I walked across the stage at UCF feeling completely stunned as a realized that I really was graduating. I was completely stunned in a positive way by something else just two days later. Not only was I a college graduate, but I even had a real job right out the gate.
This job is working for a political campaign. As I am trying to avoid a political post, who I am working for does not matter. Indeed, I feel that regardless of political party and belief system, one will learn certain things while working on the campaign trail.
The first thing I am realizing is that primaries are serious business. Until the most recent years, I never paid much attention to a primary since I voted almost completely down party lines. Learning the complexities of the primary is helping me understand why politicians get elected. And by that, I mean what works and what does not.
The second thing I am learning constantly is just how important canvasing is. Going door to door did not appeal to me in the past when I worked in sales. I'll admit that there is a part of me that protests doing this type of work. But the cause behind this hard work is what keeps my protests in check. On the positive side, I get to check out areas of Central Florida that I never knew existed. After all, I need to talk to people in neighborhoods scattered all over the place. The sun may be hot, but seeing new places in the world is on my bucket list. And right now that is part of my job.
The next thing I am learning is closely related to the canvasing point mentioned above. Phone banking is an equally important part of working for a campaign. And since it to me has always registered in the same vein as cold calling, I have always done everything in my power to avoid it. Phone banking is still my least favorite part of my new job. I get anxiety when I call strangers. I know this is illogical since I have far less fear of walking up to a stranger's door than calling them.
I constantly dread the calls. Despite their importance, it is this part of the day that makes me most afraid. It is truly illogical when one considers that I go out of the way to talk to strangers. Perhaps something about talking to a person who has no interest in speaking to me is part of the fear. I have reflected on the fact that it might be a result of some deep-seated fear from when I was younger. I fear that some issue from when I was young may continue to create a hindrance as I phone bank. But whether it is a fear of being yelled at or some other related issue, I am certain that it will be years before I can solve the problem.
All in all, I have a lot of work ahead of me. The primaries are the light at the end of the tunnel. But until that day comes, I will be working harder than I ever have in my life for a political campaign that I strongly believe in. The most important lesson I am learning is that it requires even more work than I believed to simply work for a political campaign. I can only imagine what it is like to be the actual politician at the center of it.