I have been involved in politics since my freshman year of college when I campaigned for Mitt Romney. From there, I’ve only gotten more deep in the movement. But things changed when I moved from the campus activism and campaign side of things into the heart of politics and being involved in every facet of this world. Here are 10 things I’ve learned. 

Network. 

The only reason I got my job was because I had connected with the right people during my time throughout college and had proven myself to them. Politics is 100% about who you know, not what you know. Politics might seem like a big world, but everybody knows everybody, which can be both a good and a bad thing. Remember that. 

Word travels fast.

When something happens in the political world, that word gets around in about 2.5 seconds. You’d be amazed at how quickly political operatives work to control a narrative that hasn’t technically reached the public yet.

Everything is calculated.

There is no such thing as a mistake in politics. Something doesn’t just magically happen or come out in the news on its own. Everything from when bills are introduced to the withholding of information during Senate hearings and even to what sign is placed where during election season. Everything has a purpose.

Loyalty is key.

Loyalty is imperative in politics. Sticking with the person you’re campaigning for or working for is something that is a given, but this means your loyalty is with this person through thick and thin. When you given them your word, you abide by that. Do not ever bad-mouth your boss in public or in front of others. People have gotten fired for doing so. 

There is no such thing as an average work day.

Every day is different, presented with different tasks and challenges. Sometimes I can work from home because not much is going on. Sometimes, I am at work from 7:30am until 9:30 pm or later. This is just the nature of politics. Make sure you have lots of caffeine and snacks on hand.

Kill everyone with kindness but be genuine when you do it.

When someone calls your office upset with something your candidate or boss did, don’t yell back or get frustrated. Just say something like “I understand your concern and I will be sure to let so and so know that you called.” Listen to people’s concerns even when they’re on their soapbox. 

Respect is earned.

Don’t get me wrong, people are respectful around the workplace, but if you’re new, don’t expect many of your ideas to stick or for everyone to see you as an expert. You have to earn the respect of the people around you. Part of that respect is calling people by their elected titles in front of others; for example, I never call my boss by his first name in front of others, his name is Representative _________ when I address him.

Just because you go home doesn’t mean you stop representing your boss/campaign/political party.

When you work in politics, you are a constant representative of what or who you represent. If people see you in public, they will likely recognize you by thinking “oh hey, that’s the person I saw working for __________.” If you’re doing something that could make you or your boss look bad, it might not go so well for you.

Finding the people you trust is essential.

There are few people who I trust with my life in this world and some of them work in politics alongside me. Often times, these are the people who you can talk to about work stuff especially when confidential things can’t leave the office. Politics is like having a big family, but the people who can trust are like siblings. These people will get you through the hardest days.

Don’t burn bridges.

This is probably one of the most important things I have learned. Luckily, I didn’t learn this through experience but rather the nature of the job. When I left my old job in activism, I gave a proper two week notice and I continued to support their efforts. I still keep in contact with the people I used to work with because they played such a role in where I am today. Always remain friendly with the people you used to work with or maybe have met a few times, but don’t work with. You never know who you might end up working for. Don’t burn bridges. 

There are many more lessons I have learned during my time in politics, but these are the most important. Don’t forget to work hard with a smile on your face. That’s the winning attitude we must all approach politics with.

Politics isn’t easy, but I promise it’s worth it.

Caroline C.
FFL Cabinet Member
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