Project Wonderful

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Duck On Water

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about GOTV is that "you should be like a duck on water." Under the surface you may be paddling furiously, but for the world to see you just glide along and let things roll off your back.

For all the ways in which this GOTV is eerily similar to the one I ran four years ago in Minnesota (more on that later) one thing has changed: I don't freak out. I don't. This was news to my first boss who was reminiscing last night about the time I bit someone's head off the night before the election, and believe me, I can breakdown with the best of 'em, but the truth is it's just not productive.

The BEST lesson I have learned from campaigns is that sometimes the most worthwhile thing you can do to contribute to an operation is to simply be reasonable. This seems obvious, but its a rare individual who can be the calm among the storm. So here are my rules for being a Duck on Water during GOTV:

1) Be an Indian. Everyone wants to be running the show, and good field people are protective of their operation, but sometimes the best thing you can contribute in the chaos is to be the person sticking labels on doorhangers or putting together walk packets, even if this is generally below your pay grade.

2) Don't ask questions.
Everyone is tired and stressed out, and sometimes silly calls will be made. Like the FD who asked me to send him a spreadsheet with the number 5 next to every polling place for the number of yardsigns being deployed. Obviously if a BIG mistake is about to be made, you should stop it, but sometimes it's better to let the little stuff slide, even if it isn't what would happen if everyone had more sleep.

3) Don't take it personally. We all care deeply about electing Democrats. Under pressure and with very little sleep, people WILL snap at you. You are my hero if every single time you can say to yourself "its not me, its just GOTV."

4) Put people on hold. Prepare for multiple, simultaneous, demands on your time. Learn how to communicate that "your issue is important to me and you are on my radar, I will be with you in five minutes."

5) Over thank. This includes fellow staff members. No one knows what your coworkers are going through better than you. Town committee chairs, activists and candidates will forget to thank them this week. Everyone will appreciate if you are the exception. Bonus points if you bring them coffee.

Look forward to more Eday updates!

1 comment:

  1. This is hilarious!

    "ike the FD who asked me to send him a spreadsheet with the number 5 next to every polling place for the number of yardsigns being deployed"

    I will use the duck on water analogy as well! Good stuff.