CAREER | November 1, 2020
by Stephanie Ritz
Feeling Election Stress?
5 Career Tips for Post-Election
Election stress is real. With this election being so polarizing, how you relate to colleagues and clients during post-election can be tricky. Many businesses feel as though their companies’ future may depend on the outcome of this election, making the election stress even higher in the office. You may have heard, “never talk politics in the office.” This motto seems easy enough but is often an unreliable solution. It would be best to prepare now for navigating the office during those post-election days and months. There are enough people on both sides of the aisle that there will likely be many discussions around this election’s outcome.
Here are 5 career tips for the office
(whether in person, by phone, or virtually)
1. Your Opinion in the Election Matters – So Vote, Don’t Gloat!
As Americans, we have the privilege of democracy. We get to have our say by way of casting our ballots. We can also participate in campaigning, demonstrating, and rallying to sway others’ opinions and make our views known. But, when the election is over, and we no longer can take action to impact the results, the election stress can begin to mount. The combination of stress and passion can lead to a toxic environment, which is not something you afford to fester in if you wish to advance in your career.
Keep your vote out of the office. Let it be enough that you expressed your voice with your ballot. At work, you do not need to share who you voted for or why. Once you have revealed your political opinion, you have opened yourself up for judgment. Even the most bi-partisan of people are not judgment-free. Most Americans have an opinion on this election. If your co-workers views do not align with yours, it can impact their perceptions of you, regardless of your work performance and prior relationship. I don’t claim that this is a fair practice, but it is the reality.
Find a community of like-minded people to talk to about your feelings and opinions post-election. There are plenty of online groups that you can have discussions with outside of work. Holding your tongue at work can be very difficult but for the sake of your career and the understanding that your opinion will not change the outcome, I highly recommended that you keep your personal political views out of the office.
There will be customers and colleagues that will try to bait you into a conversation.
Here are three segues you can use to change the conversation:
1. Client: “Do you think Trump is going to leave the White House peacefully if he loses?”
You: “Who knows? I guess time will tell. By the way, I just wanted to check in on those feedback surveys. Were you happy with the results?”
2. Colleague: “If Biden wins, I know it’ll be because of those mail-in ballot schemes.”
You: “I guess we’ll see what happens. Do you want to review the PowerPoint before our Zoom meeting?”
3. Boss: “If Trump wins, we’re never going to get out of this pandemic.”
You: “It’s definitely been awful. There have been so many challenges and losses through this pandemic. Oh, hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you if there is anything additional you needed me to do with the Conversion Project.”
Your best bet is to acknowledge the comment and pivot as soon as possible. Keep your focus on work and how you can continue to be an asset to your clients or company.
If your candidate wins, again, keep your victory to yourself while you are at work. Celebrate with your family, friends, or your community of like-minded people.
2. Feel All the Post-Election Feels,
I am just as passionate about this election as most. If my candidate does not win, I will likely have an emotional response. In preparation for this, I am taking action to mentally prepare for any outcome. I recommend you do the same. Do some self-evaluation to determine how you may feel if your candidate loses. I expect there will be hurt, vocal frustration, anger, and many more stress-related responses to this post-election outcome. If you fall into that bucket, I have two pieces of advice when it comes to your career.
1. Start preparing now with de-stressing practices.
This article on Huff Post,“20 Scientifically Backed Ways to De-Stress Right Now,” gives some great options.
Here are a few of my favorite de-stressing techniques that I implement during my work day:
Breathwork – sometimes, you just need to refocus and take a moment to calm down. I use breathwork regularly in my coaching program, and it is a tried and true technique when emotions start to run high.
Go for a walk – a simple change of environment, even for just 5 minutes, can help you de-stress.
Walk away from the screen – hours at the computer can start to weigh on you, especially in this day of Zoom and Teams meetings all day. When it’s time for lunch, I turn off the computer and listen to a podcast or audiobook. Changing my mental environment is just as beneficial for me as my physical environment.
Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique – EFT) is another practice that I teach my clients as a tool to de-stress. This is the practice of releasing the blockages in your meridian points by tapping on them to restore energy balance and release negative emotions.
2. Take some time off of work.
I know sick and vacation time in America is precious, but so is your mental health and the future of your career. If you feel unable to control your emotions or urges to share your opinions at work, take a few days off to decompress.
Don’t self-sabotage by allowing your uncontrollable emotions to reflect your ability to be an amazing employee. You may also want to speak to your HR department about resources your company offers internally or through your benefits program to talk with a counselor or therapist to help relieve some of the post-election stress.
You should allow yourself to feel “all the feels.” Politics is important, and our country is at a pivotal time in its history. Take the time you need to acknowledge your feelings and prepare to move forward.
3. Post-Election Requests – Check Your Timing
Timing is everything. If you have an essential request post-election, take a moment to consider the following before you take action:
- Evaluate the state of your boss before making any big asks. A significant portion of the country is going to be upset that their candidate lost. If your boss or supervisor falls into that category, proceed with caution! You can take the steps necessary to best control your own emotions at work, but you can’t control others’ feelings. Unless your request is time-sensitive, if you can see that your boss is visibly upset, angry, or frustrated during post-election, hold your request! Emotional people will often make rash or emotional decisions. Wait for a few days to allow your boss to accept or move forward with the election results before making your ask.
On the other hand, your boss may be elated post-election. If that is the case, it may be the perfect timing to make your request. In my experience, happy people tend to be more generous.
- If your company has been affected by the economy, this election may substantially impact its financial projections moving forward. Educate yourself on the state of your company before asking for a promotion or raise. With many companies continuing to lay off employees, you need to think more globally about your position within the company. A raise or promotion may be warranted, but be sure to understand your request’s feasibility before making it.
Talk with your boss or company leaders about the performance of the company. Ask insightful questions that will reveal the financial health and expectations for the coming year.
Some industries are booming right now. If you find yourself in a thriving organization, cash in on your hard work and ask for that raise or promotion!
For more information on the impact of timing in your career, check out this article Timing: A Career Game Changer
4. Be The Example, Seize The Opportunity to Shine – Post-Election
In the face of a pandemic, a struggling economy, and a feeling of uncertainty about how the country will move forward, the election stress is escalating. After the vote, it’s just a matter of waiting. When you no longer have control and are passionate about the outcome, the waiting can be very stressful. In this unique election year, there is no certainty around when somebody will be declared a winner.
If you are reading this article, you likely have the desire to be successful. You are looking for tips and information on thriving in the office during a challenging time, such as post-election. Use all of this information to be the person that is admired for their work ethic and a calm leader during a stressful time.
While others may not take the preventive measures to de-stress, navigate political conversations, or evaluate timing, you’ve got this! Channel your emotions into your role and be the office hero. Be the person that people can come to without the concern of being sucked into a political conversation or wary of an upset mood. Lighten the office with positive conversation and gratitude for your job or company. Don’t stand back and allow a stressful environment to consume your team. Don’t stand by and watch team members be dragged into toxic conversations. Stand up and be an inspiration. Stand together with your colleagues and support the mission of your company.
“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.” — Margaret Thatcher
5. Start a self-care practice that you can implement now and that will carry you through post-election.
Practicing self-care is not only crucial for your mental health and your ability to be resilient through challenging times, but it can also support your ability to be a productive employee. Forbes published this insightful article, “Self-Care Isn’t Just Good For You – It’s Also Good For Your Productivity,” which illustrates the benefits of self-care.
I am an advocate for daily self-care, regardless of what may be happening in the world. I find I am a happier person, a more empathetic boss, and a more productive employee when I take care of myself.
Here are some of my personal recommendations for practicing daily self-care:
- Educational Podcast
- Engaging Book
- Daily Exercise
- Warm Bath
- Gratitude Journaling
Election stress IS real, but it does not need to define who you are as an employee. Use these five tips to prepare and take action towards a successful outcome in your career, post-election.
Here is a recap of the 5 career tips for post-election:
1. There is no need to voice your vote and your political opinions in the office. (Unless you work in the field of politics, of course!)
2. Pre-plan for your emotional well-being and take action to keep your emotions regarding politics out of the office.
3. Evaluate the timing of making any important requests to your boss or of your company.
4. Show your company that you have the skills to be a leader, especially during challenging times.
5. Practice self-care as a means of being your best self at work.
If you are looking for additional support in your career, I invite you to learn about the Claim Your Career programs here. Share the Promo Code: Office Politics when you schedule your free “Possibilities Call” for a special post-election discount offer- expires 12/31/2020.
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