The Young and Gullible Reality Check After an Election

Armstrong Williams

11/27/2012 12:01:00 AM - Armstrong Williams

So many people graduate college with big dreams and aspirations about entering politics, but most of the time they leave it years after, distraught, disillusioned, and without much money to their name. This happens all the time in Washington DC but no one talks about it. Most people need a glimpse into the carnage after an election, where people on both sides lose their jobs and become anxious about the future.

For any standard job in the private sector or even in government, the vast majority of the time you go into work knowing what to expect, and what the overall outcome is going to be. Anyone who has worked on Capitol Hill faces exactly the opposite, in that the outcome of the day is never assured, and you are working for a broader cause then just your own financial interest. Most people get to stay in their office at least eight hours, whereas when If you interned on the hill during the debt negotiations, staffers literally brought sleeping bags into the office because they were going to work all through the night and next morning. Politics is different than normal work in this regard, and this thrill of not knowing what to expect, and working for an individual you believe in is very attractive to college graduates and young adults, but it’s not always the best road for everyone. This town and many universities almost encourage people to go down that road en mass, and it creates a huge problem: an age group that’s emotionally lost in a big city, constantly wondering about a future trade.

Life in DC after an election is a perfect example of this disillusionment. You run into people in hordes who are unemployed after their candidate loses and they are completely distraught about their career choice. Now they have to look for work, and if they decide to leave politics, their resume might be discriminated upon, because they worked for someone the hiring manager hates or doesn’t believe in. This is the dilemma, once you’re in politics working for a candidate your options shrink, you put yourself in a deep hole. The list of people that might hire you in the private and public sector drastically shrinks. DC is a deep sea of frustration, regrets, and anxiety for young people after they lose an election. On Tuesday November 6 election night people were walking and crying in the streets, knowing they might have to move back in with their parents, back home to another state and start their entire life over again. Normally when you work hard, you can have a chance of future success but for campaigns and politics, it’s simply not the case.

I am optimist though, I always believe there is a solution eventually to a problem, and believe we can fix a problem, and this one starts with our universities. The universities that are heavily subsidized and are so expensive nowadays should be doing more to inform students about how rough the game of politics can be. Real life and college are completely different, and I think these students with big dreams and aspirations about going into politics should be informed by someone in the real world. A university should have a speaker brought into every upper level political science class to discuss the negative aspects of going into politics. So many people in their mid thirties leave politics frustrated and they don’t really have a trade that applies to the real world. It’s harder for them to find good work because there resume can be discriminated against, and the skills on Capitol Hill don’t translate to the private sector. Many of these older people missed out on what would have been there prime earning years if they had taken a different route out of college, but instead chose politics. They didn’t make a difference, they now have no money to their name, and they don’t have a job because there candidate just lost, and they can only think what might have been.