Skip to main content

Politics is Turning U.S. Employees into Cynical Stress Puppies

Are you feeling increasingly stressed out at work for no apparent reason? Do you think your teammates are motivated by self-interest, and nothing more?

Do you have to remind yourself not to be so distrustful of human sincerity, and integrity?

Well, buck up because you're not alone! A new American Psychological Association online survey of more than 1,500 U.S. adults employed full time, part time or self-employed** finds many of us are turning into cynical stress puppies on the job, and our current political environment is to blame.

Unfortunately, our workplace malaise has grown worse since the APA conducted the same survey last Fall. Basically, we're all turning into Silicon Valley's Gilfoyle.

via GIPHY


I'll let the APA's press release do the talking because I'm still so bummed out after yesterday's Trumpcare vote in the U.S. House of Representatives:

American workers are more likely to say they are feeling stressed and cynical because of political discussions at work now than before the 2016 presidential election, according to survey results released today by the American Psychological Association.

The survey found that 26 percent of full-time and part-time employed adults said they felt tense or stressed out as a result of political discussions at work since the election, an increase from 17 percent in September 2016 when they were asked about political discussions at work during the election season. More than one in five (21 percent) said they have felt more cynical and negative during the workday because of political talk at work, compared with 15 percent before the election, according to the survey from APA's Center for Organizational Excellence.

If you follow my workplace blog, then you may have wondered where I've been in recent weeks. Well, I've been laying low and wondering what the hell is going on. Yesterday, I watched our elected leaders pat themselves on the back for barely rounding up enough votes in favor of throwing 24 million Americans off their healthcare coverage. The feeling that we're living through The Hunger Games of healthcare legislation is completely demoralizing, scary and stressful. I hope the U.S. Senate will stand up and protect our most vulnerable citizens.

It feels like we don't have each other's back anymore, and we wonder why we're feeling more stressed and cynical on the job. The APA survey finds more than half (54%) of survey respondents have discussed politics at work since the election. Of these employees, more than one-third (40%) have suffered "at least one negative outcome" ranging from reduced productivity, flagging work quality and more difficulty getting work done to an increasingly negative view of coworkers, feeling stressed out or simply feeling a greater sense of hostility toward others. Last September when the election was in full swing, slightly more than one-quarter (27%) reported experiencing at least one of these negative outcomes.

We're more ready to rumble at work, too: Nearly one-third surveyed (31%) have watched coworkers argue about politics recently, and 15% said they have gotten into a political argument with their colleagues. Women at work, meanwhile, report feeling twice as cynical as their male counterparts. Hmm, I wonder why.


The good news in the APA survey? I'm still looking for it, but it's a great survey that's worth a read. We may have different political views, but we can find compromise just like previous generations managed to do. We simply need to try again, and a good place to start would be by electing leaders who are able to care about the people they do not know.


** Note: 1,311 employees surveyed were employed full time or part time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…