Losing one’s job can be a painful process. But how are you supposed to feel if the thousands — sometimes tens of thousands — of people you work for get together, as they did a couple of Tuesdays ago, and tell you you’re fired?
Well, not to worry. Even if you’ve just booked a one-way ticket out of Washington, we are here to help. From NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” our resident guidance counselor, Peter Sagal, provides some advice for rejected public servants who didn’t ask for it.
Dear Need to Know.
For years I was a powerful person, with a staff and a title and a chance to make big speeches on the chamber floor. Now I’m out of a job, and I don’t know if I can handle the emotional shock. How do I adjust to unemployment?
Dear Blown — or is it Congressman Out? No wait, just Blown. Sorry.
That does really bite. I’m sorry. I guess this means you can’t get me that F-32 fighter now, huh? Never mind. This is supposed to be about you.
Well, let’s look at this. You’re going to miss your job, sure, but what specifically about your job?
It’s not about having power over the direction of the country. You didn’t fail to be re-elected Oprah. It’s about feeling important — having a group of young people around you at all times, doing what you say, and making noises that sound like respect and affection, all the while trying to manipulate you into doing what they want.
So, to make up for that loss, I suggest having children.
There’s always the perks of office, the free meals and parties thrown for you by the people who thought — correctly! — they could buy your vote with a steak. It’s going to be tough to pay for a meal. My understanding is that The Capital Grille has a frequent drinker’s card: buy 10 martinis and then the 11th one is free. Slap down your card, pick up your drink, close your eyes, and you can pretend you matter again.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of public service. That’s why you did it, right? How to fill that loss?
Episode: November 12, 2010
Well, most of the important political work that makes a difference in people’s lives happens at the local level. You could work for FEMA or Medicaid, bringing help to those who need it, or do what Shirley Sherrod did at the Department of Agriculture, helping farmers keep their farms. It’s hard work, and you’ll never get recognized, and you’ll probably get attacked by the guy who used to have your job for being a government bureaucrat, but you’ll be actually making a tangible difference in people’s lives.
Yeah, I’m kidding. Go be a lobbyist. But the drinks at The Capital Grille will be on you.