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Have you been used as a political pawn?
Old 10-08-2007, 10:16 AM   #1
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Have you been used as a political pawn?

I was approached yesterday at a quarterly meeting of the "muckety mucks" of an organization I belong to to "run" for the number two spot in the state next summer. Quite the shock, since I am a newbie to this organization. The fact that I am an involved young (under 40) and female (and not ugly) member of a typically older male group is the driving force. I was assured that I have the support of the muckety mucks in place today...

Classic case of right place, right time (and right age and gender) Nothing like the potential of becoming a marketing tool... I am still undecided.

Anyone else been in similar situation?
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Fireup2025 View Post
I was approached yesterday at a quarterly meeting of the "muckety mucks" of an organization I belong to to "run" for the number two spot in the state next summer. Quite the shock, since I am a newbie to this organization. The fact that I am an involved young (under 40) and female (and not ugly) member of a typically older male group is the driving force. I was assured that I have the support of the muckety mucks in place today...

Classic case of right place, right time (and right age and gender) Nothing like the potential of becoming a marketing tool... I am still undecided.

Anyone else been in similar situation?
No, but that sounds exciting!! If it was me, I'd DO it just for the fun of it, if nothing else.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:57 AM   #3
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Classic case of right place, right time (and right age and gender) Nothing like the potential of becoming a marketing tool... I am still undecided.
Nothing like getting sucked up to the top by the attrition vortex of a power vacuum, is there?

Geez, this could really cut into your personal time. Setting aside the very real demographic advantages for a moment, and agreeing that you'd be more than capable of handling the job no matter what your demographics, let's turn the situation around and get NJ-style paranoid & cynical for a few paragraphs.

For starters, why are they being so nice to you? And why now? Does it seem likely that every other more-experienced member of that organization is unable to find the time in their lives to accomplish the highly-desirable task you've been nominated for? If it was really such a good deal right now, wouldn't there be more people interested in it? Why has no one else in the state with your abilities/background/experience joined this organization? What in the world do you have to offer the mucketies that makes them so enthusiastic about supporting an acknowledged newbie?

Is it possible that every other member of that organization has looked at you and said "Yeah, she's way better for this job than I'd be, so I'm going to step aside and throw my support her way!" Or are they really looking at you and thinking "Sucker!!"...

Is there any way for you to talk about the job with the predecessor of the incumbent of the #2 spot? Or their co-workers or acquaintances? The incumbent won't talk stink about their current position, but the person who had it before them may have a considerably different perspective than the one you're being offered.

If you got this job, would there be any concerns about personal liability? Does the job have director's errors & omissions insurance? Aside from being in NJ, does this position involve hazardous-duty pay or combat pay? Should it?

I recently read Gary Klein's "The Power of Intuition". One of the decision-making techniques he suggests for any project is a "pre-mortem" where you assume that you've peeked a year into the future to learn that things have gone horribly wrong and your plans have created a total disaster. Now try to figure out what assumptions or initial conditions you're starting with that could blow up to produce this result. Once planners accept the required condition that the project is an utter failure, it's amazing how many shaky assumptions there are and how much flawless execution has to occur. Or maybe things aren't as they seem.

If nothing else you could always put on your best smile, tell everyone how happy you are just to be here and what a surprise & honor it is to be nominated, but your personal/professional life won't support this task right now and you'd like to stick around for a while to help the experienced members and to learn the ropes better...
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:14 AM   #4
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LOL - Nords, it is a voluntary position with a service organization...I had planned on working my up the food chain over the years in order to go the national route after RE....(that would require a bit of travel - and am keeping my eyes on someone on that level now)
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:34 AM   #5
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Let's hear it for the next Lieutenant Governor of the Great State of New Jersey!
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:45 AM   #6
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Where is the smiley with the noose around its neck??

Besides the "real" political jobs here in NJ pay multiple salaries!
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Old 10-08-2007, 11:56 AM   #7
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LOL - Nords, it is a voluntary position with a service organization...
Hey, you used the word pawn!

In 1986, in the middle of an unusually chaotic refit, my CO called me into his stateroom. I had qualified as Engineer last month, I'd gotten married five days later, I was due to transfer ashore in four months, and I'd just stepped over from being the DCA/Auxiliary Division Officer to... Radio Division. For those unfamiliar with the lifestyle, life was looking pretty good. I was even sleeping 3-4 hours a night.

My CO said that the Engineer of the USS LAFAYETTE had just broken his leg and wouldn't be able to make next week's patrol. After we guffawed over the idea that it was a failed suicide attempt, he said that the commodore was looking for a replacement Engineer and I was first up. My CO didn't want to lose me, blah blah, great opportunity, blah blah, let him know by dinner.

