Help Wanted on the Hill
They'd Work Long Hours for Little or No Pay, Yet Thousands Are Inquiring at the Capitol
By Amy JoyceWashington Post Staff WriterMonday, January 1, 2007; Page D01
Caitlin Williams spent December working the phones, asking Washington friends if she could sleep on their couches while she looks for a job on Capitol Hill. So far she's lined up three couches, a couple of interviews and one temporary job.
Like thousands of other job seekers, Williams sees this winter as her big chance. The shift in power that will take place Thursday when the 110th Congress is sworn in is bringing an unusual number of freshmen to the Hill, and all of them will have to establish offices. So they'll be hiring. In the House, with 55 new members, the typical member's office has about 15 full- and part-time people on staff. In the Senate, with 10 new members, a typical office has 30 to 35 staffers. That's about 1,100 potential jobs. Many new members will bring a few employees with them from their campaigns or home offices, but most will have to hire at least some staff when they arrive.
There are hundreds more positions opening on the staffs of more than 200 soon-to-be-revamped committees and subcommittees. Almost all the committee jobs, and the upper positions on the members' office staffs, will go to people with significant experience in politics or government. But there are still a lot of openings out there for staff assistants, researchers, clerks, receptionists and other entry-level grunt jobs, usually involving long hours and low pay.