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“it is hard not to feel overwhelmed with the road moving forward”

by Prince Of Petworth January 4, 2017 at 12:40 pm 35 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user William E Heaton IV

“Dear PoPville,

In the wake up the upcoming change of administration- it appears that I, like many Washingtonians, will be searching for new jobs. In the past few weeks, I have been trying to make sense of what the best move would be for me, professionally- as I continue to see postings for forums, lectures and articles about the professional implications of the recent election. I know that I am not the only one at this crossroads- since unfortunately this city’s professional climate is fueled by the changes in administration- but it is hard not to feel overwhelmed with the road moving forward. In fact, I am actually beginning to consider how the skillsets I have gained over the past several years might be translated into a potentially different career path moving forward. I’d love any input on what resources- like a career counselor- might be available as I continue to navigate these next few months and my career.

  • Ben

    Might not be helpful for you but possibly for others reading – if you refinanced your student loans through SoFi they offer free career counseling. I used them when looking for a new opportunity and found it quite helpful

    • eb

      This is slightly off topic but I work in higher education and want to pass along a word of warning that SOFI is not a good deal for everyone. We are used to thinking about the interest rate as the key metric on debt. Sofi allows you to lower your interest rate but you have to give up key protections that are built into federal student loans. Many student loans borrowers will do better if they sign up for income-driven repayment plans (IBR PAYE REPAYE) and will do especially well if they are enrolled in public service loan forgiveness. Think twice before SOFI.

      • anon

        Why would anyone use it for federal loans? I assumed it was just for private.

        • CVR

          No, you can include federal loans. And people do it because they don’t know they options available to the for repayment and they are only looking at the monthly, bottom line. There are so many benefits built in to federal loans that unless your plan is to pay off the new loan quickly, it’s usually not worth it in the long run.

      • CVR

        As another higher ed professional I must agree. Please do all your research before going with any refinancing company. You lose more than you gain in many instances, especially if you have any plans on going back to school.

  • It’s just me

    As I was reevaluating my career several years ago, I did some aptitude testing. You spend a morning in an office doing a bunch of tests – they’re designed to test you’re natural abilities, not what you know. You then have a 2- hour consultation on your results. It tells you things like whether you have good at spacial ability, musical ability, language. Whether you’re better at sitting down and concentrating on one issue vs. multitasking, whether you need a collaborative work environment or need to work alone. It then gives you ideas about the types of jobs that fit in to those abilities.

    The testing itself was a bit brutal, because there are things I’m not good at and I felt like I was failing – but that’s because I was just focusing on the things that were hard. I found my results fascinating, and took a hard look at the things I didn’t like about my job and realized that they were aligned with things the testing told me I wasn’t naturally good at. Not that I couldn’t learn, it just wasn’t my natural ability.

    I went here, but I’m sure there are other places: http://www.abilitypotentials.com/

    • DCchick

      Thanks, this is great. appreciate it.

    • It’s just me

      And clearly thinking/typing too quickly without spell checking is not my ability – :you’re” should be “your”

      I should have added – if you need more than the 2 hours of follow-up discussion, they also have career counselors to refer you to.

    • spookiness

      I did something like this a decade+ ago and it was useful, but like Meyers-Briggs, you don’t want to get too wrapped up in it.

  • I just listened to the Hidden Brain podcast titled “Getting Unstuck” that has some career path advice/resources mentioned: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510308/hidden-brain. I’m not looking for a career change, but I found the information really insightful and interesting. Wishing you the best of luck!

  • I am a career coach. http://Www.theangkorgroup.com

  • Anonymous-est

    This city – and our government – need us now more than ever.

  • John

    Whenever I look to make a career change, I always reach out to community blogs focused primarily on restaurant openings, real estate, and pet pictures. It’s almost always helpful.

    • textdoc

      PoPville’s articles might be focused primarily on those topics (and D.C. neighborhood issues), but I think you’re underestimating the collective knowledge and helpfulness of the PoPville reader base. This is a really good place to crowdsource all kinds of questions, whether they’re about home repair, applying for a federal job, or other things.

      • Emma

        +1. I’ve found this website to be a wealth of information and resources on a myriad of topics ranging from local news to professional insights.

  • DanielC

    If you’re “of a certain age,” you should look into 40 Plus. They offer free seminars and networking sessions devoted to job search. There is also a class, for pay, for those who need a bit more help with resumes, interviewing skills, etc. I used them a few years ago; they helped me to freshen my search skills and find a new job. http://www.40plus-dc.org/

  • Khris

    I’ve noticed this topic has come up a few times since the election. As someone who has lived in Washington and worked in fields that are tied directly to the federal government through three different administrations, I think you might be overestimating how much this city’s professional climate is fueled by the changes in administration. Clinton was still president when I started working here. So unless you work directly for the DNC or the Obama cabinet, I doubt you have so much to worry about.