I'd be taking over the engine room of the first of our boomer class, a broken-down boat in terrible condition at the height of the Cold War, and with very little time to settle into the job before starting a three-month patrol. My shore-duty orders (Naval Postgraduate School with my new spouse) would probably be deferred until my relief could report aboard. However I'd immediately be promoted to LCDR with its 25% pay raise, I'd prove that I was qualified to do a department-head job, I'd get a nice medal out of the experience, and I'd seal my reputation as the go-to guy with a green ID card. (I'd get a nicer stateroom with a better rack, too!) My next sea tour would probably be the pick of the fleet in the assignment officer's grateful acknowledgment of my service above & beyond the call of duty. OK, maybe that last one was a stretch, but they were short of time/personnel and increasingly desperate.

I looked at my life as it was, considered what my life could be, and passed on the opportunity. My CO was simultaneously relieved and disappointed, a career cue that sailed way over my head.

Of course the guy that took the job was selected as Department Head of the Year and just picked up flag officer had a terrible patrol filled with broken gear, a fire and two instances of flooding, and was having such a tough time that the boat was selected for a surprise nuclear inspection. He later admitted that he was so flattered to be asked that he couldn't say no, and he certainly learned from the experience.

Misquoting that noted maritime leader & philospher, Cap'n Jack Sparrow, "I love these opportunities. I love to wave at them as they pass by..."
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:20 PM   #8
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FireUp2025,
- This could be a lot of fun. Say "yes", then start behaving erratically. Nothing entirely over-the-top. Pawn indeed! As you'll recall, in chess once the pawn reaches the opponent's base row it can be exchanged for anything you want it to be?

Seriously, this might be a kick. But, as Nords cautioned: Just because someone holds the door open does not mean you want to go through it. Consider all factors and if you decide to accept the offer then give it all you can.
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:45 PM   #9
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Fireup, this happened to me several years ago. I was approached by a political party to run for office. I was flabbergasted and honestly felt I was the wrong person for the job. IMHO politics has too much lying and pretence and kissing babies (eww!). They tried to woo me with promises of increasing my influence in the community even if I lost (which I would have ) but just getting involved would have upended my personal and job responsibilities and would have completely eroded my privacy. So I took Nords' advice and politely told them it wasn't possible at this time due to other commitments.

The key here is that, like me, you are being recruited for what you can do for the party. It may be a long shot, but they need you more than you need them and they are willing to take the risk. If you really want to do this, find if they are willing to commit the political organization and mentorship to support you in honing up on the issues, dealing with the media, and covering your personal obligations. If not, stay away from the party. If they have the resources to support a credible bid, the real question becomes, are you passionate enough or crazy enough to leap into politics?
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:58 PM   #10
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OK folks - this is not politics like that. It is for state level adminstration of a veteran's service organization. (which I am already a part of as an appointee - not elected position) I'd be "guided"/elected to the #2 spot, which in turn tends to result in the head muckety muck position the following year. Membership of younger veterans and females is a hot topic in the organizations - and I happen to be in the right place at the right time - and on the national level, NJ would have something to crow about (and, we need all the help we can get) we have a young female officer, blah blah blah....most important thing at that level is to delegate! Getting involved at this level is on my list of things to do...was just waiting til I could identify all the movers & shakers (like a few years down the road...closer to ER)
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:26 PM   #11
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Fireup, this sounds pretty exciting -- the kind of thing where you make career-long, life-long contacts. I'd be pretty tempted if I were you.

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Old 10-08-2007, 01:55 PM   #12
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Ok, so it's something you had been thinking about for the longer term and not big P Politics, just small p politics. Less danger of public humiliation, possibly more collegial. This might be a good way to develop your leadership skills. Just be prepared for a major commitment of time and energy. And in a volunteer organization, be prepared for others not to pull their weight.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:57 PM   #13
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Have you been used as a political pawn?
yes, every time I vote
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Fireup2025 View Post
I was approached yesterday at a quarterly meeting of the "muckety mucks" of an organization I belong to to "run" for the number two spot in the state next summer. Quite the shock, since I am a newbie to this organization. The fact that I am an involved young (under 40) and female (and not ugly) member of a typically older male group is the driving force. I was assured that I have the support of the muckety mucks in place today...

Classic case of right place, right time (and right age and gender) Nothing like the potential of becoming a marketing tool... I am still undecided.

Anyone else been in similar situation?
I would say go with what your gut tells you.

The group may be looking for a newbie with fresh ideas and a fresh approach. Surely they must think that you can do the job. The fact that you are a younger person , a female and not ugly (from your post) can not hurt and in fact may be what the organization needs. Maybe the older male driven organization needs the talents of a young female.

From your other posts on this thread it appears that the organization is an advocate group for OUR VETERANS and THEIR FAMILIES and I for one see this as a BLESSING. I am sure that the persons who are receiving your assistance will not look at the fact that you are a young female with good looks.

GOD BLESS
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