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Working on Capitol Hill may be a dream job for some, but others may find the esoteric workplace a hard place in which to succeed. So what do you do if you decide Capitol Hill is not for you, and how long should you wait it out? Hill Navigator discusses.
I’ve been working as a Staff Assistant/Scheduler on the Hill for almost 9 months, and was an intern for 4 [months] before that. As great as this opportunity has been, it is abundantly clear that there’s no room for advancement in my current office and I hesitate to search for LC positions in other offices. After these past few months, I’ve realized that I’m not the type of person who can really do well here. I have good connections off the Hill but I also hesitate to leave so soon. How long should I remain in my current position before I seek work elsewhere?
Many things will change in the House when Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, resigns at the end of October, including employment prospects of his current staff.
According to information from LegiStorm, 67 people are listed on Boehner’s personal and leadership office payroll, most of whom will be actively looking for new positions (several are shared staff). Come Nov. 1, a handful of staffers will be retained to handle constituent casework and answer phones for the “Office of the 8th District of Ohio.” Aides can still provide constituent services, though the office is forbidden from taking on legislative work. Staffers may keep those jobs until a new member is sworn in, and he or she will decide who stays and who goes.
“What do you do if you’re being sexually harassed in your office?” one user asked Monday morning on the anonymous Capitol Hill social-networking app Cloakroom.
It prompted one person, identifying himself as a 26-year-old male working for a 40-year-old female chief of staff, to share his own situation.
“She has slapped my ass, talked about her vibrator, and has asked me sexual questions. I have ignored them but I am thinking about going to the member,” he submitted to the online community, limited to users whose GPS location is within the Capitol complex, or those who register with a staff email address. Full story
Capitol Hill looks quite different than it did 60 years ago, when Roll Call published its first issue.
The demographics have changed: Members of Congress are far more diverse, both in ethnicity and backgrounds. The neighborhood has changed: Capitol Hill has become a highly sought after residential space. And there are the offices — Roll Call documented the construction of the Rayburn and Hart buildings, plus the introduction of computers and the way the Internet changed the fundamental ways an office communicates and conducts business.
One other area has also shifted, albeit subtly and without as much formal groundbreaking: the role, size and expectations of congressional staff. Full story
September is looming large, with the August recess eventually coming to an end. But these several weeks aren’t wasted time. On the contrary, August recess actually improves a congressional office’s effectiveness, says Brad Fitch, president of the Congressional Management Foundation and a former Hill staffer.
Fitch and CMF spend their time helping congressional offices be more efficient, productive and responsive. He took some time to talk to Hill Navigator and explain the August productivity uptick, and ways offices can use the time to prepare for the busy months ahead.
A lightly edited Q&A follows: Full story
Good things come to those who wait — except on Capitol Hill, where good things come to those who pounce immediately at the opportunity. Passivity has a time and place, but it’s not likely to serve you well in the competitive job hunt. Hill Navigator discusses how and when to speak up. Full story
If “chief of staff” sits atop the apex of the congressional staffer pyramid, there are typically two expertise areas that lead to it: policy or communications. But how do you decide if you’re meant to be a legislative assistant or press secretary, which lead down distinct career paths? Hill Navigator discusses.
Q. I am currently a Staff Assistant/Legislative Correspondent wanting to take the next step up the Hill career advancement ladder and maybe become a Chief of Staff one day. I am also an institutionalist and like politics more than policy. That being said, no matter how much I analyze this, talk it over with friends, and seek advice, I cannot decide if I want to take the legislative staffer route or the communications staffer route. Though it may seem like a clear choice between night and day for some people, I have been able to dangle my feet in the waters of both and still cannot make a decision as to which way to go. The pros and cons of each seem to be about equal. I realize it is not unheard of for legislative staffers to switch to the communications side of things, but less so the other way around. Either way, I am bothered by the fact that I cannot get this matter settled in my head so that I can actually go about trying to advance along one of the two career paths at the only place I want to work, the United States Congress (just not my current office).
It’s been a long six months for “Jon,” the unemployed chief of staff profiled in Roll Call in March. After nearly 20 years on Capitol Hill, Jon found himself without a job after his boss lost a tough re-election in November. Though he had many connections and years of experience, he wasn’t sure what his next move would be.
But nearly five months after receiving his last paycheck, Jon is back at work this week. He’s landed a political appointment and will be serving as a special assistant at an executive branch agency. The salary is a bit higher than the $130,000 he was making as a House chief of staff. “It’s a GS-15 pay rate, the highest of the GS,” he told CQ Roll Call by phone, referring to the executive branch pay scale.
Got ambition? Plenty of high-ranking Capitol Hill staffers once started answering the phones and answering mail (even before there was email … back when dinosaurs roamed the earth). But take a look at any resume stack and graduate school comes up quite a bit. So just how helpful is that graduate degree on Capitol Hill? Hill Navigator discusses:
Q. I am currently a staff assistant, a post at which I’ve been at for 5 months and I’m looking for ways to advance my career for the long term, I’m considering going to grad school. I’ve looked at various DC area masters programs like [Graduate School of Political Management] and [Johns Hopkins University] and they offer great opportunities, but they’re very expensive and I will probably have to take a student loan out; is graduate school really gonna give me a major leg up on the Hill? Also what’s your opinion on graduate certificates and are they valued on the Hill?
If you work for the highest-ranking member of the House, just how good must a job offer be to jump ship?
Such are the questions swirling around Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who is leaving the speaker’s office and his $150,000 salary there (according to Legistorm) to work as an adviser to Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise Policy Solutions PAC. The former Florida governor is expected to officially announce his candidacy for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination this summer. Full story
Giovanna Gray Lockhart already knows what it means to hit the ground running with style.
In only her second week back from maternity leave — daughter Beatrice was born in January — and in her new gig as Glamour’s Washington editor, she hosted more than 100 people at her house in Kalorama and participated in Glamour’s cover story about Michelle Obama with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington (aka Carrie Bradshaw and Olivia Pope). Full story
Graduate school is a common career trajectory for Capitol Hill staff, many of whom are fresh out of college and sit, at least at this point of their lives, at the tip of their careers.
Understanding the legislative process can pique an interest in law or public policy, but what about those for whom a master’s in business administration is most appealing? How does Capitol Hill experience look on MBA applications? Hill Navigator spoke to two admissions officers at competitive business schools to find out.
Rep. Aaron Schock is not the only person’s career to be upended in a flash. The Illinois Republican’s staffers, who once thought they could be working for a future leader in the House, will be out of a job and looking for work.
One Schock staffer had a head start on his job hunt, but for the others, finding a new position can be tricky, especially when the most recent job on the résumé is with a member who has resigned amid an ongoing ethics investigation.
You can’t go a week without getting one of those “Moving on…” emails from staffers detailing their latest job switch, usually something more glamorous than their last position (which they will bemoan leaving behind, along with an outstanding boss and set of co-workers, as any good staffer should). But how many emails can you read without questioning whether YOU should make the job hop as well? Hill Navigator discusses.
Interning may be the common way to get a job on Capitol Hill, but what if you’ve got the political experience and are ready to work full time? Do you really need the Capitol Hill internship? Hill Navigator discusses:
Q. I recently graduated from a small liberal arts college. I am really interested in working on the Hill. I have had internships in Scottish Parliament and for a lobbying firm in DC and I was a field organizer on a congressional campaign in 2014. I have never been an intern on the Hill and I wondering if it is possible to start as a staff assistant. I am not opposed to interning, but am concerned about being able to afford it.