Buy the book!
There's an easy way to get an instant raise on any political job, a hidden bit of knowledge that will give you thousands of dollars at your next job offer, buying and reading this book will give you that nugget. Buy the book now, to learn how to make more working a job in politics that you love. Tips, ideas and suggestions can be sent to:

Friday, April 29, 2011

How do you pay the bills when the campaign stops?

When the campaign ends, the spending stops.

When that is the first week in November and you're exhausted from the chaos of the campaign, that can be a serious problem.  Many businesses don't do hiring during Thanksgiving and then also don't hire during the Christmas season.  So, the campaign ends and you have precious little time to find another job.

The question then becomes, how do you pay the bills when the campaign stops?

Many people have other jobs they can return to, or college classes to start attending again.  If you lack savings and don't have relatives or parents to rely on, you can be hard-pressed when the campaign ends.

The low-class thing to do is to use the last weeks of the campaign looking for other work.  This isn't abnormal, but it's bad form.  It looks bad to those who know what you're doing.

Figure out your budget, what do you need to survive.  A good plan if you don't have savings or another job, is to take any job that meets your basic budget for a few months after the campaign ends.  That way you're working, and you can pay your bills.  Don't rely on, or expect, the campaign to give benefits, bonuses or even a job after the campaign ends.  Even if they've promised to do so, it very well may be an empty promise.

When the campaign ends, so does your paycheck.  Be prepared to transition quickly to something else to pay your bills.  Search for work in the last weeks of the campaign at home, after hours.  Don't let other people notice your job search, otherwise you'll make a bad impression on the people around you.

Learn these skills and more, by buying the book "Getting a Job in Politics, and Keeping it" by Ben Wetmore, right away.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Biggest Media Firms on both sides

The Washington Post made a nice graph showing the largest political media outfits in the past election. If the media is your area of political interest, perhaps you can use this graph to find places to apply and use it to start your career in politics.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When you hear the phrase “that may work elsewhere, but our district is different.”

Just laugh to yourself and stick to your plan.

Every place is different than every other place.  Especially as an outsider, the locals want to signal authority to you by gently reminding you that you're an outsider.

Politics is always local, but many of the skills and tactics are universal.  The issues aren't so hyper-regionalized that you can't learn them quickly.  The important people aren't that hard to figure out.  The social dynamics in most places are pretty straightforward.

Don't be deterred by people telling you that you "don't know" a local area.  It also means that you approach it from an entirely objective view.  It means that you might see opportunities they'd overlook.

Said another way, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

Trust your gut, and don't let the locals push you around too much.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Five things to put in the trunk of the candidate if you’re the driver

1. Water bottles
2. An extra cell phone battery and extra car charger
3. Paper, spiral and pens
4. Campaign donation material
5. Sign-up sheets and nametags
If you really want to go the extra mile, here are five more:
1. Neck pillow
2. Voice recorder
3. Laptop battery and charger
4. Universal USB cord
5. Their favorite moderately healthy snack, i.e. trail mix or crackers
Three more that are usually unnecessary but are still good:
1. Name and phone numbers of the top 100 donors
2. Battery-powered amp and microphone
3. Reply envelopes for the campaign

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Not everyone’s a fundraiser, though everyone says they are.

I've said many times in the book and here that having fundraising experience is always valuable no matter where you're working.  However, many people claim to have this experience.  It can be quite frustrating to show that you really raised the money you claimed, or that those who have endless fundraising opinions but have never raised a dime, aren't correct when they give bad advice.

Make sure you, and your organization, take advice from people with real, proven experience.

Most don't have real experience.  They'll say "I know how to fundraise" because they've donated many times.  This doesn't mean they know how to put a program together or can handle all the minutiae involved.  And the involvement of unprofessional people can steer you in entirely wrong directions, wasting precious time.

Make sure those involved have actual, real fundraising experience and aren't just running a line on your organization.  As well, be careful about making the same mistake yourself, and keep your advice limited to those areas you truly have experience with.  If you're unfamiliar with direct mail, don't think that only telemarketing is the way to go.  In business this is called "empire building" where people build up their divisions because it's what they control and what they know.

