Working in politics isn’t for the faint of heart. From an outside perspective, politics looks exhausting and not a path many people want to go down. As someone who didn’t grow up in a political family, politics wasn’t exactly something I saw myself doing for a living. Now that I do work in politics, I wanted to see what keeps people away for good. Here are 10 reasons why people don’t want to work in politics.
Heated debate and conflict.
People have told me they want to avoid the drama that comes with working in politics and worrying that their reputation might be at risk working in this field. I can say that it’s easy to avoid your reputation being ruined, but I won’t deny that there isn’t drama. . In fact, there is drama in every field of work you will ever be in. If you think middle school was bad, just wait until you’re “adulting.” Confrontations happen and normally in a very respectful way behind closed doors. This is just the purpose of politics, trying to find common ground, but also defending your position.
Lack of upward mobility.
It’s true, moving up in politics is hard. Working at a local level makes it a little more difficult because there is definitely only so far you can go. Sometimes your local politicians will run for a national office and if they win, you will likely get to go with them and that does mean moving up however, sometimes moving up in politics means moving out and going on to something else like lobbying.
People are often worried about election times and losing their job if their boss loses their election. That’s definitely a fair concern to have, especially when a lot of the people you could work for only have 2 year terms. However, politics is definitely a “hire from within” community so if your political party loses the governorship, but gained seats in the House or Senate on your state level, you will likely easily find a job there.
A lot of people think there is a lot of money in politics and there is, but not for the people doing the groundwork and it depends on where you are living. Majority of the time, you will be working a normal job but also doing campaign work on the side to make that extra money. But there are jobs where you can get paid a pretty decent amount.
A lot of politics doesn’t happen in the normal 9am-5pm hours. There’s a lot of political activities that require late hours and working weekends. This is a very real thing especially during campaign season or if you work in state or national politics in the office of an elected official, you will likely be staying late on for budget talks or late night voting sessions.
Being a people person.
If you don’t like people, this might not be the field for you. Our job is talking to people all day every day. If you enjoy sitting at a desk and working with little interaction, this might not be the field for you.
On call at all times.
You might sleep, but politics doesn’t. There are many issues that arise during campaign season and in a 24 hour news cycle so sometimes you are up into the wee hours working on a website or a press release. There are leaks and scandals so it can be kind of difficult to unplug at times. You have to be used to being on your phone at inappropriate times.
Being unsure of yourself or not being competitive.
Politics is all about trying to argue your point, win a campaign, or get a bill passed. When arguing, you have to come in with confidence and be sure of yourself. If that isn’t for you, it might not be the best fit for you.
Not feeling like you have a way in/networking.
It is all about who you know when you come into politics. Not having any association with people before you graduate or start looking for a job within the field can be difficult. Political circles run small, but they run deep. Once you’re in, you’ve found the people who will always look out for you and they become good friends. Make sure you’re networking in order to have that “in.”
Fear of alienation of family/friends.
It’s scary when you enter politics, especially when your politics are at odds with what your family and friends believe. For me, I don’t talk politics with my friends or family unless I’m asked. Even then, I only respond if I want to and feel like talking about it. It’s a mutual understanding that sometimes I just want to leave work at work.