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October 21, 1987 - Image 63

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-21

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Managing a Career in Politics

0ver the last three decades, the poll-
taker, the commercials maker and
S the direct-mail solicitor have become
wielders of political power in a manner
once reserved to the local party boss. And
like the old-fashioned boss, these new pols
have mainly learned their craft through
trial and error. The major parties occasion-
ally fill the training gap with ad hoc pro-
grams for campaign managers, and a few
colleges have taught the odd course in cam-
paign skills. Finally, though, there's a full-
fledged Graduate School of Political Man-
agement that plans to pass the new
electoral skills along with a master's de-
gree. Says Neil Fabricant, an experienced
public-sector attorney and president of the
facility that opened in New York last
month: "The idea is that the technology of
politics is beginning to drive the system."
GSPM, which is independent, nonprofit
and accredited, bills its 13-month program
as the first to teach comprehensive cam-
paign consulting under one nonpartisan
roof. Full-time students pay $12,600 for
classes in statistical analysis, campaign fi-
nance, media relations, ethics and relevant
legislation. The adjunct faculty includes
academics, professional campaign manag-
ers and technical consultants. Christopher
Arterton, the dean, is a former associate
professor of political science at Yale and a
nationally known authority on public-
opinion polling. Instructors include Lee
Atwater, political director for Reagan-
Bush '84; Barbara Farah, director of sur-
veys for The New York Times, and Larry
Sabato, author of "The Rise of Political
Consultants: New Ways of Winning

The school admitted 30 students in this
opening year and is in the first stages of
building a video library of political com-
mercials. So far, Fabricant has raised
$150,000 in grants from Ford Motor Co.,
Philip Morris U.S.A., the National Educa-
tion Association and individual donors
-including instructor Douglas Bailey,
whose consulting firm has worked with
governors, senators and President Gerald
Ford. Can skills training in the classroom
effectively replace tricks picked up on the
campaign trail? Only the voters will tell.
Jobs Abroad
nternational trade is big, big business.
The value of U.S. imports and exports
totaled more than $600 billion in 1986,
up 27 percent since 1980, and the money is
spread across the entire economy. Since
international issues also extend far beyond
trade-to politics, diplomacy, media and
more-it might seem that jobs are every-
where. But the trick to building an interna-
tional career, according to a recently pub-
lished book by David Win, International
Careers: An Insiders Guide (222pages. William-
son Publishing. $10.95), is to know how to
behave when you're scouting opportuni-
ties. Job-hunting tactics that may get
results in the United States, Win cautions,
can backfire in an international setting.
The aggressive Young Turk routine that
plays so well with many American corpo-
rate recruiters, for instance, is often
frowned upon in other cultures as too open
and direct.
Win is an international business consult-
ant and career counselor who has spent 20
years working abroad for various compa-
nies. Whether his view of the job market is
correct or not, he outlines a promising
strategy for breaking into the field: start by
getting involved in international agencies,
organizations and business support groups
to which corporate managers belong. It's
not a matter of cocktail-party socializing.
Rather, Win advises job seekers to put
themselves to work-which may range
from taking tickets at the door during the
monthly trade-association meeting to do-
ing research on an international topic and
presenting the results at a committee
membership meeting. The guide also con-
tains several appendixes of helpful refer-
ence material-including an explanation
of popular industry abbreviations and ac-
ronyms and important addresses.

Name: Annelisa -
Age: 23
Education: Bache-
lor of Arts in Lin-
guistics, UCLA
Occupation: Free-
lance tour
Q. What do you do
on the job?
A. I direct local
and out-of-town tours for five or
six different companies. My
next tour will go to the Grand
Canyon and Lake Tahoe.
Q. What do you like least about
your work?
A. Sometimes you get cranky
people who blame you for the bad
weather or the broken plumb-
ing in their hotel room. More
than that, I find myself a long
way from home from time to
time. I spend a lot of time on
pay phones.
Q: How hard was It to find this
kind of work?
A: A lot easier than you might
think. I applied for city tours
first. The pay was terrible, but
you have to do the smaller ones to
get a feel for how to do a tour.
From there, I got better jobs by
word of mouth and networking.
Q: Are there some courses you wish you
had taken that would help you on the job?
A: I should have taken history
courses and more geography. I
ended up learning what I need
to know on the job.
Q: What were you least prepared for?
A. Senior citizens. I didn't real-
ize what a difference there is be-
tween the needs of younger and
older groups.
0: How Important is it for someone who
wants to be a tour guide to know other
A: Very. Although I've studied
other languages, I do all my tours
in English If I knew how to
speak French or German or
Spanish, I could get more work.
Q: What advice would you give to stu-
dents interested in tourism as a career?
A: Try to work in the field while
you are in school. Life is a lot
easier when you pay your debts
before you graduate. Working in
a travel agency is a good way to
learn about the possibilities open
to people in this business.



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