You want to promote what's right for the campaign, not just what you happen to be good at.  Focus on your strengths, and be humble enough to go with what works even if that means you have to learn a new skill set.  And be wary of those who claim experience and credentials in fundraising when there's no track record behind them.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What to do on a campaign after you’ve done something wrong

First of all, don’t panic. 

It's easy to overstate the impact of something wrong.  Get calm, take a few minutes or hours to let the emotions and adrenaline pass and rationally assess the situation.

Assess the severity.  Determine whether you made a conscious choice that was wrong.  There's being wrong about the amount of pizza to order for volunteers, and a moral wrong like stealing from the donations.  Not all wrongs are equal.  Make sure you're rationally assessing how wrong your mistake was.

A good way is to ask a trusted relative who lives in a different state.  They are trustworthy and if they mention something to a friend, it won't come back to haunt you.  Find out from an outside source if your violation or problem is as serious as you think it is.

When you're calm, and you've assessed the severity of the situation, talk to your superior.  This might seem like it's dangerous, but it's always more dangerous for them to find out bad things about you from someone else.  It's always going to be a better situation if you self-disclose any mistakes or problems.

You might be surprised how forgiving most places will be, everyone's made workplace mistakes before, and often they're correctable or understandable.  The only thing that's usually not forgivable are mistakes involving dishonesty.  Short of major deception, you're likely to be forgiven or lightly reprimanded.

It's also key here to be 1) self reflective and honest about your own mistakes, not to be defensive at all, and 2) to be sincere about not making the mistake in the future.

And if they ask you to resign, offer to do so.  Tell them you'll learn from this and keep a positive attitude.  If you demonstrate the right mindset even as you depart a place on bad terms, it won't haunt you later.  People will respect you if you can stay classy about leaving.

The best solution is to avoid doing something wrong, but problems can easily arise.  Quick, thorough and serious self-disclosure can often save your job.  If you can't save your job, you can transition to another one much more easily if you handle it the right way.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Interviewing with the candidate versus a staffer

Often, the decision-maker you think runs the show at a campaign or in an organization, is really just the showpiece and someone's running things behind the scenes.  It can be difficult as an outsider to know who is really calling the shots, and whom you're really trying to impress.

Part of the complication arises in that the decision-maker might delegate that decision to a lower staffer.  As an example, you might be interviewing with the entry-level staffer who isn't the hiring manager (the person with the final authority to hire you) but the hiring manager will trust their judgement from the interview and support whatever decision you make.

It's tough to know who you should be impressing.

Therefore, the answer is to try and impress everyone.  And always assume that anyone can sink your nomination, because often times anyone can.  It may be tempting to overlook the receptionist, but he or she might be the child of a major donor, and if they dislike you, can torpedo your chances before they begin.

Always aim to impress everyone in an office.  Don't ask who the final hiring manager is, just assume that whomever you're meeting with is the final decision-maker.  Often, however, they aren't.  If you find out that someone is the final hiring manager and you don't want to waste your time on the underlings, though, you're making a major mistake.  Follow their process and work hard at impressing everyone, especially whomever you're interviewing with and always treat the interviewer with respect.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Self-improvement: Learning about non-profits

In the book, which you can buy here, there's an emphasis on 1) personal self-improvement on 2) specific skill-sets that are useful to political jobs.  As well, there's an encouragement to see the field of politics as wider than merely campaign jobs.

Perhaps the largest employer of potential political jobs are non-profits.  Non-profits range in political action and activity, and partisan affiliation, but most engage the political process in substantial ways.

If you want to pursue this career track, then, it's important to become more of an expert on the topic.  Blue Avocado is a good site for information, current issues and discussion on issues relating to non-profits.  As you become more of an expert, this site helps you look knowledgeable and current on issues relevant to non-profits.

Learn these skills and more, by buying the book "Getting a Job in Politics, and Keeping it" by Ben Wetmore, right away.