It’s been said and written for a long, long time - religion and politics have no place at the dinner table. They don’t belong at work, either.
This might seem obvious to most people but our country is becoming increasingly divided politically with people highly passionate about their view on either side of the aisle. This blog is completely non political but it’s safe to say that we basically all want the same thing - clean air, clean water, safe neighborhoods and good jobs. The big division comes in how we think the best way to accomplish that is.
Anyhow, recently I had some work done on our vintage home and the gent who came to do the work is a friendly local - someone who I know from “around” and whom I would have a conversation with if we ran across each other at the store or on the street. It makes sense that we got to talking while he was doing the work and, three hours later, I was scratching my head about the conversation we were still having.
Well, it wasn’t really a conversation. It was more of a lecture. And the more I listened the more I wondered if he was off his meds, perhaps.
Either way, I thought the job was extremely well done and was very happy with the value as well but that three hour “lecture” on things that made me go ‘hmm’ was truly a waste of my time. This is the equivalent of "firehosing" but on a one-on-one basis.
The funny thing is, I happened to be discussing his type of work with someone else. Turns out she had hired him for the same job recently and needed more of the type of service he provides. They were more bothered by that conversation than I was and vowed never to hire the company again.
Unfortunately he’s not the only one there but he is the face of the company to the customer so now his politics are hurting others’ livelihoods.
The bottom line - there is never room for politics or religion at a work place and especially not with customers - even those whom you might be friends with. I’m more able to overlook this kind of thing only because I see the value of what these people do and like to support a local business but others, including the friend I had discussed this with, clearly do not feel the same way. She is done with this company.
You may be very passionate about your political views or even religion but if you’re equally passionate about providing great customer service and earning a living, perhaps there are other topics of conversation you could choose. In fact, what about talking about the product or service you’re providing to the customer?
To me a conversation is a two-way street with each person providing relatively equal input on the subject. Unless you’re an educator, if the person you’re talking to isn’t contributing to the conversation, you’re lecturing.
Keep religion and politics at home and work on subjects in conversation that you can share with your customers. In fact, since you’re the expert on whatever business you’re in perhaps a bunch of tips to help the customer maximize their experience with you will be the best topic of conversation. Because I know of several people who won’t hire the company who did the services for me and that’s a shame as this local business really does an exceptional job.