Sectors, Dreams and Leadership

You know, it’s been really hard to move from the political and nonprofit worlds (public sector) to the corporate world (private sector). It’s much easier to go the opposite way. It has taken years, but I’ve done it and consider it a great accomplishment. Some people understand this and others don’t. But consider changing (or having changed) careers – indeed, complete sectors – on your own at the age of thirty or so and ten years into your first career. Consider convincing a new hiring manager in your new industry that your positions are called something completely different than in the corporate world but mean the same thing.

It’s been a tough row to hoe, but I’ve been able to do it. Slowly. In fact, I feel I’m still doing it. Others do it, too, and many of them are forced to. I wonder how long they feel they are still moving into the new field. Forever? After a few successes? Nonetheless, I realized one thing:

I’ve achieved a few goals, or dreams, I had when younger. They may not have all been of significant financial profit, but that’s the nature of the beast, I suppose. Or my beast, at least. (My skills and work have been better remunerated in the private sector, that’s for certain.)

I’ve been able to call myself a politico while running a U.S. Senate campaign on a shoestring budget (in the corporate world, we might call that “bootstrapping” or, given our name recognition, a “lean startup”), policy analyst while working for a state representative (also, “research and policy director” and “legislative research fellow,” which meant roughly the same thing as policy analyst) when I worked with LSG and TFN) and, finally, a creative (also, “content strategist”) at a marketing/advertising/design firm. Most important, writer. Those are some fairly disparate positions, though politico and policy analyst go together in a certain way – and writing cuts across all the fields (though respected in none).

I thought of this a while back and felt pretty proud of myself. I guess I am. I just wish I’d gotten paid a bit better in the first couple positions. It would have put me in a better situation at my current age (34).

I don’t think there’s any good reason not to pay legislative staffers and other policy folks a decent wage; just like internships should be paid. My boss once told me he’d double my salary (to poverty level wages) during the legislative session. Didn’t happen. This may be common culture around the Texas Capitol, but that makes it no less unjust and unethical.

I’ve had the pleasure of working for many a bad boss and a number of disloyal organizations that expected unbending and unending loyalty from their employees. It may just be my attitude that causes me to believe these organizations are failing their employees and, thus, their clients/constituents. I’m certain that’s what you’re thinking it is. The only common variable is moi. But not all my positions have been this way – so it makes me think it isn’t me, it’s just dysfunctional organizations with dysfunctional leadership.

I want to discuss leadership – and, especially, bad leadership – at a later date, but, for now, I’ll end on calling for decent wages for people who are expected to do decent, professional work. That’s most everyone.


I didn’t have much to say today, so this is what you get.



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