EDITOR’S LETTER – Ticking the box

Who do you vote for? Why is that considered rude question? We are happy to ask where people live, work, holiday, about their partner, what they read, their favourite colour or food, even their religion, but not their politics. I find this odd as surely those questions allow us to build up far more detailed picture of someone than merely guessing (via other signals) whether to place them on the left, right or centre of the political spectrum. Especially in New Zealand where the spectrum is hardly wide-ranging in the first place. It’s not as if we’re going to unwittingly uncover some horrific hidden perversion via that question, as you’d have to move much further afield than New Zealand to encounter such political offerings. And surely the better understanding you have of how colleague thinks and operates, the more productive your working relationship will be.
I don’t mind talking about politics but personally I hate money conversations. They are pretty much guaranteed to make me feel uncomfortable and wish I was somewhere else. Even if it’s not anything to do with my finances personally – I just get really embarrassed. I tried collecting for charity once, you know with bucket and stickers outside busy supermarket. Hideous. Absolutely squirm-inducing. The whole horrid episode gave me renewed respect for those who do manage to work so hard in that area. And I always put money in the buckets now.
But back to politics – our cover story this month takes look at politics in the office. It canvasses opinions on whether people at work should reveal how they vote and discusses how managers can handle situations if they get heated. My vote is for more open discussion (with the same protocols which would prevent you from attacking colleague’s religious or spiritual beliefs), especially with the General Election looming. Then again, I’ve always thought there should be an intelligence test (or more accurately, an awareness test) before people vote. And I also think that while we should be more open about our political preferences, then there is great difference between polite, if robust, conversation and preaching to people. That’s why I am always happy to talk if people ask me about my politics – but why I’m just not going to impose on you here.

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