Young DNC Staffers Reveal How To Work 7 Days A Week And Love Every Minute
Meena Yi never thought she would work in politics when she was young. She explained simply,
But for the past two years, the 29-year-old has been working at the heart of politics at the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC, where she serves as art director.
In the last few weeks of an insane election cycle, Yi told Elite Daily,
She's not alone in this feeling.
Elite Daily spoke to five Millennial women working for the DNC, all of whom expressed excitement and passion about their jobs.
Aside from Yi, three of the women work on the digital team, and one works in communications. They come from across the country (and Canada), and represent a range of experiences and diversity.
With the election reaching its peak, the women are often working seven days a week. But they said they are working with such excellent teams and are so driven by the mission of the DNC that they are inspired daily to keep going with enthusiasm.
Julie Thompson, a 24-year-old digital associate at the DNC, knew she had an interest in politics and wanted to be in DC. But she didn't know exactly how to get into the industry.
She worked hard at her previous jobs, including with the Senate Democratic Leader in the Senate of her home state of Michigan, before she got the opportunity to join the DNC's digital team. She packed up her car and moved to Washington at the beginning of this year.
Thompson is from Flint, a city struck with a major water crisis, in large part due to lack of care from the government. Now though, politicians – especially Democrats – are paying attention to Flint and trying to recover the city.
When Thompson walked into the building on her first day of working at the DNC, she saw a sign about the Flint crisis and almost started crying. Thompson said the signs confirmed to her that "this is not all talk, it's very real. People do care, and they're here to help."
This idea was reinforced when Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton brought Flint up during a debate.
Rabiah Elisa, a 23-year-old on the digital team who writes content for the @AfAmDemocrats Twitter account, echoed this, saying Clinton "bridged such a necessary gap" when she brought up implicit bias during the first presidential debate.
Seeing this support for a range of issues gives the women faith in the organization.
Elisa said she "hit the ground running" from the moment she started in late summer 2015.
In addition to the Twitter account, she works as an email writer, campaigner and fundraiser on the digital team. She was working on email fundraising from the very start for every Democratic campaign across the country.
Plus – because she works on the internet, where conversations are 24/7 – her work is often seven days a week. But the drive to improve conditions (and keep "the severity of one particular candidate" out of the White House) keeps her going.
Thompson's work is "nonstop," but she said,
Jenna Price, a 24-year-old assistant press secretary, said she's exhausted as the election approaches. But she steps back and remembers she's working for a cause greater than herself.
Price added it's easy to stay motivated when you're surrounded by "really, really passionate" co-workers.
Morgan Burke – a 23-year-old who took a year off from college to work on the 2012 Obama campaign, and has been a digital content manager at the DNC since June 2015 – had nothing but bubbling praise for her co-workers. She said, "It's very inspiring for me to see that and be around a smart and motivated and dynamic group of co-workers and leaders."
And of course, it would be a drag to spend seven days a week with co-workers you didn't like.
Yi said, "Especially because we're working every single day, it would be hard to work with people you're not on the same page with."
Thompson added they still "have fun and play constantly," even through the hard work.
The women say their co-workers are not only driven, but inspiringly diverse.
Price said there's a range of people, from gender to race to sexual orientation to religion.
The digital team is majority female and is led by women. Thompson said,
Elisa explained you see diversity not just at the colleague level: The top five leaders of the DNC are African American men and women, including interim chairperson Donna Brazile.
Elisa said this diversity is inherent because the DNC is addressing so many different communities.
These communities "have to be properly represented," Elisa said, by people who understand them. So, the directors of outreach are from the communities they reach out to.
This is why the digital team is filled with so many young people. Because we understand memes.
Burke works on all the social media platforms for the DNC, and helps with those of constituency groups. (She went on record to say the DNC's official stance is "gif," with a hard "G.")
She says it's often "stressful" being the one to put out the party's information and convey it in fun digital forms. She doesn't laugh when she sees typos from other organizations, because now that's her own fear.
In addition to her youth, Burke's overflowing positivity makes her a great fit for conveying messages in fun formats.
Ultimately, it's optimism – a belief that things can improve – that drives all of these women.
She aims to bring this sense of responsibility to her work. She said,
It took Yi a long time to figure out what she wanted to do, so she has empathy for those of us in the same dilemma.
Her best advice is simple:
Thompson, who struggled with her own path, echoed this sentiment:
Elisa pointed out,
There are some proactive moves you can make to figure out what you want to do.
Elisa advised following your passions.
She also said you should "talk to people and ask questions, and find very smart women to talk to or to listen to."
Although all the women took different paths to get to the DNC, like Yi, they know this is the right place for them this year.
Burke, a self-described "history nerd," said, "I don't think I could ever have a job that I didn't love and didn't feel passionate about and believe in."
Price said she "couldn't have asked for a better experience," while Elisa said she "couldn't imagine what else [she] would be doing this election."
Thompson got overwhelmed while speaking about how great her experience and team have been. She said,
And then, she got back to work.
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