Since the early 1900s baseball fans have referred to their off-season as the “hot stove league,” a dramatic visualization meant to recall those long winter months where baseball fans would huddle around a potbelly stove to discuss the upcoming season.
The practical application of the term is just as important to the literacy device. Off-season baseball is anything but a down time in the season and any baseball enthusiast would tell you the pennant is won in transactions made during those cold months of winter.
Campaign season has become America’s second past time, and like the greats that roam the diamonds of summer tucked away in jewel box stadiums throughout the country, campaign staff too must suffer through an off-season. Unlike professional baseball players, finding meaningful employment, or that next short-term client is often a difficult task for many up and coming political operatives. Here are four ways to stay employed during the Hot Stove.
Did your race take place in a particularly competitive district or state, possibly one that will have an impact on the pending legislative agenda in D.C. or your state capital? If yes, you should consider reaching out to the special interest groups that are looking to have an impact moving into the legislative season.
Special interest groups are increasingly seeking opportunities on the ground to influence key legislators on the state and federal level. Extending campaign tactics to a legislative cause has proven to be a potent strategy in recent years and potential employers, representing both the left and right, are lining up to acquire the skillset and relationships you now possess.
Working a down-ballot, off-year election is one of the quickest ways to build up your resume and ensure you are creating a body of work that is reflective of your career aspirations. Down-ballot, off-year elections for city or county positions are a great way to build a network and future roster of clients. What may be a reduction in pay might actually serve as an investment in your future when a local candidate rises through the levels of state or federal elections.
Charitable groups present an opportunity for a candidate and campaign staff to maintain a well-honed campaign organization in the winter months. From volunteer organizing to fundraising, many local, state and nationally based charitable organizations are actively looking for the campaign apparatus that you’ll possess post-Election Day. Redirect your efforts to assisting a charitable mission that’s in line with your values. Share your fundraising network, participate in volunteer activities and put to work the professional persona you spent many months on the campaign trail perfecting.
On to Washington
Are you interested in calling D.C. your home? Then consider taking a temporary position with any number of potential employers in the District. Consulting firms will be looking for temporary staff to provide prospecting leads for marketing season and often those temporary positions can blossom into a full-time gig — for the right individual.
D.C.-based special interest groups will also be seeking short-term staff who’re politically astute. You should consider a temporary position in Washington if you’re interested in making the capital your home. Expect to work long hours that rival the intensity of the campaign trail and know the job is a temporary solution.
Now remember, the stove is hot, and potential employers are seeking talented individuals with the strategic background and knowledge of the local political landscape to help shape advocacy and electoral efforts. Don’t loaf through the political off-season. Find the right opportunity that ensures you’re taking the next step in your career development.