I have always been interested in politics, mostly on the local and state levels. In five previous election cycles, I have helped with candidates’ campaigns: making phone calls, knocking on doors and putting up signs. All of that for free. Eventually, I had to get a “real job” to pay some bills.
Still, my volunteer time with the campaign staff served me well. I made some great friends and realized what networking really meant. One year after my last campaign phone call, I got a call myself.
I was hired as an intern for the Wisconsin Prosperity Network. It is affiliated with the national organization Americans for Prosperity. Both organizations fund local, state and national candidates that truly represent the people. They train local candidates, provide grassroots campaign staff volunteers and serve as legal aid on local political and legal issues.
I have several duties as assistant press secretary, most of which involve the “assistant” part of my title rather than the “press” part, but it’s been a great experience. When reporters come up to me to ask a question at one of our conferences or rallies, I have all the answers they want.
There are a lot of late night phone calls, spreadsheets to print, press packets to assemble and badges to make. This is all the grunt work that anyone could do, but as a Journalism major I’m paying attention to the details. For instance, I noticed my boss can take interview notes with either hand if he’s on the phone. He’s also taught me that when all else fails, the best response is, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get right back to you.”
If you have something you love to do: do it, even if you have to stick it out and start with the grunt work. Rarely will you fall into your “dream job” right off the bat. Remember, too, that there are lessons to be learned from everything. Build a solid foundation and you’ll reap the rewards later.