BlackBerrys are still going off, night and day. And for the moment, aides to President Barack Obama still has the world leaders to worry about, and distant wars to continue to manage and decisions to still make. But on Jan.20 at 12 noon, Inauguration Day all of this come to a full stop.
HELP HIS STAFF
Obama and his team are working to help that his staff find good jobs. They have brought in representatives from Instagram, Facebook and other companies to give their insights into the job market. Also LinkedIn officials are helping these staffers help them to market their skills.
Georgetown University has custom designed a professional development program calling it “Future44” – Obama being the 44th president – to show Obama’s political appointees on positioning themselves for what comes after life in the White House.
“You go through a detox period,” said Michael Wear. He has worked for Obama for 4 years on faith-based outreach. “It was like my brain, after so much time working incredible hours and having to be so attentive to so many inputs, I would be holding my glasses and asking my wife where my glasses were.”
Even prior to the election, very few if any of Obama’s aides were expected to stay for the next administration – they are all flat-out exhausted and anticipated that when Hillary Clinton won that she would want to install her own team. But Trump’s upset victory closed down any thoughts that any of the nearly 500 staffers will stick around.
There are those who have given years of Obama’s mission, often missing out on holidays or other family occasions, Trump’s win and his promises to undo most of Obama’s accomplishments has been a demoralizing blow. And the fact that GOP retained control of both the Senate and the House means there will be very few opportunities for these Obama-aides to move into other government jobs here.
At Georgetown, 271 Obama appointees have gone thru the Future44 program, provided at no cost – thanks to an anonymous donor. They can register for either four 2-hour evening sessions or one 8-hour “boot camp”.
“We designed this unique curriculum to help these staffers think through how to market themselves or market their competencies,” said the dean of Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies.
Many outgoing staffers are probably going to move to the San Francisco area and New York, places having high-tech jobs and cultural sensibilities that overlap with the culture in Obama’s White House. Those staffers would be joining dozens of other former Obama aides who have gone to work for:
And similar companies that largely cater to millennials.
“There are a lot of mission-driven organizations here,” said Clark Stevens, who already moved to San Francisco to work for AirBnB after working in the White House and the Homeland Security Department. “These are area of innovation, and they’re providing new solutions. That aligns in a lot of ways with the focus of the president.”
DIGITAL BROWN BAG
To also help prepare staff for post-West Wing life, the White house also have been hosting “digital brown bag” lunches about technological developments, digital media, involving both outside speakers and Obama staffers who worked recently at Google and other companies. Smaller sessions within specific departments have focused on making transitions from government to private sector.
Jennifer Friedman who is White House spokeswoman said that President Obama had also directed staff to keep working on his priorities full-speed until Jan 20th Inauguration Day, but was mindful that the end a little more than 9 weeks.
“The transition out of government is a reality for most appointees, which brings both excitements about prospects for the next chapter or a long-awaited chance to recharge batteries, ad a keen awareness about a big, impending change, “Friedman said.
These longtime staffers are going to be finding these changes jarring and some a real let-down. Ivan Adler, a head-hunter at McCormick Group who specializes in government affairs, said most goes on to work in one of two settings:
- Firms, like consulting and lobbying agencies;
- Organizations like Trade associations, think tanks and non-profit.
“I tell everybody: You have to understand there’s likely nothing you will do professionally that will have the same amount of excitement you’ve just gone through in the White House, unless you become a race-car driver or an astronaut,” said Adler.