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James Angelopoulos is a true inspiration for anyone who has struggled to find their calling in life! After college, he explored various career paths but ultimately found his passion in politics. He worked tirelessly to build relationships and gain experience, ultimately finding his dream career in public service in Connecticut. Angelopoulos serves as a shining example of perseverance and dedication, showing that with hard work and determination, anyone can achieve their dreams.
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Alternate Titles For The Algorithm:
Chemical Alchemist turned Process Engineer
From Lost to Found: The Inspiring Journey of James Angelopoulos
James Angelopoulos: How He Found His Passion in Politics
One Man’s Quest for Fulfillment: The Story of James Angelopoulos
James Angelopoulos: Finding Success Through Perseverance
From Career to Calling: The Rise of James Angelopoulos
James Angelopoulos: A Story of Transformation and Triumph
A Journey to Political Success: The Life of James Angelopoulos
James Angelopoulos: How He Overcame Career Uncertainty and Found His True Calling
The Making of a Politician: The Inspiring Story of James Angelopoulos
Hey y’all this is your host Elyse Robinson. With nobody wants to work though podcasts I hope the stories were inspire you to switch careers. I was an auditor in my past life and I’m in tech, then let’s get to it
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Hey, y’all, my name is Elyse Robinson with nobody wants to work though podcast. I’m your host and today we have James.
James, tell me about what your first career was and what do you do now. Um, hi everybody. My name is James Angelopoulos. I am 24 years old about about to be 25. This upcoming April in 2023.
When I left college, I was going into education, I had received my degree in history, and Arabic language over at Central Connecticut State University.
I had had a plan that I was either going to work in some archive or as
some sort of museum worker, whatever was available, but I also had a dream of being a teacher. In fact, when I first went to Central Connecticut, my original plan was to go in for history, secondary education to be a social studies teacher. But I’d heard some things through the grapevine realize that maybe if I went in as a substitute teacher, or what have you, I’d be able to make some quick scratch and then go through a program called alternate route for certification or arc so that it can become a teacher.
And then when the COVID 19 pandemic hit, as I was graduating, it became a perfect time to get involved without certification into public education. And so that’s what I did.
I originally entered as a long term substitute teacher, slash a permanent substitute, which are, which sound like two career paths or not career paths, but two jobs that sound exactly the same, but they’re just slightly different in very important context.
But then, after that, after many experiences, I moved over into politics. And I did some work as a campaign organizer for my congressman. And as of today, I am an assistant clerk at the legislative office building in Hartford.
God so yeah, I wanted to have you on here because I thought that was interesting. You know, you got into politics, and you’re clerking and things like that, um,
what made you you know, go into? Or let me say, change your mind from being like a museum curator.
To to this?
Well, good question, you know, when I first left teaching, and that’s a whole bag of worms, which I’m sure we’ll get into later. But I was applying like crazy. And it got, it got to the point where I said, Well, you know, I went from, I need to make money because I need to be able to support myself, I need to be able to support my fiance,
I need to be able to pay rent that sort of thing to well, I’m willing to work two jobs in order to meet ends meet. So I’ll take you know, jobs that aren’t paying that well, to I’m willing to take an internship at this point, even though I’m fresh out of college and you know, don’t really have the room to take an internship. But it is an incredibly tight field, the field of history in the most visible roles in which a historian can get into it’s not easy without moving out state. And
even at this time, much, much less at that time. I was not willing to move out of state just yet. I didn’t have the funds to do so. So
getting into politics.
Well, I didn’t necessarily intended but I’ve always been someone who’s politically minded.
My friends would always make fun of me and say, James, we’re just trying to like play a game or do a board game or we’re trying to eat dinner. Can we stop talking about the wide goings on of the country right now?
Much less estate. And
it’s just something that I’ve always been focused on. It’s always something that I’ve been interested in. And I’ve always wanted to delve into politics a little bit just never had the means it’s not like, I got a political science degree. It’s not like
I had an internship or any kind of experience with any candidate.
But I one thing that I had, which I think we’ll get into, based on the questions list that I have in front of me, is a friend who got himself into politics at a very young age, both professionally and personally. And
during the course of the 2022 legislative elections,
he was really, really in need of help.
