Workplace dilemmas: I feel marginalised for my views about Brexit

Each month, our agony uncle responds to your concerns. This time: how to cope when you’re at odds with your colleagues over politics

Dear Tim,

I think everyone would agree that the current political situation in the UK is toxic. Tune in to the Today programme and sooner or later it will descend into a shouting match between Leavers and Remainers.

    ...I feel as if people with my views are being criticised and sidelined.  

I know I’m not alone in feeling disgusted at the way our parliamentarians have behaved in recent weeks. It is my firm belief that they have frustrated the will of the people, who voted clearly in favour of leaving the European Union more than three years ago. I believe the time for negotiation is passed, and we must get on with the business of exiting.

I appreciate that not everyone shares my views. I’m always careful about articulating them too stridently, as Brexit is one of the most divisive subjects I’ve encountered in my lifetime.

But I’ve noticed something about where I work, and it’s really beginning to get me down. I feel as if I’m the only one who isn’t in favour of Remain, which means I’m doubly reluctant to express my opinions.

To be honest, it’s more than that. The people I work with are very much of the opinion that anyone who voted to leave the EU is an idiot or a racist – or both. They think that Boris Johnson is the worst prime minister ever and are extremely vocal in dismissing his strategy to deliver Brexit by the end of October.

By implication, I feel as if people with my views are being criticised and sidelined. Even when I gently suggest that there is an alternative view on the topic, my contribution is closed down with a roll of the eyes and a cutting phrase about being bigoted or selfish because I’m unconcerned about the impact of leaving the EU on the poorest members of society.

But here’s the thing. I voted to leave because I thought it would make things better for everyone in the UK. I’m not opposed to immigration and I don’t have any jingoistic notions that Brexit will restore the empire. I just feel that it’s the right thing to do, especially since it was settled upon democratically by a referendum. And I’m fed up with being made to feel silly, thoughtless or uncaring because of views that I’ve reached after careful consideration and a lot of research.

Tim says:

You’re right, we are in the midst of one of the most divided periods of the modern political age. In his book How Democracy Ends, the political scientist David Runciman describes our current situation as a blip, much like those experienced by all the great democracies in the passage of time.

    ...the political scientist David Runciman describes our current situation as a blip, much like those experienced by all the great democracies in the passage of time.  

But blip or not, that doesn’t stop political discourse having a rather unsavoury character just now. We might say that this is a healthy sign of the freedoms we are privileged to take for granted in the western world: the freedom to express our views in an honest way, without fear of sanction or recrimination.

From what you’re saying, you don’t feel as if you can participate in this freedom to the same extent as your colleagues. This is always a danger of a liberal political worldview: it can quickly become surprisingly conservative in its unwillingness to countenance views that it doesn’t find acceptable.

Witness the furore in 2009 about BNP leader Nick Griffin being invited to speak on the BBC’s Question Time. The issue here was that people committed to the freedom of speech didn’t extend that commitment as far as someone whose views they found abhorrent.

Compared to Mr Griffin, your views are by no means extreme. But in a workplace context where a more pro-European mindset dominates, you’re clearly being made to feel as if your ideas are unacceptable. That’s simply not justified: you’re entitled to your opinions, and should feel as if you have the freedom to voice them, and not be marginalised for holding them.

My advice would be to have a chat with your line manager about how you’re feeling. They may be able to issue a general reminder to colleagues that it pays to be sensitive when expressing views about controversial political topics. This shouldn’t be personalised, but just a gentle nudge to remember that not everyone will see the world as they do.

Alternatively, you could try expressing your views with more confidence. From what you’ve said, you have resisted speaking too openly about your take on this subject, through fear of being ostracised. But you may find that you’re not alone, that others around you feel the same and are just waiting for someone to express their opinion. According to a ComRes poll, 54 per cent of people believe the 2016 referendum result should be honoured – putting you firmly in the majority.

That’s small comfort if you feel isolated in your working environment, of course. But either way, it pays to have confidence that your opinion is as deserving of expression as those of your colleagues. And the most important thing of all is to keep dialogue, discussion and healthy disagreement alive.

If not, as you rightly point out, all we’re left with is a shouting match.

Published: 12 September 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Workplace dilemmas: I think my colleague has fallen for me

You may also enjoy: How to create your company’s environmental strategy

Jobs currently available

New job
Transport Administrator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 912317
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting, a transport and logistics business, based on the outskirts of Colchester – that is looking to add a Transport Administrator to its existing team.

The key element of the role is to assist with the transport plan and ensure that the customer journey throughout the organisation is as smooth as possible, dealing with any issues as they arise and preparing all required documentation. You will be providing all admin support in a competent and confident manner.

