I received the following email from a client the other day:
Thanks Adam. I have just one other question . . . Al Franken?
I had been answering some questions for this client, and this was the reply I received. This is a good client for us (not from Minnesota), a very nice person, and I have no desire (or reason) to sow any kind of ill will here. I am probably running a small risk by even publishing this email and discussing it in this blog (my boss said he was looking at it recently, although it's probable that he won't read anymore because he was bored by what he read). But I think it represents an interesting dilemma, especially for us "Minnesota Nice" folks who have been taught not to discuss politics or religion under almost any circumstances.
Where do we draw the line when it comes to discussing non-business matters with clients? Or co-workers? I have strong feelings about Sen. Al Franken, and have friends who worked on the campaign. I have strong feelings regarding former Sen. Norm Coleman as well. Obviously, a meandering rant on the evils of Coleman is not an appropriate response to the email from my client. Above all, I desire to remain professional, and to maintain what has always been a good relationship with this client. At the same time, I do feel compelled to take this opportunity to outline some of the qualities that I like about Sen. Franken, and why I was very proud to vote for him. It would be a bit of Political Evangelism, if you will.
But is that necessary? What's wrong with just leaving well enough alone? And do you know what is disturbing me the most about this? What can't I think of something hilarious and appropriate to send back to her?
I welcome any input others might have on the issue. Remember, this is a paying client, who could do great damage to me professionally if they wanted to, in response to some sort of snide or inappropriate remark by me. What would you do in a case like this?