He needed bodies on the ground, he needed feet on the ground, and I was one of the first people he contacted, because he said, I know James is looking to start a new career, and this might be a good moment for him.
Gotcha, gotcha. Um, yeah, cuz I’m like, how do you find, you know, something like that? You know, how do people get into it? But I’ll ask you about that later. Um,
all these things come at a cost. What do they cost? You did? Did your friends and your family think you were crazy going into, you know, politics, they, you know, politics are dirty. You know, they’re they’re nasty,
bribe and blackmail and all that good stuff. And then outside of that, it’s the government.
So what did people think when you were going to go into politics?
Good question. Well, first, I do want to say, as someone who’s working in politics, and you’re making that statement, Politics does get a bad rap, depending on where you are. In the state of Connecticut.
You can’t really see hide nor hair of things like backroom deals, blackmail, that sort of thing. Most of what goes on in politics, in the state of Connecticut, and even on the federal level, as far as our representatives and senators go, you know, what you see on CTN, which is our version of you know, C span, essentially, is what happens in the office rooms, what you see on C span for our representatives for Senators. That’s what happens in the White House, or in the Congress building.
But my family, so there’s a lot of folks in my life, who, you know, they were bouncing around between jobs where they found the job that they needed right away.
My mother is a nurse, she got her nursing certificate, I want to say over 40 years ago now, and she went straight into nursing. She got started at the local hospital near where I live and has never left. That’s what she’s done her entire life. My father, he’s bounced around between restaurants, but ever since he left college, he’s been managing restaurants. He never got his college degree, but that’s what he’s been doing.
My grandmother was always a seamstress. My other grandmother was always a Spanish teacher.
My aunt, actually,
who I would say is probably the person I look up to most my family was a little bit flabbergasted that I wasn’t staying with teaching because there was a time between when I stopped teaching. And when I started politics, where I was just doing odd part time jobs, you know, I got a job stocking shelves at Costco. I got a job, you know, running the package store over in a neighboring town. And she was sitting there like, hey, you know, some schools are recruiting in the in it. And it was a little bit heart wrenching every time I tried to explain to her, you know, no, I do not want to go back into teaching. She’d look at me and say, Well, what else are you going to do? You know, this is what you put your your lot in. And clearly you’re not getting hired for any museums or anything. And the schools are hurting, so you should probably stick to teaching. But I just knew that it was not what I wanted to do. And it was it was not all was cracked up to be. In my experience. It was not something that I realized that I wanted to do with my life. So yeah, there were quite a few people who doubted me. But you know, those same detractors whether it was my mother, my aunt, my father,
brother was a little
It shocked because he’s, you know, totally anti politics. They ended up being some of my biggest supporters. Gotcha. I’m over here cracking up.
Um, yeah, my, my mother and father were government workers. So, you know, I knew that that was easy street, you know, some parts of the government has that reputation for sure, for sure.
And, you know, they retired from government, you know, they got their pensions, and you know, they there, they didn’t work to death in order to get that. So, I was like, okay, you know, my parents didn’t go to college. Um, so, you know, they push college or whatever, I became an auditor, and, you know, when, when work for government? So, when I left, my father was in a tizzy. So I understand he was like, you affect the government job, you know?
Like, bother if I got it one time I can, I can get it again, just like, you know, if you want it to, you can go back to teaching, right? Like, there’s, there’s so many different things that you you can do. And I say, my parents are boomers, so they’re really in that generation, to where you stuck at one place and didn’t really move.
But yeah, I’m over here cracking up? Because yeah, I mean, my father thought I was insane.
Um, let me see.
You he kind of touched on it that, you know, you had to connect and things like that. But was there anything special that you did? When you went from college to you know, teaching to to being a clerk? Did you have to reword your resume or, or anything like that?
So, it you know, it was going from college teaching to going into campaign organizing, and then to being a clerk. So yes, I did have to reword my resume quite a bit. Because, you know, I’m going from a field that is all about presentation.
disciplinary, what have you to go into fields where, yes, it’s partially all about presentation. So, you know, I could put that in there as well. But it’s also about not so much discipline, but recruiting charisma, how you can motivate people, that sort of thing. So
when I was able to apply for the second school that I started working for, I was able to sit there and say, Yeah, you know, back when I was at the first school,
I did a, you know, this sort of job with the kids, the kids grades increase, so their averages were better, the work didn’t change, but the averages did. So, you know, the school was able to sit there and say, okay, you know, that’s, that’s a good pedigree to hire someone. Whereas hopping over from education into politics, field organizing, which is what I did, from August, all the way into late November.
