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That Guy’s Tips for Election Day November 4, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Tips for Corporate Success.
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photo by flickr user hjl; used under a CC license

photo by flickr user hjl; used under a CC license

Today might just be the most historic election day of the 21st century. That’s not saying much, but if you’ve ever watched VH1, you know that everything has to be the ___est ___ of the [insert time period here] for anyone to care about it.

That being said, here are some tips for dealing with co-workers on Election Day:

  • If you voted, wear your sticker. Why subject yourself to a diatribe — or, likely, several diatribes — about not doing your civic duty? Wear your sticker. If you voted early, here’s hoping you didn’t use up the sticky stuff already, because if you did… well… you’re screwed.
  • Wait here to vote. If you had to take time off from work to vote, don’t rub it in. Be thankful that your boss believes the right to vote is important enough that you can get a few hours to take care of it. Don’t get dragged into comparing who took the longest or whose line had the most people in it. Go, vote, come to work, and work. That’s why you’re there, right?
  • Don’t proselytize. No one cares how great your candidate is, or why you voted for him. Never let yourself get drawn into a discussion about who you voted for (or against) or why. It can only lead to trouble.
  • No one knows who Bob Barr is. If you’re a third-party voter, don’t bring it up. It doesn’t matter who the candidate is or what s/he promised during the campaign. All you’ll get is a screed about how you either lost the election for McCain or wasted your vote. Save yourself the trouble.
  • Democrats, don’t let the McCain voters get to you. The biggest Democratic talking point is that you don’t want another four-years of Bush-like policies. You’ll hear at least one person decrying John McCain. Don’t rise to the bait. Just smile to yourself and know that your guy is going to win.
  • Republicans, don’t let the Obama voters get to you. The biggest Republican talking point is that Obama will raise taxes (or that he’s a socialist). You’ll hear at least one person decrying him. Don’t rise to the bait. Just smile to yourself and know that your guy is going to win.
  • It doesn’t matter how tired of the election you are. Your co-workers care about the election. They care about their candidates. They’re political junkies. And, above all else, they don’t care that you’re not obsessively following every piece of news on CNN. Just let it wash over you. Ignore it. Get roped into a discussion about the media’s coverage of the election and you’ll just make everyone angry. Including yourself.
  • Ignore the TVs. Someone’s going to have live video — either on TV or on their computers — and you’re going to be distracted by it. Hope you brought headphones.
  • Expect to get no work done on November 5. Everyone’s going to be talking about the election on Wednesday, no matter who wins. You may try to get work done, but you won’t. Everyone’s going to bother you, trying to get your opinion on who won and what will be changed (or won’t). Just wrap yourself in your work and try to accomplish something. And good luck.
  • Avoid discussion about President Bush. The really hard-core Democrats will likely try to say that President Bush should be charged with some sort of crime. Whether you agree or not, recuse yourself from this conversation or any other that you hear the moment talk turns to President Bush. It’s counterproductive, and in the end, what will it accomplish?
  • We don’t live in a democracy. This is a personal pet peeve of mine. The United States is not a democracy. It is a federal Constitutional republic. In a Democracy, power is held completely by the people. In the United States, we vote in representatives to… well… represent our interests. No matter how much this poor designation bothers you, don’t bring it up. Again, just a waste of your time.

So, in short: keep politics out of the workplace. Get some work done instead.

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