Boss, don’t tell me how to vote

  • Share
  • Read Later

…is what some workers wish they could say to their managers. According to a survey released today and conducted in May and June 2007 by Harris Interactive for The Marlin Company, which calls itself “The Workplace Communications Experts,”

nearly one out of four (24%) U.S. workers believe their top managers are openly expressing their political preferences at work. Those age 18 to 34 were more likely (33%) to say they have managers who made it clear which political candidates they preferred, compared to 16% of those age 50 or older.

Those results imply that the younger the worker, the stronger the pressure placed upon them to vote a certain way. Regardless of age, many don’t like it.

The survey showed that political talk at work can make some employees uncomfortable. Over a quarter (26%) of those polled said they do not fit in with their company’s culture in terms of politics. However, men were more likely to say they fit in the company culture, with 75% indicating so, compared to 64% of women.

Now, at my workplace, politics drives the daily morning meetings–because that’s what we cover. Still, there’s been some discussion in the past about journalists expressing their personal political views and how that affects coverage. If you’re a columnist like Joe Klein, you are of course expected to share your ideology, not just with the staff but with the readership. You either agree or you don’t, but that’s his job. But I’d feel weird if Rick Stengel, TIME’s editor, wore a Romney ’08 button on his lapel. He and Mitt do bear a slight resemblance, but that’s another story.

Young people are more likely to talk politics at work:

The survey found generational differences between younger and older workers regarding talking politics at work. Younger employees (age 18 to 34) were more likely to be comfortable sharing their political views (76%), compared to 64% of those age 50 or older. Younger employees were also more likely (84%) than older workers (68%) to say they were comfortable telling their boss which candidates they support.

In an era when we barf out our opinions on blogs, reminisce over college hook-ups on MySpace and clamor for selection on the latest reality show, I suppose it’s no stretch that we’re increasingly sharing our political leanings in the workplace. It’s one thing if you’re a working stiff ripping on Hillary’s oratory or Rudy’s hair. But if you’re the boss, shut it. Go ahead and plump up McCain’s sorry coffers if you’ve got the inclination and the dough. Just don’t pressure us underlings to follow suit.

Jon Stewart on why young people are the perfect–or only–viewer demographic to “get” the CNN/YouTube debates the other night: