the-boss

Looking for Lost References

How to track down a reference that may have switched jobs. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

A great internship experience can lead to valuable references, which is one of the myriad reasons interning on Capitol Hill is often the best way to secure a full-time job there. But what if those valuable references aren’t in the same position anymore? Hill Navigator discusses how to track them down.  

Q: I interned for someone in the House a year ago, then came back to my home state to finish my senior year of college. After graduating, the district office of the congressperson I worked for strongly encouraged me to apply for an opening in the district. I was told that staffers in the D.C. office spoke well of my work there — hence the recommendation. I was unable to accept the offer at the time but indicated my level of interest. Fast forward a few months, and I find another opening for the same position at a district office closer to my hometown (different member). I’m dying to stand out from the crowd for this job, as it was on the House listserv and is obviously more likely to cater to an insider. Many of my contacts from my former office have gotten new jobs and therefore new email addresses unbeknownst to me, but my question is, what would be the best way to obtain a referral, written or otherwise, in order to stand out for the position? Too much to ask the district office if the member could give the hiring office a ring/drop a line?
A. If you, savvy Hill intern that you are, were clever enough to submit a question to Roll Call’s Hill Navigator, I have the utmost confidence that you can find a few of those moved-on staffers you mention that would be likely to give you a stellar recommendation.  

Why a Former Staffer Could Make a Good Speaker

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., in the course of two decades, has risen from congressional staffer to the speakership.  

His first job was working as an aide to Sen. Bob Kasten, R-Wis., on the Senate Small Business Committee. After a stint at the Empower America think tank, a 25-year-old Ryan — described as a "boyish, policy-wonk" — returned to Capitol Hill to work for Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas, in both the House and Senate, according to CQ Roll Call's Politics in America. He did what many young Hill staffers do every year: master policy and politics while working on Capitol Hill.  

Study Finds Congress Is Paying More Attention to Social Media

A new study shows Congress is paying more attention to responses on social media. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It turns out Congress cares what you say on Twitter.  

A new report released this week from the Congressional Management Foundation finds members of Congress are more engaged in social media than in previous years and are far more responsive to constituent concerns that come in via various social media platforms.  

Farenthold Case Prompts Talk About Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill

Cloakroom buzzed about sexual harassment as the House Ethics Committee announced its next step on Farenthold's case. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

"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.  

Rude Realities on Capitol Hill

Students visiting Congress can learn the hard way that disagreements can get personal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Most of us are used to the jovial, amicable member of Congress, the one who shakes hands and listens attentively with a grinning staffer at his or her side as they greet constituents and take meetings. But what happens when Dr. Jekyll’s potion runs dry and Mr. Hyde comes out, especially when there’s a group of visiting college students? Hill Navigator discusses.  

Q. I'm a former House Leadership intern who now runs an academic college program in Washington, D.C. My job is to arrange meetings with members of Congress and their constituent students, and I've arranged roughly 600 meetings in my job. I had a few meetings today and in one of them, some of the students brought up Cuba and the discussion got a little heated. While there was some good back-and-forth, in my opinion, the member was unnecessarily rude to the students in his answers and he raised his voice on occasion. The students expressed concern to me after the meeting that they felt intimidated. Is there any way I relay their concerns to his chief or scheduler in a respectful way, yet also expressing my disappointment? I want to maintain a relationship with that office, since we always have students from his district, but if the member is going to act poorly again, I may avoid him in the future. Thoughts?
A. Ah, the whole conundrum of politics-can-be-much-uglier-than-we-thought and what do we do about it?  

An Easy Fix for Members Who Want Overtime for Staff

Gutiérrez will pay his congressional staff overtime. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even if Congress takes no action on amending the Congressional Accountability Act to add overtime protections for staff, individual offices can lead the way and implement changes for their own staff, much as they have done for workplace protections such as maternity and paternity leave.  

Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., says he intends to apply the new overtime regulations to his congressional employees in Washington and Chicago, “regardless of whether the U.S. Congress moves to adopt them when final.” Gutiérrez compared himself to a small-business employer, saying, “If these regulations are good enough for American workers in the private and public sectors, they ought to be good enough for me and my colleagues in the House and Senate.”  

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.

Q. I have a job I love with a wonderful member and great co-workers that I get along with. I feel secure in my position, but I don't see room for moving up any time soon. I'm being considered for a higher-up job in another office that would offer far more pay than what my office pays my immediate boss for that same position. But that member isn't as focused and driven as mine is, and the issue portfolio isn't what I want to do long term. Do I take the title and pay and hope to find a way long term to get back into the issue area I want to pursue? How do I stay current and keep my résumé focused for that field while working elsewhere?
A. So you like your job, your work, your co-workers and your member of Congress, and you’re considering a jump for a pay raise?  

Most Capitol Hill staffers will make more money the moment they walk out the office door. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a wise move to go where the pay is greater, especially when there are other factors to consider.  

Staffer Guide to the 2015 Congressional Baseball Game

Staffers cheer at the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s that time of year again.  

Congressional baseball is back! The 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game Thursday is the real midsummer classic here in Washington, D.C. It's like a preview of 2018 All Star Game at Nationals Park, except this time starring members of Congress.  

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.

Q. I'm relatively new to the Hill. I'm excited about the issues that I work on and my boss's position on them. I get along well with other people in my office. The only problem is my boss. I can't seem to develop rapport and establish a good working relationship because, quite frankly, he's difficult to manage. What advice do you have for staff that have a demanding boss, or a boss that sometimes treat staff callously?
A. Ah, the old rough boss. Maybe the boss is disorganized, callous or passive-aggressive. Maybe he orders a tuna sandwich from Longworth and then barks that he’d wanted a bagel. Maybe she ignores all of your late-night research and heads to the House floor with talking points she’s made up on her own. Or maybe he is sweet as pie but refuses to engage with anything from the Internet, blaming “the Twitters” for his last tough re-election race.  

On Capitol Hill, even the most amiable, genial and kind-hearted boss can still be difficult. Even those for whom social graces are a second nature can turn into demanding, squabbling individuals behind closed doors. So how does one handle working for a difficult boss while trying to get ahead on Capitol Hill?  

What Happens to the Menendez Foreign Relations Staffers?

With Menendez stepping down, changes are coming to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But what does this mean for staff? (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When scandals strike a senator, what does it mean for his staff?  

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is temporarily stepping down as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Even the most steady of staffers could be questioning what this means for their futures. And what does it mean for future staffers, especially those who want to intern for the committee? Hill Navigator discusses.

Q. I recently applied for three congressional internships: Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, my very senior senator, and my pretty new congressman. Now, initially, this was my sequence of preference, especially given that my degree is in the Middle East and Int. Relations, but a certain high-profile indictment has left me reconsidering the committee (and wondering if they will have time to process my application, as it was submitted to his staff), and my congressman's office upped the ante by offering me a spot as a "legislative fellow" handling his portfolio for the Armed Services Committee. Given the choice between an internship at a committee related to my field, but in the middle of controversy, a regular internship at big-name senator's office, or a "legislative fellowship" doing what I assume to be real work and getting a bit of face-time with an admittedly lower-ranking congressman, which do you think is the best option?
A. Ah, the dreaded, “my boss is stepping down, what does this mean for staff ?” query.