    • Kevin

      This. The rank and file aren’t the ones who turn over. In fact, feds are hiring like crazy before Jan 20:


      If someone is choosing to leave federal employment because they don’t like the incoming president, that’s certainly their choice. But this “mass turnover” nonsense never happens.

      • W

        There are somewhere around 4,000 “political” (i.e., appointed by the administration) jobs that will turn over.

    • Hill Denizen

      I think there is a difference between a traditional Republican administration a la Bush and a Trump administration. I would have serious qualms taking a career position in an administration led by Trump.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Eh, if all he does is deregulate everything, the career service employees will just have very little to do for 4 years. They can get caught up on all that reading they have been meaning to do and get paid for it.

      • JoDa

        In the past few weeks, 4 jobs have come across that fit my skills with a little bit more challenge and the opportunity for grade or merit advancement and leadership roles without competitive promotion (team leader/project leader type opportunities). I’ve been at my job for long enough that it’s usually a bit boring – I like my coworkers and our mission, but I do feel the boredom at times – and these would use skills I haven’t touched in a while and always enjoyed using when I did. I decided not to apply for them because they’re in agencies/have missions targeted by this particular administration and Congress. If they don’t gut those departments, there will be another opportunity sometime down the road. If they do…at least my current agency has broad bipartisan support and I will likely remain employed for the duration.
        It’s not that I’m afraid they’ll shut the whole thing down, it’s that they’ve said over and over again they’ll shut *certain* things down, and I’mma take them at their word on those, given one-party control. YOLO means something a little different to me, and it means not living through THAT kind of hell. I think that’s worth considering for a lot of people. Working at *certain* agencies is likely to be a bit of rough ride for the next couple of years. Plus, these are career egg-head jobs. No partisan hack is going to get in there and muck things up with politics. I’m not shortchanging the American people by letting someone else take this particular opening.

  • Irving Streete

    This is not an entirely productive suggestion, but if you want to form an exercise and daydrinking-oriented support group for the politically unemployed, I’d be up for it! :)
    If you’re over 40 we can make listening to the recently-deceased musicians of our youths on my really loud stereo part of the program. Should set the right tone of angry disillusionment.

    • hahaha I’m in too!

    • JTinDC

      This is a great idea!

    • Irving Streete

      If the girlfriend goes to Mexico without me in the first week of February (and the ax has fallen buy then), we will have our first meeting then! Chill the Dogfish Head and cue the Prince!

  • anon

    I appreciate that you don’t want to out yourself, but you could get more helpful suggestions if you gave a little bit more information about your education, skills, experience, and interests.

    • tom

      i don’t think they are trying to get specific solicited advice from the community on their career- but gather and crowd source what resources might exist out there to help uncover the opportunities that might exist should they depart from their current job!

  • neighbor

    It’s hard to know what you mean specifically without more personal details. From previous elections I think many of the genuinely temporary jobs tend to be younger people fresh out of college for whom campaign work is their first real job. Many end up leaving politics, win or lose the election, because there simply aren’t enough full time positions to employ them all.
    If you are considering politics in the long term, the experience of career professionals is far different. While the substance of your work is obviously different if your party is in power, and switching jobs every few years isn’t uncommon, more senior people in politics are prepared for those sorts of transitions.

    • clare

      it sounds like they are concerned about the high demand and turnover now- in general- for those of us who might all be seeking jobs in a limited market- or should i say, a saturated market that is filled with lots of highly qualified contenders all vying for a limited amount of quality positions. it seems like the competition will definitely be tougher. just not a great time to be looking for a new job i guess…

      or perhaps just looking they are just looking for something new all together because the opportunity has finally presented itself for that transition??

  • nw_dc_1988

    Dan/PoP, have you considered having a job postings/unemployed tab on the site? Maybe along the top near home/restaurants? I won’t be job hunting but I’m sure it’d be appreciated by many readers over the coming weeks.

    • Tom

      Could be cool! I’m not hunting either, but I’d still read it.

  • anon

    I work for a Democratic member of Congress and have been meeting nightly since the election with Al.
    Al Cohol

  • Lisa

    Fellow political person. Been in this spot many times before – including exploring career changes. (although Trump era is a whole other ballgame) I’ve found far most useful thing is just setting up informational drinks or coffees with people you think are doing interesting work. People love to talk about themselves. Ask about their work, the realities of the job, what strengths they look for in people, who else they think you should meet, etc. Ask former colleagues, friends or family to introduce you around. Eventually you’ll walk out of one of these meetings and find something that lights your fire.

  • After living in DC and working in progressive politics for almost 10 years, I found myself in the same situation many a time as well. I now run a company called Pivot Journeys (pivotjourneys.com) which offers career coaching as well as unique travel experiences that help you navigate your career while exploring the world. Our programs aren’t specifically around helping you re-do your resume or remember how to network – they’re more about self-discovery and exploration around what your unique talents, motivations and purpose are and how to map out where you go next. Drop me a line if I can be helpful!


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