That it changed over into Okay, so you got people’s grade points up.
But how does that figure into politics? Well, it really doesn’t. So I have to, you know, change gears a bit. When I was working in education, I was able to encourage students to do X, Y, Z, I increased attendance in classes during a time where the pandemic was lowering attendance drastically and increasing truancy. I gave people reason to come in. And at first you might think, well, it’s campaigning, if you’re not attached to politics or campaigning whatsoever. You sit there and say, How does motivating people to listen to you really apply to you when you’re not the politician? Well, it happens all the time, right?
during a campaign ain, are out there, depending on your job recruiting people to do your job for you or with you. So I have tons of stories as to what I did during the campaign, but to just touch on it briefly before we may haps go into detail. You know, we’d be knocking on doors, we’d be calling phones, we’d be texting phone, so if any of you out there, were super annoyed that you were getting calls from people saying, hey, we’d like you to come out on November. God when was Election Day November 8. We’d like you to come out on November 8 and vote for your local state senator candidate.
In order to vote for your Senator, your congressman or vote for your governor,
I’m sorry if you were annoyed by that, but that was probably me or one of my folks, that that was our job. We had to encourage a lot of people to do that. It’s not like we have a staff of hundreds of people going, we are always, almost always grassroots. And every effort we take in politics, there are very few efforts that have a huge staff of hundreds of
people. And they’re usually the big frontline races that have a lot of money invested in them anyways, you know, John Fetterman and method oz over in Pennsylvania, or
Raphael, Warnock, and what’s his name, the football player can’t believe I’m forgetting his name. But those races, those were the ones that, you know, got a lot of people, they had hundreds of people there knocking on doors, we don’t have that benefit. We don’t have that power in a place like Connecticut, where yes, we might have a frontline race. But it’s not as big focus. It’s not as big worry.
So yeah, that’s where, you know, changing up my resume applied, I need to show them that I’m able to get people to do work for me, if I really want them to, and then going from that into working as a clerk, you know, it stops becoming about how can I motivate people to work for me, like I did with my students, or like I did with my volunteers. It turned into how effective am I? Am I able to meet schedules make schedules? Am I able to make hard decisions as to what meetings to cut? What meetings to continue? Am I details oriented?
Am I able to use computers effectively, which, you know, thankfully, I’m 25 years old, you can expect that is a 25 year old American, I’m pretty good with computers.
I at least know how they work. I know how to turn one off.
But jokes aside, yeah, yeah, changing your resume, it’s very important.
I encourage people all the time, if they plan on, on going into just even a slightly different job to what they were doing previously, to just look up online, what kind of things people in the same position you’re applying for.
will just have a describe the job and just changing little bits of your resume or entire chunks of your resume, and throwing in things that could make you more attractive as a candidate.
At the same time, who think I just lost my train of thought when it came to the resume, but but
Um, you kind of touched on this a whole lot. But in your your clerkship, and the campaigning and you know, being in politics, what are some positive and negatives of your new career?
I’ll, I’ll be honest, it’s hard to find negatives right now. But, you know, there are some obvious ones.
When I started as a field organizer in late August, to campaign for Joe Courtney, who is my congressman,
the commitment is very deep, it goes very deep for all the months that you’re working on this campaign or for however long you’re working on a campaign.
So there can be a lot of wear and tear on your body. Hopefully not in a violent way. But there are rare cases where that does happen.
But I wouldn’t put that high up on the list of something being that probable. But when I say wear and tear, I’m more so mean. You’re looking at a minimum six days a week commitment during the early goings of it. And then when you hit the final stretch, you know, it’s wall to wall every day for seven days a week.
You know, when when we start our workday, you know, I thought it was nice to be able to get up at nine o’clock in the morning, and then just get ready for 10 o’clock day. But your day goes a lot later. We’re talking going you know, the late the earliest you might get out might be 8pm.
I think one of my earliest days started at nine o’clock ended at 10pm.
