Four years ago, I wanted to make a shift in my career path. I had been working in, on, or around campaigns since college and wanted to see what other opportunities were out there. I ended up working for a non-profit, but no matter where I interviewed, I always got the same question…
How is your political campaign experience relevant to our work?
My simple answer is, for lack of a better term, we’re built different.
There’s a mentality that comes with campaign work that I’ve not experienced anywhere else. The deadlines are faster, the focus on quality is higher, any typos or screw ups are scrutinized, dissected, and ridiculed by anyone watching, and trust me: there’s always someone watching.
Early mornings and late nights become standard fare as time grows shorter and the pressure increases. We get started on the job with sometimes months to go before the deadline, working on everything from preparing a candidate for the public eye, crafting an impactful narrative, bringing in money to keep the lights on, and pitching media – all to make the case to 50% + 1 voters to cast a ballot in favor of that individual.
And oh yeah, that 50% +1 group? Could be hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions depending on the race.
On the campaign trail, every single day brings with it opportunities and challenges, chances to gain and lose votes, to bring in more money or make a race-changing mistake. The difference between the good and the bad is simple: attention to detail, preparation, and perseverance.
So how is our background in politics relevant? Because it instills a work ethic second to none. Because it demands precision and execution in high pressure situations. Because we need to understand the way the world works, we are ready to react to surprises, and we have to find the best way to get to yes day in and day out.
Quite simply, we’re built different.