Things you probably haven't heard enough of as an organizer: You are a rock star. You are the best there's ever been. You are worth every penny, and, let's face it, probably a lot more. Feels nice, right? I've been working in politics for ten years, and the one thing that no one ever told me was: there's too much good, important work out there to be done for you to put up with a bad manager, a dysfunctional organization, or an impossible political situation.
Not getting respected and supported? Not working in an environment where success is rewarded and failure is seen as an opportunity to learn? Here's some advice: quit your job.
I've been an organizer for both candidate and issue campaigns, a reports manager for a non-profit, a data manager, a people manager, and a national director-level staffer on a presidential campaign. When a gig no longer made sense for me, I walked away, and always, without exception, it led to something better.
Today, building a successful career means developing a transferable skill set, a strong professional network, and an ability to identify and pursue opportunity. That's on you. But when you add an institutional commitment to a cause, some troubling side effects can manifest. Sometimes the cause becomes a more prominent concern for the organization than your well-being, your professional development, and your sanity. That's not on you - that's on the leaders and managers of your organization.
As we approach the home stretch of the 2012 cycle, the grassroots are blooming with new opportunities for passionate progressives. Those are opportunities for YOU. There are plenty of well-run campaigns out there that will be happy to have you, and they're hiring right now.
Have you ever walked away from a campaign or a job? Share your story in the comments on our blog.
Ethan Roeder is the former Director of Data, Technology, and Election Administration for the New Organizing Institute and was the National Data Manager for Obama for America in 2008.