You know that thing, the “network”?
Here, they call it the Wellesley Mafia. I think I can now safely say I’m one degree from the president… seven times over. I’ve been given lots of advice on networking (“what you should do is politely stalk”) and advice on life (“don’t leave your relationships to chance -don’t spend all your time working.”) by people like… Hillary Clinton. I’m a little starstruck.
What was really interesting was the different ways that we met with people. Obviously with Madame Secretary and Justice Sotomayor, it was a very formal affair. A set of double doors opened, with Mrs. Clinton walking down the center of a hallway toward us, arranged in her antechamber and beaming manically (an aide of hers said she probably thinks everyone is crazy because they all look like that when they meet her).
On the other hand, meeting Ben Holzer, Peter Rouse, and Sarah Hurwitz at the White House offices was completely different: a roundtable discussion with some of the President’s top advisors. Sarah Hurwitz has written so many of his and Michelle’s speeches (her convention speech included), which doesn’t just mean she writes their words; they actually go back and forth and chat and chill and get to know each other. She had the highest praise for the Obamas a speechwriter could give, “they raise us up, in the end.” Oftentimes, she says, the people she writes for don’t work with her very well and mess up the words she wrote, but the Obamas are straightforward and smart about the job they have to do together. It was very heartening
I have at once narrowed and broadened my desirable options for the future: I don’t want to do very many of the things I walked in planning on doing, but the remaining choices have expanded like an accordion. Needless to say, yesterday after visiting the State Department I realized that I wanted to work at the State Department, and today after visiting the White House and meeting some of the Obamas’ top consultants, I decided to work on a campaign.
You would think that would be a problem, but almost all of the people we’ve met jumped around to a lot of jobs, went back to school, and ended up nowhere they had planned to be.