Newspaper article Roll Call

6 Ways Your Campaign Job Is Different from Your Hill Job

Newspaper article Roll Call

6 Ways Your Campaign Job Is Different from Your Hill Job

Article excerpt

It's inevitable for most Capitol Hill staffers: At some point, you will be on a campaign. Maybe it's by choice, or maybe it's coerced; it could be three days or three weeks.

You might move across the country, and you might be sleeping in your parents' guest bedroom. Whatever the circumstances, a time will come when you leave the marble halls of Congress for the brave outdoors of the campaign trail.

Despite the twin nature of campaigns and Congress, the workplace environments have little resemblance. Before the culture shock sets in (and since this is a nonelection year, you have a little time), here are six tips on how your campaign job might differ from your Hill job. And here's hoping that the better prepared you are, the better experience you'll have.

1. On a campaign, there's no line between work and home. Often this is because you don't have a home, as many campaign staffers rely on supporter housing. This means you're in someone's basement or guest bedroom or fold-out futon. When you're on a campaign, the blurry line between work and home is eliminated. You're there to win. And winners work all the time.

2. It's you vs. the elements. Gone are the heating and cooling systems that keep the House and Senate office buildings at a perfect room temperature all year round. Gone are the days of sitting in an ergonomically appropriate chair, working on a computer with a 24- inch screen, and calling IT when your BlackBerry breaks. You're in campaign mode now: You're lucky to get a folding chair and card table with an outlet for your laptop. You're also going to be doing outdoor events -- from county fairs to Election Day canvassing. Dress appropriately.

3. It's you and your co-workers. Unless you are working on the hometown campaign where your family and friends live, your campaign team is your new social life. …

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