That, you know, it’s not easy to be up all those hours the day 1213 hour
just working. But most of your work aside from talking to people, recruiting people, calling people that are on lists of these people volunteered in the past. Is is the driving depending on what your what kind of campaign you’re doing
Because some people, they might be campaign organizers for a local candidate. So I remember there’s this one kid, his name’s Sam. So shout out to Sam, if you ever end up hearing this. He was an 18 year old kid, freshman in college. And while he was taking classes during his first semester of college, he was also running the campaign of a state representative candidate, probably one of the better state rep candidates to and he had to organize volunteers and everything throughout the entire town that he lived in and organize meetings and walks to knock on doors and the three towns that he was campaigning in.
And that and that guy was just running for one state rep. I was doing a congressman and in the state of Connecticut, I had the largest district by area, because we are the
lowest population density
part of the state. So
you know, I had, I had only two other peers. Both of them were fresh out of college. You know, I was two years out from college, but you know, I was still around their age group.
One took everything west of the bridge of the Old Iron Bridge for anyone who knows what I’m talking about. But you know, it’s vague, Connecticut, local geography. So she took all these towns west of this bridge. My other coworker took what we call the quiet corner, which is the entire northern half of the district, it is the lowest population density. And then he took the, you know, the towns of Thailand, which is the highest populated part of the district. And he also took Willimantic and Yukon.
So he had the lowest population density, he had the most towns, he had the most driving for sure, depending on his day. And then I took the most densely populated part of the region, which was everything east of the old line bridge, but not in the northern part. So I’d have two cities like New London cities like Norwich, I had the entirety in New London County, I had,
I think the entirety or about half of Windham County, the entirety of the Norwich County area.
And that was like an ever growing spot because we thought we’d have another coworker who could take the center of the district, but we never got that. So we had to shift gears and we need to pick up the slack in towns that we weren’t working on.
So for me,
I’d be driving to towns that from my house would take me half an hour to get to which no big deal. You know, depending on the town, it could have been 20 minutes from my house. But then you remember, I’m not just going to one town for a day, I’m going to five or six. So I’d get up in Groton. Well, that actually inlet shirred. Again, local state geography, apologies to your listeners who are just sitting here like I’ve never heard of these places before. But I’d wake up and lettered, I drive over to Norwich. That’s how I’d start my day. Then I’d drive down to Groton, which is basically like turning around and then moving further. Then I’d go to New London, then I’d go to East lime, then for some reason, there’s an emergency, I have to drive back up to Norwich, then I drove drive over to volunteer town to meet with some grassroots volunteers, then I’m down in North Stonington and stoning 10 For the rest of my day. And then I drive back to ledger. So all in all on the road, you know, for 15 to 30 minute drives, which aren’t really that bad for most people, and a given day went into I’ve spent about four hours of my day driving.
So it can really hurt your car. And I’ve got a
My car’s 17 years old now. So at the time, 16 years old now 17 years old, my car is pretty old. And you know, I’m constantly worried like how much how many oil changes am I going to have to do how often am I going to have to worry about something getting thrown out of my car.
And you’re carrying a heavy payload to you’re carrying signs, you’re carrying pamphlets, which we call literature.
You’re carrying, you know, tchotchkes whether, you know our opponent, he had, you know, a little submarine
Stress Balls whereas we had like, and the these were older we recycle a little bit we had sponges with our candidates name on it, which not a lot of candidates have ever done, but you know, it was it’s a pretty cute sponge. It has his name Joe Courtney, and then on
underneath it says for Congress and then cleaning up Washington or scrubbing up Washington or something like that.
So aside from the wearing to Oh and another wear and tear on your body before I get off that part of the topic.
Don’t expect to cook a lot of your own meals anymore. Or if you have a family who might happen to cook meals for you, I knew this was the case for my younger coworkers. You know, they couldn’t have dinner with their families, they rarely could have breakfast with their families.
Expect to eat pizza, fast food,
takeout, things like that. Because there’s going to be many times throughout your day, especially when you have a packed day like I might have had, where Burger King all of a sudden becomes your main go to,
there might be an Indian place around the corner that you’d really need to go to, because so you call in, you want something that’s a little bit healthier than Burger King. But you know, it’s fried Indian food, it’s not necessarily the best for you, you take that, you take that with you on the road, and then hope you have enough water if it’s too spicy.
