Building a Campaign from the Ground Up: When Real-Life Attacks

(ARGH. I hit "submit" and this whole thing *vanished*. No, hitting the "back" button didn't fix it. So here I go, typing it all out again. Sigh. Hand-staple-forehead, woe is me.)

In a couple of weeks, I start a full-time job. This makes me happy. For the first time in seven years, I'll actually have employer-paid health insurance, a 401(k), paid vacation, and paid sick leave. My husband and I are a DINK household (double income, no kids), and we're still barely getting by, sometimes not even that.

So this new job is a blessing that I literally cannot afford to pass by. It's been a long time coming, too. I've been actively looking for work since March of 2005 and in serious gotta-have-something-NOW mode since October '06.

I have an impressive collection of rejections by some of the finest companies and institutions of higher education in the state -- sometimes even twice for the exact same job, and lemme tell ya, THAT'S a real hit in the ol' self-esteem, getting not one but TWO "No thanks, you suck" letters for a single position.

But at last, my toast has landed butter side up. My mom and great-aunt would say it's answered prayer, and maybe they're right. I've always said I'd accept any assistance in my job search. :)

The bad news is that by working 9-5 (cue Dolly Parton), I won't be able to put in mornings at Jim Neal's campaign headquarters anymore. I still plan to give them at least one evening a week, and to help out with other projects, and I still absolutely 100 percent support him.

And of course I'll still be blogging here; in fact I have a video to share with you all. You just won't be getting the quotidian details and office minutiae from a volunteer perspective -- at least not on such a regular basis anymore.

It sucks that today's economy forces us to make these kinds of choices. And is it a coincidence that my "lean" years of employment neatly match up to Dubya's terms in office? Makes a girl think...

Here's the video I promised, Hagan Won't Run Against Dole -- NOTE this is old video that I just got around to seeing; it amuses me how emphatic Hagan is about not running, yet here she is, with her lukewarm campaign after all... :

Really does make you wonder who/what changed her mind, doesn't it? And again, bear in mind that that's an older video. It just really speaks to me that her passion is in the state Senate, not in running for Liddy Dole's seat.

And I leave you with a quote from a favorite show, Babylon 5: "Folks have been conned to thinking they can't change the world, have to accept what is. I'll tell you something my friends. The world is changing every day, the only question is who's doing it."


Hood's smile and opinion = only his mother could love

Hagan leaving again, that's a surprise. Although she wasn't as well received during the SEC as Neal, I thought once she announced she was in....hmmm.

Maybe it was all those wonderful Neal volunteers that overwhelmed her. ;)

I hope Biddy and her handlers do believe that the Dems can't field a good candidate against her.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Whoops, post fixed

Fixed post to reflect old video. :)

As for Hood, I actually went to school with him and his twin. Strange but true...

No no, that's old video

That's my mistake; I'll go edit the post to make it clear -- that was back in the early days when she said she wasn't running. I just finally got around to seeing it and thought it was interesting, how very emphatic she was about NOT RUNNING. :)

Yes, there was quite a discussion of her abrupt turn-around

at the time. I think many of us were - I believe the word is "gob-smacked" by her sudden announcement after Jim Neal made such an impressive showing on his first live blog here.

I like Kay Hagan; she's been a good state senator, and a strong voice for children and families. I just feel as if she's being used in this race. I enjoyed talking with her at the SEC meeting, and wish her well. However, the difference in energy level of her campaign vs. Neal's campaign is striking.

And I've got to get me a couple of yard signs. Next time I'm in the triangle area, I will make arrangements.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi


Next time I'm in the triangle area, I will make arrangements.

Please do -- the office is easy to find, and we have plenty of signs just waiting for good homes. :)

Oh! Congratulations on the full-time employment!

Believe it or not, there will be days when you will wish to not have a full-time job! Still - all the best.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thank you :)

Yes, I suspect there will be days when I'll look back fondly on this time of under-employment, but the ol' bank account sure needs it...

another volunteer chimes in again

I think there might be a rumor(if not, I will start one) that volunteering for Jim Neal puts you over the top for "points needed by universe to get you a job you need," because I don't think angry grrl is the only one who has started a job since I got there. See, work on the side of the angels and life falls into place!

Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I saw that video in the office. It is hard to believe that leaving a powerful position in state house is good for her constituents. The US Senate will not be handing her plum committee assignments any time soon.

Yesterday I did some calling. Except for the headache it gave me and the fact that I am unsuited for cold calling little old ladies, it was fine. There are a lot of jobs in a campaign and I don't envy the person who has to assign them.

