Blog Roll: How to Get a Job as a “Member of Congress”
October 20, 2008
I came across this blog posting while reading the Washington Times online. I have stayed away from just reposting other blogs but this one is great! The author compares the hiring process at a corporation to becoming a “Member of Congress.” From the application process to background screening and finally to onboarding, its a great read.
Mind you, being a member of Congress is a job. But it is a unique job, quite unlike any other one may pursue.
When you think about the process of getting a job, you tend to think about the application, the interview, the skills test, the background check and the hiring decision. However, the job of “Member of Congress” sheds an odd light on these job-seeking phases.
First, the application. Basically, this consists of deciding to run for office and filling out the necessary paperwork, after you’ve already asked people for money to fund your campaign. (Of course, you can’t tell the people who give you money that you will do specific things in office for them, but it’s understood that their interests will be addressed. That’s why they’re giving their money to you and not the other guy.)
Next, the skills test. Some businesses require an interview before testing, but the job of “member of Congress” always puts the test before the interview. The skills test is your campaign. Running an “effective” campaign proves that you can make laws that the entire country will have to obey. (I don’t know how or why. It just does.)
One of the secrets behind running an effective campaign is spending as little money as possible but as much money as necessary. To achieve this balance, you want to hire a motivated, talented and energetic staff, and then pay them nothing. Or next to nothing. You need volunteers — usually young, inexperienced students or older, savvy partisans. (Rule of thumb: The older the volunteers, the more you have to pay them — except if they are really partisan. Then they’ll pay you.)
In campaigning, you will at some point have to accost people on the street, leave pamphlets stuck in their doors and call their homes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. And you know how much we like to be accosted on the street, remove pamphlets from our doors and receive calls from strangers between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. It’s a winning strategy.
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