The views I had of how our government works and functions has undergone a huge shift since I have been up in Washington, DC. I have seen things I never would have expected to see and learned a ton of stuff that the media does not really comment on or bring to people's attention. One thing though really stuck out to me since coming up here though and working.
The incredibly high turnover rate.
This was brought to my attention when I started my internship as many people in the lower to mid-level jobs work maybe a year before moving either up or out of the office they are in. While your more/most senior level people like Legislative Directors and Chief of Staffs tend to stay around longer it's normally only a handful of years before they move out of the office. Asking different people around in fact it is actually BAD to continue to stay within the same office for years on end no matter what kind of work you are doing.
This is not a view that only one side takes as it is universally accepted and understood. I never would have dreamed that committing to an office would carry that sort of stigma but boy was I wrong. The more that I have thought about this I cannot really figure out if it is good or bad as I can rationalize both schools of thought rather equally.
On the pros side, we have people acquire a vast array of knowledge about government operations and what is going on at any point in time. Well-rounded individuals are a huge plus and then they can specialize in certain things like transportation and infrastructure or healthcare. This logic would create a pool of talent that all has roughly the same basic knowledge and understanding. The biggest pro to this I would argue would be all of the connections that one can form by interacting with such a large number of individuals. It doesn't matter what political party you are part of you are being forced into meeting people and creating these connections both in whatever party your work for but also those on the other side of the aisle.
For all of the good though there are some not-so-good aspects that you have to address at the same time. Higher turnover leads to less advanced or sophisticated work being accomplished by lawmakers. There is also the possibility the true potential of an office will not be reached due to the high turnover rate. I for instance start tomorrow in my new office for the internship I have yet it is only going to last 6-7 weeks total. My last internship lasted four months so how well will I get to know these new people is a really interesting question I do not have an answer to. Projects/programs that can take years to put together and get passed could easily be delayed by this. There is a lot of leg work that has to be done by the lower-level staff people and if these people are changing out a couple of times a year that's no good!
The whole reason that I even mention any of this is because this morning I found out that one of the interns that took my place when my internship ended has already left the program. She lasted a whopping 11 days total and found a permanent job in the lobbying sector. I was honestly shocked to hear this since she came from the Texas Tech program and while she has graduated she lives at the Tech house and I mean just started. How much could she really have learned in the meantime? She was a lot like me and not really sure what she wanted to do so took this internship to try and figure it out and man I honestly do not know how you can figure it out that quick.
It will be interesting to follow her story and see what she ends up doing long-term. I will be the first to say that lobbying pays really well and a lot of people who work up here go into it at one point but I struggle to wrap my head around leaving the internship program that she did as quickly as she joined. It definitely does not make it easy on the office she left as those individuals have only just started to get used to the two new interns and now they have to prepare and test a whole new person.