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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Watch how they fire other people

Campaigns and Political Organizations often fire lots of people. In my experience at least half of employee departures weren't voluntary.

And you can tell a lot about a place by how it lets people go.

The person being let go once passed an interview. You likely worked alongside this person for a while. They were part of the team, and now they're not.

How do they get let go?

Most places are very low-class about terminations. They're downright ugly. They surprise people, they don't offer severance. I've known places that refuse reimbursements that were pending at the time of separation, or challenged items on a corporate credit card from the previous month. I've seen places purposefully fire people during certain times of the year so they would have a harder time finding a job. There was a place in DC that purposefully paid people barely enough to live on, and then fired them at the drop of a hat. They were an abusive organization, and they were exceedingly well-funded, with an eight-figure annual budget.

People can be ugly on the way out. And if you're still within the organization, make no mistake, they will likely treat you the exact same way on your way out.

The best advice I can give you if you're in that situation, or worried that you might be in that situation:
1- Always keep your resume ready
2- Always have a plan

Your plan should be simple: what skills do I uniquely have, and what places might hire me for those skills. What is my 'highest use' and the best source of employment. Have that list made before you get separated from a campaign or organization, because in the emotional turmoil of starting over, it will help keep you focused and disciplined to move forward.

Wherever you're working right now, ask yourself "how does working here help me in the long run" - what kind of other jobs does it set you up for, and what kind of groups and leaders can take notice of your good works? I had been working a job for two months and was offered two better jobs because someone who noticed me in that position now realized I was perfect for other positions. I declined the offer, but he would not have offered that job to me before. He took notice of me because I was doing a great job, working hard, and had potential. Working hard at your current position will get you noticed, and you should try and leverage that to always keep your options open, and make those opportunities work within the plan of where you want to be.

Keep your resume ready, and always have a plan.

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