One thing that impresses me (or disturbs me sometimes) is the amount of stamina it takes to run a campaign. There is travel, seeing a million new faces, being cheerful, raising money, developing positions on the issues, raising money, showing up when you would be better served with a little nap, raising money. It is really grueling, like an ultramarathon in which someone forgot to tell you exactly how many miles you will need to run.

No wonder Dole doesn't show up to campaign.(I was going to insert some crass joke about a hyperbaric chamber but you know what I mean.)

My granddaddy in Texas ran for sheriff every two years from 1938 to 1950, then every four years til he retired in the mid 60s. He did not have to raise the big bucks, but it was still a lot of campaigning, and he only lost once(by about a dozen votes.) I can appreciate now how he was famous for his stamina - once rode on horseback to catch a criminal who was on foot through woods, for 24 hours. It can't be easy to combine the skills needed for campaigning PLUS the skills for the job of holding office and sometimes we might miss someone effective but on the quiet side. Democracy sure is demanding, sometimes.

Assorted Misc.

volunteering for Jim Neal puts you over the top for "points needed by universe to get you a job you need,"

There's at least three of us now, that I know of. :)

Except for the headache it gave me and the fact that I am unsuited for cold calling little old ladies, it was fine. There are a lot of jobs in a campaign and I don't envy the person who has to assign them.

Absolutely. There are any number of things that need to be done. But phone calling is not something that I'm competent to do, and I'd quite honestly rather jam flaming hot pokers up my nostrils than ever do that kind of thing again.

My first job out of college was working at the call center/reservations center for Alamo Rent-a-Car, and we took upwards of 180-200 calls per day.

We weren't allowed to take breaks (except for lunch), and a supervisor could be listening in to your calls at any time so you always had to be on your best behavior -- and they knew if you set your phone to "pause" so that you weren't taking incoming calls.

If you sat there too long without talking to someone, you could be fired.

It was a serious nightmare for such an extreme introvert, but what a surprise -- it was Bush I's economy in the early '90s, which was in recession as I'm sure y'all remember, and it was the only job I could get that wasn't fast-food.

I'd actually *rather* work fast food, except it didn't pay enough nor have health insurance. Talking to that many people every day took a serious toll on me, both mentally and physically; and I finally took an "out of the frying pan, into the fire" job to move to Raleigh and out of my parents' house in Charlotte -- working at the (you guessed it) call center/reservations center for Sheraton Hotels.

It was just as bad, if not worse, than Alamo, and I flamed out after two months. The next day, I got a job at McD's to tide me over until something secretarial came through. Even after so many years, the thought of sitting in a call center and talking to people I don't know makes me want to throw up.

Democracy sure is demanding, sometimes.

Indeed yes, and as you say, there are many tasks that need doing. I'm happy to do them, no matter how small, repetitive, or thankless -- just don't ask me to pick up a phone. :)

Best of luck with the new job!

And, best of luck volunteering on the campaign as well!

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


Thanks for the good wishes; this new job has certainly been a long time coming, and it doesn't seem to me to be coincidence that my two (so far) periods of under-employment coincide with various Bush administrations...


I am really happy for you even if I'm a bit sad we won't be getting the blog posts as frequently. They are wonderful. I love the way you write them - very easy to read and enjoy. I hope we'll still have you around to chat with periodically even if it is a little difficult to juggle at first.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thank you

I hope we'll still have you around to chat with periodically even if it is a little difficult to juggle at first.

That's my hope as well. :) There's always a period of adjustment at a new job, so I may be quiet for a little bit, but I'm sticking around, never fear.

Oh Don't LEAVE US!!!!!

I love your posts! I'm happy for you and the new job (which is a big, big boost, I'm sure), but hope you will check in here as often as you can.

May this job be as rewarding for you as your presence here on BLUENC has been for the rest of us. And please, please do stay in touch.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

I'm not vanishing

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Never fear, I'm not vanishing... I just hate that real-life forces us to make these kinds of trade-offs, you know? Given my druthers, I'd spend all my time volunteering for Jim Neal, and Obama, and Planned Parenthood. And we wouldn't have much money, the cats wouldn't have kibble, and we'd lose the house. :/

re:volunteer diaries

We hear that some of you wonderful Edwards folks might have a little time on your hands. Jim Neal would love to have you take a look at his campaign and come volunteer! Unseating Liddy 'No Show' Dole will help a lot in getting done in this country what many of us want. Come by on Monday or Wednesday mornings and I will show you around.

Bonus: My son's homemade banana bread on a regular basis. (Anglico can recommend,I hope!)