If you’ve decided the Hill is no longer the place you want to be, how do you tailor your departure to make sure you’ve gotten everything you can out of your job, your contacts and your experience?
You don’t have to scour LegiStorm to know that working on Capitol Hill’s downsides are in the money arena. But your co-workers don’t want to be reminded about how little they make. Keep quiet about the perks you’re getting in your future corner office while your current co-workers are crafting “Dear Colleague” drafts in their cubes. Part of what makes Capitol Hill amazing is the optimism and dedication of the staff. No one wants a departing co-worker to undermine that.
4. Learn more.
Your future employer will be loath to find out that the Hill staffer they hired doesn’t understand the first thing about committee markups. Before you head out, take that Congressional Research Service course, ask your legislative director to explain what the motion to recommit does, and strengthen your Capitol Hill vocabulary. Once you’re off the Hill, you’re expected to know all these things on your own.
5. Do it all one last time.
Former staffers say they miss the splendor of the Capitol and being part of the living, breathing, constantly changing entity that is Congress. Before you go, take another walk around while your staff ID gives you access anywhere. Go up to the Dome and admire Constantino Brumidi’s masterpiece, “The Apothesis of Washington.” Find your state statues in Statuary Hall. Take a Capitol tour from one of the all-knowing red-coat-wearing guides. Do it all one more time as an insider before you turn in your staff ID and become an outsider forever.
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Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.