Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Yelling at Coworkers

It's pretty rare that I let myself get really angry with a coworker, but today I did.

A guy I'll call Bert is one of my best pals in the office. He's cool and nerdy and has similar political views to mine, so we talk politics pretty often. He also argues politics with a Bush Republican I'll call Rufus. I never talk to Rufus about politics, though. I don't actually care to argue politics with coworkers, at all. (I don't mind discussing views on a specific issue if it can be done really calmly and respectfully, but I'm not going to seek out someone specifically to argue with them.)

So Bert came into my office a few minutes ago to tell me that he told Rufus that people who voted for Bush must have done so for one of three reasons. I can't remember the three that he listed but they were something like ignorance, greed, or pure evil.

I just sort of said, "Oh, god," and covered my face with my hands.

Then another coworker, Kristin, came in, and I happen to know she's a Republican, and Bert started to repeat this to her, and I said, "All right, if you guys are going to argue politics, don't do it in my office."

Kristin wasn't into continuing the argument, but Bert was determined to at least make his few points. Ultimately I got very serious and yelled at him (not that loudly, but definitely yelling) to get out. In fact I walked up to where he was standing, forcing him to leave. I was actually pretty angry.

"You can talk to her somewhere else," I said.

"But she's not leaving," he said.

"I'm sure she'll leave sometime and you can find her then," I said.

Kristin and I laughed about it afterwards. Our boss overheard it and thought it was funny. But I do feel bad, and hope Bert is not too pissed off at me, because, after all, he's one of my favorite people here, even if he does enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing.


Sally said...

It always seems especially cringe-worthy when it's somebody you broadly agree with who acts like this...being aggressively argumentative in wanting to make what is ultimately an asinine point.

And didn't he leave out "apathetic" and "authoritarian" as possible motivations? But people seem to love coming up with exactly three reasons for things in situations like this.

Tam said...

I talked to Kristin later, and apparently the three things were ignorance, greed, and fear. What's odd is that it's rather easy to characterize any decision or belief as being based on those three things.

Do you favor universal health coverage? You must be afraid of not being able to see a doctor. Or you're greedy because you want the government to pay for your medical care. Or you're ignorant because if you weren't you'd know the government can't solve every problem.

(Try this with any position you agree with.)

Jason Galbraith said...

I don't know how, but I got roped into discussing politics with my co-workers recently, and it's been a disaster, frankly. Perhaps I'll explain more in an e-mail.