I’ve worked in a candy factory. I’ve worked for an agricultural conglomerate that sent me to farm facilities all over America. I worked in a consumer packaged goods factory that made shampoo/body wash/food. I worked in the insurance industry with offices throughout the country. And I’ve spent time in the pharmaceutical industry with a mix of corporate offices and drug manufacturing facilities.
This means that I’ve worked with plenty of crazy, paranoid, stupid people in my life. People who think that the Democrats want to take all of your money. People who think that the moon landing never happened. People who think that women are on the constant lookout for opportunities to have abortions. People who believe that fluoride in your water controls your thoughts.
[FYI: I like to have abortions on Tuesdays while brushing my teeth with Buzz Aldrin. In front of a green screen.]
You get the point.
The nuttiest people in the world are also your co-workers and colleagues — and damn if they don’t do a good job. For the most part. Your IT department runs fine. Your accounts payable team is on top of the issues. That bottle of shampoo you used, this morning? It was packaged in a box designed by a very smart graduate from MSU who also happens to believe that God gave him the right to shoot mourning doves — aka fancy pigeons — for food & sport.
Once someone says something crazy to me, they are dead to me. Matt Stollak and I talked about this at HR Evolution. If you are nuts in your political life, you are not a credible professional. You are bound to mess up. It’s only a matter of time. Get your crazy away from me.
What do you do if you have a crazy co-worker who spouts off crazy shit about Glenn Beck and the gold standard but is a very smart sales guy? Can you work with someone who pickets abortion clinics and is in charge of procurement in your company? And how did you manage all this talk about the rapture from a guy who is supposed to run your logistics operation?
I like people who talk about politics & social issues at work because it tells me who is competent, who understands how the world really works, and who has the common sense to shut up about really nutty point of views. We don’t have to agree on much, but we must agree that your literal interpretation of the [insert holy book] and your foremost goal of converting me to [insert religion here] and asking me to vote [for your favorite bat-shit crazy political party] have no place in a shampoo factory. And nobody is out to get you. You wish, moron.
Now can we get back to work?