As of this day it has been exactly two months and two weeks since I moved to Sacramento and began the internship at the Capitol working in the assembly of the Legislature. In that time, I learned first hand what truly goes on at the political level statewide and how it connects to everything else. I have met people and made friends, made mistakes and advanced politically. Now while bloggers and authors online and on twitter are wrapped up with the national presidential election-more on that later-people seem to forget that not only is this a presidential election, but it is also an election at the state level and local level depending on your state and city. Here in California, there are numerous elections that are going on both locally and statewide.
When I first got here, I didn’t know up from down. Sure I knew somethings from studying in my major of political science and reading Machiavelli, Robert Greene and Ryan Holiday, but it wasn’t until I saw what they wrote about in action did everything finally click. So with that, here are a few lessons I learned so far from my time at the Capitol,
– Calm down and breath, remember this is only a building with people in it with the same insecurities and desires and lusts as anyone else in the world. Flesh and blood
– Always Say less than Necessary
– Your reputation precedes you, it is your bond, your word, your calling card. What you do, how you do it, how you act, and what you say paints a picture of who you are. See law 5
– Be polite and courteous, you never know who you are going to offend by mistake. See law 19
– Just because you are an intern does not mean that you are not being watched or evaluated. At this level and in this court, what you do says a lot.
– Cultivate relationships, your network in this court will open doors for you and allow you to advance and thrive. Be isolated for too long or neglect relationships and you will die. See law 18
– Dress impeccably well, you do it not for yourself but for others. No one likes looking at someone disheveled or ragged. It throws them off and they don’t pay attention to what you say but to the mistake you made.
– Avoid the snakes and the toxic.
– Never shit where you eat, just don’t.
– Know the political process, inside and out. Know how the committees work and who sits upon them. Know who the players are and who is who.
– Keep a balance between Idealism and Reality, you want to survive, thrive and have a lasting affect in this world; not try to be the starry eyed dreamer.
– Always know what your grand strategy is and never reveal it to others.
– Focus on your work. Results. Not sloth.
Most importantly know that you can walk away at anytime but what goes on in these walls affect you in countless ways. These are but some lessons I have learned so far here at what I call the court of political life. As time moves on and I get closer to the very end I know that I’ll have an over all comprehensive list. But until then keep reading and dare to be wise.