A Primer for Losers

12/06/2010 04:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

So, you're one of the hundreds of Democratic staffers about to join the ranks of the unemployed because of the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives? Here are ten pieces of advice for getting used to being on the losing side of an election.

1. Harry Truman said it best: "If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog." The French Embassy has already dropped your name from its Bastille Day celebration list and the invitations from lobbyists and journalists to expense account restaurants have suddenly disappeared. As the Mafia says when they rub somebody out, don't take it personally, it's just business. Besides, you'll lose weight and find out who your real friends are.

2. Don't blame the voters. After all, you knew when you went to work for the chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Paradigm Analysis that the voters might decide they wanted a new paradigm. If you didn't, you should have.

3. Be thankful you've always followed one of life's most important rules, the one that says be nice to people on the way up because you'll meet the same ones on the way down. If you haven't followed this rule, skip to number 10.

4. Consider the election results a blessing in disguise. Let's face it. You really didn't like your job and only stayed on because it was a steady paycheck, the hours were good and it was too hard to make a change. Which leads to the next point.

5. Don't hesitate to go back to Pittsburgh, Providence or Pocatello. You know more about Congress and Washington than most people and you can even run for Congress yourself in 2012 and maybe beat the Republican who put you out of work. After all, a lot of members of Congress were once staffers.

6. If you can afford it, do something totally impractical and unproductive. You can finally get that degree in architecture you always wanted, write a novel, learn to sail, perfect your backhand, grow orchids, live in the south of France or hitchhike to Patagonia. You've got the rest of your life to work.

7. If you can't afford it, figure out how you can make a living at what you're really good at. Start a political consulting business, become a lobbyist, start an on-line dating service or join a Democratic think tank.

8. Spread the word that you're job-hunting. Let everyone you ever did a favor for know you're out of work and ask them to keep you in mind if they hear of anything. Remember, the best job leads come from word of mouth.

9. Don't hesitate to take a parttime job or one that's less prestigious or pays less than you made on the Hill. Get your foot in the door and there's a good chance something better will turn up. And don't forget: It's always easier to find a job when you've already got one.

10. Finally, don't panic if you haven't found a job by the time the 112th Congress convenes next January. Above all, be patient and persistent because your job search will probably take longer than you expect, unless you can convince John Boehner that you were a Republican all along who only went to work for a Democrat because your aunt was Nancy Pelosi's hair dresser.