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: workinpolitics@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Handling complaints in a campaign or organization

Handling complaints and naysayers in the political arena have parallels to business. The various archetypes are often the same, with meek people compared to the very aggressive complainers. Politics is high-pressure and people take everything too personally. Complaints are necessary to improve, but can also kill morale. Handle them correctly.

This publication helps assess which kind you're dealing with in the moment, and provides the best way to respond to complaints.

Let me give you a few basic pointers though, both for those of you running a team, and those of you working within a team:

1) Don't complain in front of the group, it kills morale
2) Constantly solicit and offer new ideas, but don't take it personally if they aren't acted upon
3) Always be ready to fix the problem you identify, or be ready to start a project you propose
4) Keep things in the chain of command, you'll almost always be glad you did
5) Don't gossip. Don't be around when others are gossiping. If you hear juicy gossip and can't keep it a secret, tell it to someone who lives more than two states away.
6) Complaining without offering solutions is whining. Always offer a potential solution, focus on fixing a problem not just identifying it. Be a problem-solver.

These are but a few small ideas to keep in mind when offering complaints and suggestions in a political environment.


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

Friday, August 19, 2011

Three crazy things that happen with candidates

There are many crazy things that can happen on campaigns. You can run into interesting people, get weird requests from donors, and have all sorts of personalities to deal with.

Three common ones that can come up, which can be tough to deal with, are:

1. Out-of-control Spouses

A candidate's spouse is often overinvolved or underinvolved. They either want to do everything and micromanage everything, or they never want to be involved. It's tough to balance your relationship with the campaign and the candidate's relationship with their spouse. You're trying to help them get elected, and it's tough to do that when a spouse is often giving conflicting advice or second-guessing much of what you want to do. Here are a few universal truths, though. a) Never say anything bad about the spouse to anyone. This will always get back to them, and sour your relationship with them. b) Never put something negative about the spouse in writing, it will get found. c) Always be respectful and courteous to the spouse, even if you disagree. Treat them with respect. d) You will never persuade the candidate to go against their spouse's strong advice, so work around problems that come up, not through them. Don't try to win arguments against the spouse. Especially on subjective issues, let them have their way. Let them win the arguments that don't matter. Pick your battles very carefully. e) If the spouse is involved, keep them in your orbit. Don't let them give competing advice when you're not around, you won't know what's being said and it'll be more hostile and critical of you if you're absent. Manage this relationship well because you can create a lot of problems if it goes poorly.

2. Past indiscretions by your candidate

The proverbial "skeletons in the closet" is something everyone worries about. There are past drug convictions, DUI's and other surprises that can derail a good campaign. Your efforts can be greatly affected by surprises that you don't have any control over. Unless you're a senior person, don't worry about this. If you find out about gossip or scandal, keep it to yourself and don't spread it. Don't swap stories with other people or campaigns. If you're running a low-level campaign and you're worrying about some scandalous thing coming out, take comfort in the fact that most past issues for low-level candidates are uninteresting to the media. There are 40,000 elected positions across the country, and the things that seem salacious to you are likely not newsworthy. Your best bet is to focus, ignore the gossip, and if you hear anything just keep it to yourself.

3. Misprioritization

It's easy to get unfocused during a campaign. You should be focused on votes and money, but instead you get dragged into gossip, yard signs, and fighting over past election cycles with people. Your candidate feels those same pressures and even more so, they have people coming up to them giving unsolicited advice, asking oddball questions and saying all sorts of crazy things. It takes just one old guy to say "why haven't I seen enough yard signs from you?" for your candidate to forget your wisdom and decision to avoid costly yard signs, and instead focus on how much they're needed. Your candidate thinks, "well, if Crazy Old Bob wants yard signs, no doubt everyone else does and just aren't saying anything!" One person can get your candidate off-track and distracted on things that don't matter. The only thing that matters is votes and money. Keeping your candidate on track can also be difficult, because you end up sounding like a nag and not a font of wisdom. Keep your candidate focused on what matters: 1) money, 2) votes, 3) days to the election.



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

Friday, August 12, 2011

Donors who give to multiple candidates

Donors are not always faithful, sometimes they give to
multiple candidates to hedge their bets, to preserve
their ability to get access to elected officials.
The wonderful and useful site Open Secrets has an interesting report on donors who give to multiple candidates. From the viewpoint of those entering politics, it can often seem odd as to why people donate large sums of money. It's always of keen interest because those people make all the magic happen. But the donor class isn't the same as the activist class. Donors are motivated by prestige, access and names whereas the activists are more about ideas and the game of politics. Donors and activists don't think alike, or approach politics in the same way. As you enter and engage politics, understanding the donor mindset can help you finance a campaign, organization or political project, but as this report demonstrates, donors aren't always motivated by the same passions as those working for these candidates.



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

Friday, August 5, 2011

Job follow-up - be assertive and not aggressive

It's frustrating to get a job, but even more so in politics. You're passionate about a candidate or cause, and now you've applied and haven't heard back. The waiting can be frustrating.

It's important to remember that your application leads to an interview and the interview leads to a job offer. If you want to work somewhere, you have to ace all three things: the application, interview and offer.

FDR was passing through Galveston one day, and a fresh Congressman,
Lyndon Johnson, went out to meet him. Johnson was assertive but
not aggressive, and got a commitment from Roosevelt for political
favor. Johnson asked to be on the Appropriations Committee, but
FDR said "that'd have to wait." LBJ was assertive, but not aggressive.
What I'm about to tell you applies primarily after you've done a successful interview. After you've sent in your materials and they like you, after you interview and they like you, and you're waiting... waiting... waiting... what's taking them so long? The interview went great, where's your job offer?

If you bought the book, you already know to send a thank you note immediately after an interview. It's classy, it sets you apart, and no one does it. If you haven't bought the book, do it now and find all the other tips you're missing out on.

Remember that they likely interviewed several other people. There might be many other people who have to "sign off" or agree to your hire. Hiring can be a bureaucratic process, so keep your patience. You also want to show firmness, though, and if more than 2-3 business days have gone by after your interview and you haven't heard anything, it's entirely appropriate to email them and say thanks, and also ask when  they might have a decision or know more. You want to be assertive, but not aggressive.

If you demand to know, or try to play hardball and say that you have other offers, you will look horrible. No doubt you're reading this right now saying "that's horrible, I'd never do that" but in the heat of the moment, when you're anxious and frustrated, foolish things like that will make sense.

Resist the temptation to be uppity and instead stay assertive and not aggressive. Show calm, patience and class, and you'll make a good impression.

Assertive, and not aggressive.



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