NELLIGAN: There’s One Tactic For Getting Ahead In The Swamp That Everyone Should Practice

NELLIGAN: There’s One Tactic For Getting Ahead In The Swamp That Everyone Should Practice


When I set out from San Diego to Washington, D.C. seeking work more than 25 years ago, I went straight to Capitol Hill. Clad in a standard issue suit and tie and clutching a folder full of resumes, I walked into 190 House and Senate offices, the classic cold calling with the resulting cold if sometimes polite shoulder from 190 offices. It was an unimaginative, formulaic process but I was a hustler, dogged and good-natured, and I finally landed a post which over the years led to three other Hill jobs, two Schedule C appointments and a lot of mileage on campaigns all over the country.

I was hardly a standout — they know who they are — but I was dependable, methodical in my work and pathologically discreet. Throughout all these various posts and the shoe leather expended to get them, I learned a lot from trial and error, emphasis on the latter. I also realized that there was no manual — alas, no app — to explain how one navigates the political realm.

Hence, temporarily on hiatus from politics, I wrote such a manual, outlining the five characteristics I witnessed during many years and

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