

Children can watch “” by the waterfront, on the Astoria Park Lawn in Queens. 8:15 p.m. [Free]

Yankees versus Mets, 7:08 p.m. (SNY).

Alternate-side parking remains until Tuesday.

For more events, see The New York Times’s .

And Finally…

Do you, or did you, have a noisy neighbor?

Maybe you tried to curl up with a book as music rattled your walls. Or perhaps you tried to rock a child to sleep to the sound of profanities coming from next door. Try writing a column while someone hammers nail after nail into the wall next to you.

So what’s the best way to cure noisy neighbor syndrome? (Leave them a note? Give them a taste of their own medicine?) We’re asking you: How do you deal? Share your best solutions in the comments, or tell us about them by emailing [email protected]. Please include your full name, age, the neighborhood in which you live and a description of your experience.

We may contact you for possible inclusion in an upcoming article.

New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email .

For updates throughout the day, .

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at [email protected], or reach us via Twitter using .

Follow the New York Today columnists, and , on Twitter.

You can find the latest New York Today at .

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