The best laid plans of mice and men...

2008 was supposed to be a big year for me. I was supposed to go through the Peace Corps application process, secure a Hill job by March 1, finish my novel, and spend the whole year exploring DC one last time before I packed up for home.

So far, I'm only partially on track. Yes, my Peace Corps application is moving along. I still need to do the medical review and complete a year of Spanish, but I'm on track. Yes, I have some great events planned during the upcoming weeks to celebrate my time in D.C. But, I've stopped writing my novel and dropped out of my writing group. I doubt that I'll be able to pick up creative writing again this year, which is very sad. All my free time must be devote to writing cover letters, studying Spanish, packing/moving, and getting my Peace Corps application on track. Significantly, I haven't secured a Hill job and the prospects aren't looking good.

During the past few months, I've talked to several staffers and former staffers about securing a Hill job. Everyone has been very helpful and supportive but it all comes down to who you know and timing. The election season should make finding a Hill job easier as staffers flock to campaigns. But it also means that less will be happening on the Hill. A coworker suggested that I seek a campaign job and I'm considering it. I mean, is working on the Hill for no more than 8 months really worth it?

I acknowledge that I'd make some really great connections that would be helpful in securing a dream job in the new Congress. But how useful will those connections be if I'm shipped off in January?

At the same time, working on the Hill has been on my list of "things to do before I leave D.C." for a while. If nothing else, working on the Hill—even for a few months—will be an interesting experience. It'll be hard work with long hours and little pay. I'll probably be unfairly treated by a domineering Member or backstabbing co-worker. Yet, I will get to freely walk the hall of Congress once again, give tours (STAR/VIP 4eva!), get a reality check when communicating with folks outside of the Beltway and generally be a part of a long tradition of young people launching their careers with Hill employment.

So I'm going to give it one last push. I'm hoping that the resumes I've already submitted and the ones I plan on submitting this month will result in a call in March or April. Thereafter, I'm going to start looking more seriously at my other options.

I don't see myself working at my current job for much longer. But I need reasonable health insurance during the upcoming months to get my Peace Corps medical review completed. So I'll have to be very, very smart about my next steps. Thankfully, I still have some time to figure things out.

No comments: