Finding That Committee Staffer Spot

Looking to find a committee spot? Here's how to make the leap. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ah, the joys of working in a personal office: those unexpected “drop-by” visitors, a daily interaction with an elected official, even the chance to learn the legislative ropes vis-a-vis writing stacks of constituent mail. But what happens when a staffer wants to tackle a particular legislative issue and make the leap to become a committee staffer? Hill Navigator discusses.  

Capitol Hill: It’s Not for Everyone

Not sure you want to climb the ladder on Capitol Hill? Here's how to know when to leave. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Capitol Hill Is No Place for the Passive

Looking for a Capitol Hill promotion? Time to act quickly (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

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.

The Best Member of Congress for Your Job

A "focused and driven" member of Congress: Then-Sen. Barack Obama talks to media in his temporary office space in the basement of the Dirksen Senate Office in 2005. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Best job ever? Maybe, but how valuable could a job be without a promotion in sight? And what happens if another office comes a-courting, with a hefty raise attached? Hill Navigator discusses.

Policy or Communications? How to Choose

Will press or legislative backgrounds yield a chief-of-staff spot on Capitol Hill? (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

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.

The Difficult Bosses of Capitol Hill

Even the most kind-hearted member of Congress can be a difficult boss on occasion (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Happy members of Congress are all alike (and great to work for); unhappy members are each unhappy in their own way. Wise — paraphrased — words from Tolstoy ring true about the Capitol Hill workplace: Difficult bosses come in all stripes. What do you do if you land in one of the many (many, many) offices with a difficult boss at the helm? Hill Navigator discusses.

Job Switching: Better to Jump Around or Sit Still?

How do you know when it's time to go? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.  

How to Ace the Business Lunch

Maria Trabocchi, co-owner of Fiola, provides insight on how to ace the business lunch. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Forget the sunrise diner special, or candlelit, white tablecloth dinners. If you’re going to eat one meal properly in Washington, D.C., it should be the power lunch. The power lunch is the ideal midday break, a mini-vacation to the day, a chance to hear the lobby pitches while nibbling on veal tagliatelle or steak frites, perhaps eyeing the room to see nearby diners who would warrant a quick tip to Heard on the Hill.  

Even the hard-work, long-hours culture of Capitol Hill is willing to take a brief midday break for a meal, albeit often to Dirksen or Longworth. But on the the occasion that a lunch invitation arrives, and ethics rules are cleared, it’s an opportunity to network, build a relationship, and likely enjoy some delicious food. But even the best of us can falter over an intimidating wine list, mispronounce a multisyllabic entree or feel an afternoon deadline loom before the coffee has been served. So, if you’re fortunate to be on the receiving (or inviting) end to a power lunch, what can you do to ensure smooth sailing?  

How to Tackle the Two-Year Staff Assistant Itch

Is there a two-year time limit to being a staff assistant on Capitol Hill? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What is it about staff assistants? Such a highly coveted job, but once a person is in, established and able to navigate the Cannon tunnels, then — all of a sudden — "Oh please don’t let me be a staff assistant much longer."  

Good news for you: Most staff assistants are merely a one- to two-year stopover on a long and rewarding career. But rather than wax poetic about the joys of entry-level work, Hill Navigator has some actual advice for people looking to move up and on to better things.

Follow Up on Capitol Hill Job Perks

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It turns out Capitol Hill isn’t without its perks, at least as observed by outsiders.  

Hill Navigator received a number of responses on “I Was Told There’d Be Perks ” from staffers and would-be staffers arguing that Capitol Hill does, in fact, have perks.