Key duties include:

  • Carry out the data entry of information onto the relevant system, identifying and resolving any discrepancies
  • Prepare all documentation relating to the movement/transportation of goods in an accurate and efficient manner to deliver high customer service levels
  • Communicate effectively and in a timely manner to all relevant external and internal clients to maintain the key flow of information
  • Answer and direct queries promptly and in a professional manner providing accurate information to ensure excellent customer service is being delivered
  • Complete general administrative duties in an efficient and effective manner to deliver a world-class service
  • Maintain relevant system by accurately inputting the required data, in addition to checking and reconciling data where appropriate and identifying and resolving any discrepancies to ensure 100% accuracy
  • Update, produce and communicate all business KPI’s to monitor service delivery levels
  • Work as part of a team and participate in cross-training initiatives to provide effective cover in a colleague’s absence
  • Operate a high standard of general housekeeping and work in a safe manner complying with all health and safety regulations in order to maintain a clean, safe and tidy working environment

This is an excellent opportunity to join a business offering a competitive package, further training and development.

Free parking is available on site.

Due to the nature of the business - working hours are from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm - (some flexibility if offered).

Read more
New job
Sales Account Manager
Sector: Sales
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 912312
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-regarded and long-standing business based on the outskirts of Colchester – that is looking to recruit a sales-driven Sales Account Manager to its existing, successful team.

As an Account Manager, your dynamic role will be to generate and grow revenues across the company's commercial portfolio via digital, social media, audio, video sponsorships and printed magazines.

You will be a fundamental member of its well-supported, creative team and will have a crucial role in promoting the organisation, developing new accounts, growing existing relationships and delivering high-quality, targeted advertising solutions to a range of clients and agencies.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • To proactively represent the commercial proposition to clients and agencies with creative solutions and deliver revenue growth
  • Effectively manage a portfolio of clients and introduce new clients to the business
  • Create bespoke multi-channel proposals to meet clients' needs with a strong focus on digital solutions
  • Close and secure proposals with clients via phone, email and video calls
  • Help ensure campaigns are delivered correctly and on time with the help of the digital production department

About you:

  • Successful sales experience and preferably within media and publishing but not essential
  • Passion for digital media and creative thinking
  • Proven ability to work successfully both within a team and autonomously
  • Strong communicator - able to build appropriate rapport easily at all levels.
  • Engaging and open. Ability to bring relevant debate to the table
  • Motivated and driven to hit predefined targets
  • Great customer service/relation skills
  • The ability to manage and prioritise your workload and take ownership of all assigned tasks and deliver within set deadlines
  • Quick learner and adaptable
Read more
New job
Account Manager
Sector: Sales
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 912107
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-established business based in Witham looking to add an Account Manager to its existing team.

You will be responsible for increasing revenue, profit and taking more market share of training and services provided to the end user.

Duties include:

  • Continue to build and maintain relationships with clients, key internal managers and external suppliers showing your ability to grow your individual account territories
  • Drive, maintain and grow your dedicated territories
  • Maintain and manage your allocated trainer's diary
  • Work towards and achieve company sales targets and KPIs
  • Plan and organise and implement outbound call schedule

Experience required:

  • Proven track record in an Account Manager role – preferably within the dental industry
  • Demonstrable experience in protecting and growing accounts to deliver against the target
  • Excellent knowledge of Microsoft computer packages including Word, Excel and Outlook

Other details for this role:

  • 3 days in the office and 2 working from home after training
  • No cold calling
  • Commission paid per quarter if targets are hit
Read more
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 912310
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-established business based in Sudbury looking to add a Secretary to its existing team.

The role will be based in the Conveyancing Department and will involve assisting the lawyer, audio typing, preparing documents, answering the phone, dealing with enquiries and assisting clients.

Key responsibilities to include:

  • Audio typing
  • Preparing letters and drafting documents
  • Handling diaries and booking appointments
  • Answering the phone and dealing with queries
  • Witnessing documents
  • ID checks
  • General secretarial duties

For this position, you will have:

  • Experience in a secretarial position.
  • Experience within the law sector would be advantageous.
  • You will have audio typing experience and excellent typing skills.
  • You will need to have a good level of IT literacy.
  • Experience in Word is essential and Excel would be useful.
  • Pride in your work.

Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm.

Read more
Multi Spindle Automatic Lathe Operator (Rotating shift)
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree, Essex
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 912307
About the role

Just Recruitment has an exciting opportunity for an individual to join a company’s Multi Spindle Automatic lathe(s) cell, running and setting various Multi Spindle Automatic lathes. These are CAM Autos, not CNC.

Hours of work:
4 day working week

Early shift:
Tuesday to Thursday, 06:00 to 16:30.

Friday 06:00 to 15:30.

Late shift:
Monday to Wednesday, 11:30 to 22:00.

Thursday, 11:30 to 21:00.


Working as part of a small team responsible for the safe operation of multi-spindle automatic lathes in accordance with the tools list and work instructions.

Loading bars, setting and operating to meet the desired quantities, conducting in-process inspection, checking against drawings and specifications to ensure accurate production to the highest standards.


  • Able to set and operate Multi Spindle Automatic lathes. (Non CNC).
  • Proficient in a range of measuring equipment and inspection techniques.
  • Ability to pay attention to detail.
  • Ability to apply good practical skills.
  • Ability to follow written instructions.
  • Training will be provided to add and enhance skills as required.
  • Be self-motivated and able to work well in a team.
Read more