I Was Told There’d Be Perks

Who says Capitol Hill jobs don't have perks? Staffers pull weeds before a press conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Who says Capitol Hill jobs don't have perks? Staffers pull weeds before a press conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted August 6, 2014 at 5:01am

Think Capitol Hill jobs could use a few more perks? Don’t call an UberX just yet. Hill Navigator discusses the tangible benefits of working in Congress.

Q. I’ve been repeatedly asking about a pay increase in my office, but I’m running into a wall because the next most senior staffer in the office makes about the same as me and isn’t actively pursuing a raise. I got a title bump the last time I pushed for a raise, but now I can’t think of any title that I could ask for. What other perks can I ask for? The usual things from other jobs like more time off and working from home privileges seem out of place on the Hill. I want to be here constantly!

A. Never has so much advice been given in the question in which it was asked. You wanted a raise, you got a title bump. You did your homework, you found your salary isn’t likely to move. In your hunt for privileges, you found out you already love your job.  

Hill Navigator has something for you: A handshake and congratulations.  

You’ve already maneuvered yourself well on Capitol Hill. Your office likes you enough to give you a title change (and hopefully some more responsibilities to go along with it) and you’re now on par with the most senior staffer in your office.  

You’re looking for perks and you’re missing the biggest one: Being in an office, and doing good work, in a situation where you can thrive.  

But yes, yes, you already knew that. So why won’t Hill Navigator get back to telling you how to maximize your current role with perks?  

Because perks aren’t part of the Capitol Hill culture. Titles, information, access to higher-ups and influence within your realm are the currency in which Hill jobs are traded. There is no AmEx or expense account, no glamorous office and private bathroom unless your name is the on the door (and even then, not all are so glamorous, nor private).  

Working for the government inherently means you’re working for others, not for profit. Yes, you may get your cell phone bill reimbursed, but you’re not going to have an Delonghi espresso machine anytime soon. No one on Capitol Hill does.  

My advice to you: Learn as much as you can, work diligently, and take heart that you’re in an office where you’re so thrilled to be there that more time off isn’t even something you’d enjoy.  

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