Congrats! I don’t know you but I’m very happy for you!
The networking was hard for me, and I often felt thrown off or wired up after my networking calls. It took me a long time to send each email.
I’m impressed you were able to persist in your job search while feeling this way. Did you have a particularly strong motivation toward your long-term goal, or were there other strategies you used to overcome these mental blockers?
I do think there was a strong motivation. I was convinced that landing a Congressional role was an early career dream job for me because 1) with just a few years of investment I could be in a position to make policy change, much faster than other paths 2) even if it ended up being too hard/not what I expected, it is great career capital for political advocacy which is my Plan B 3) I generally thought I would enjoy this type of work a lot. At one point, I decided to commit 100% to applying for Congressional jobs and give myself a 6 month deadline to do it. I’m not sure if I would’ve actually quit after 6 months, but the looming threat of ‘total failure’ if I didn’t get there was really terrifying motivating. Also, being unemployed/underemployed sucks and was pretty uncomfortable in and of itself. I knew networking would be the key to landing a role, so day-to-day I just had to keep pushing myself to do it. I had faith that if I just kept at it, I couldn’t fail.
It was also helpful to remember that networking is totally routine in Washington DC and in Congress. People really are generous and willing to help and receiving that help doesn’t make you annoying. Emotionally, I never stopped feeling like a nuisance but it was good to know on an intellectual level that everything I was doing was normal.
Also, if you ask questions that you are genuinely curious about in your meetings with people, it will make the meetings more interesting. This seems obvious, but it is easy to get caught in the trap of asking the same questions and hearing the same answers.
And lastly, I just sort of accepted that it was always going to be uncomfortable for me. So I just had to push past the ‘discomfort’ points, like pushing ‘send’ on the email, or the moments where I asked people for concrete things.