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by SixFigureStart | September 08, 2009


A non-paying gig that carries potential long-term benefits down the road. Not your cup of tea? Suit yourself, but the formerly employed people profiled in The New York Timestoday like it just fine. They find that volunteering in local political campaigns brings a sense of responsibility and self-esteem to replace the isolation, depression and despair that a layoff often leaves in its wake. And in some cases, it may even lead to a reevaluation of a (previously) well thought-out career path. Two workers interviewed for the piece now envision a future in public service or non-profit, after marking time in high-stress positions previously.

Aside from a (blah blah blah) new network of contacts, the result can be a much-needed psychological boost in the form of a shared community goal and relentless (artificial?) optimism. (No candidate gets elected with a team full of mopes.)

Does the idea sound even remotely appealing? To start, take a look at those annoying sheets stuffing up your snailmailbox these days -- those are your local candidates' faces staring at you. Scour the papers for more names, then get on the Internet and find his or her virtual headquarters. The work? In the beginning, it'll probably consist of cold calls and pamphlet-pushing. But with a little luck it could morph into something that requires strategic thinking, or, if your candidate is -- or wants to be -- a political perennial, turn into something long-term. At the very least, it's eye-catching on a resume, and a great opener for your next interview. (Something along the lines of "While working on Comptroller X's reelection bid, I discovered a previously untapped talent in....")

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer