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WaPo: Looking for a Job in the Administration

Posted By Seth Tanner, Monday, April 13, 2009
The Washington Post's Ian Shapira wrote a must-read last week about former campaign workers moving to DC to look for a job in the Administration.

"Flocking to the District's creative-class encampments of Mount Pleasant, the U Street corridor and Dupont and Logan circles, people in their 20s and 30s -- those, that is, with a liberal bent -- are prowling progressive Wiki pages and joining Google groups in the hunt for an Obama job. Those already employed elsewhere are secretly uploading their résumés to, while others are quitting their jobs to concentrate on the search.

Some are deft anglers: Melody Mathews, 29, a former Obama field worker-turned-Navy contractor, co-hosted a celebratory dinner recently at Old Ebbitt Grill that included top Army brass with whom she campaigned. Her hope is that they will get presidential appointments and, in turn, hire her. Others, such as Noland Chambliss, 25, a former Obama deputy field director, are in come-down mode. He applied for a position in the Energy Department but hasn't heard anything for months. So he has applied for a job at a pizza shop near his shared house off U Street NW."

Something to keep in mind, there were comparable numbers of Obama campaign staff to the number of government positions that could be filled by non-civil service. Add in non-OFA, but allied staff, and the numbers are not in the favor of the job seeker. Many of these non-civil service jobs do not relate well to campaign skills, since they are highly policy based.

A word of advice to those of you with your heart set on working in the Administration:  Don't forget that President Obama will be in office until January 20th, 2013, and at the rate he (and the potential opposition) is going, January 20th, 2017.  That leaves 4, if not 8 years, to get the chance to serve.  There will be time for many people to start in Administration jobs years down the line. 

So, in the meantime, try finding some jobs at organizations that will help support the President's agenda or help maintain the majority in Congress.  Administration jobs have a notoriously high burn-out rate, and you'll have time to serve at some point, if not today.  And if you are growing your skillsets and network in other roles, you'll be in a better position for a better job when your turn comes.

Tags:  job seeking  networking  white house 

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