Sometimes you don’t.
So you gain you gain a lot of weight. And everyone in politics will tell you this, it’s like campaign season, everyone gains weight, except for one on Senator and Connecticut, who always seems to stay thin, we’re all very jealous of him.
But off of wear and tear from your body. Another thing that can really get to is some of the personalities you might encounter. So I got really lucky with my congressman, my congressman, Joe Courtney, he’s probably the best guy I’ve ever met. And I’m not kidding. I’m not just saying that because I work for the man. He has been a life changing.
personality in my life, career changing.
Just he’s done everything right by me. And he’s also a great representative. If he does, right by our district, he does right by the people who live in it. People who say that he doesn’t just don’t know what he’s doing.
Which, you know, there’s a lot of people not keyed into politics who think they are.
But there are other people what they’re they are your opponents. Naturally, you might see your opponent as the enemy.
So maybe that might be clouding my judgment a bit. But, you know, I personally did not care for my opponent, I or our opponent, I should say, I did not care for his team, I thought the way they did some things was a little nasty. They ran attack ads, I’m not a fan of attack ads, I don’t think that that’s that should be how politics is unless it’s extremely egregious, like this person violated our basic rights,
which Joe Courtney certainly never has done.
But there are state reps, both on your side and on the opposing side, where you will sit there and you will go
I cannot work another day with you. There was one person who was central to my campaign efforts.
And I will not say their names. I will not say where they’re from or what they were doing. But this was a person who I was warned ahead of time James this person is nuts. And I was like, I dealt dealt with crazy people all the time when I was working, you know, as a as a as a permanent sub slash long term substitute teacher. And they’re like, Okay, well, if you assess, you know, if you’ve dealt with hard personalities, and you’ll, you’ll be able to manage and yes, I have dealt with hard personalities before. It’s tough, but I’ve been able to deal with them, I’ve been able to work with them. This personality was like,
if any of you had that one person who’s like the mean girl or the mean, boy, you know, the stereotypical type of person who spread rumors and gossip and you know, just does whatever they can to just create this web of gossip and rumors to make everybody’s life hard for their own personal enjoyment. Like, take that stereotype, dial it up to 11 I had this one personality and
on the first day, you know, they knew the person that hired me, I guess, and they texted my boss. The first day I met them saying, you know, James seemed very aloof and I’m really worried he doesn’t like me. And
you know, my boss was sitting there like, well, I’ve known James for a while he’s proud. What he probably did was he sat in the room and was very quiet while they were talking.
Which I do you know,
I did that with all the people, I met all the representatives, I met all the representative candidates I met, you know, I’m just quiet, I want to listen to them. I want to hear about who they are before I start warming up to them.
And so he kind of explained Oh, no, that’s just the way James is. He has nothing against you whatsoever. Just give him some time. Well, he tells me about that I go, okay. Yeah, no worries, I’ll try to be a little bit more chipper around them.
The next time I come in, you know, I’m knocking doors for them. And then they call and say, James said some stuff to two voters that I didn’t really agree with, and said XYZ. And then he’d come from me and he said, What do you say to the voters? And I go, I told them this. He says, Okay, well, this person is saying that you said something else. And I go, Oh, well, I guess in some way, it might sound like that. But contextually No, that’s not what I said. And you know, just time and time again, this person would whenever I had to work with them, they’d call my boss and start complaining, I guess an archetypal care. And in that sense, you know,
and it all culminated in I had spent hours cobbling together, this phone bank, right. So phone bank, for those who don’t know, it’s when you have a group of people calling for like, you have them all, usually in the same room, or maybe it’s virtual, phone bank, so a bunch of people in the same Zoom meeting, and you give them access to this website, which gives them access to a list of voters, and they call a bunch of phone numbers, log responses as to who they’re voting for, if they’re planning to vote, if they need help voting on voting day, if they need an absentee ballot, that sort of thing.
And two days prior to a virtual phone bank that I was doing with the state rep candidate, you know, my Congressman’s scheduling team looked at the schedule, because we all share a Google Calendar to show off all the events that we’re doing in case the Congressman wants to attend one, you know, for appearances, or to help out whatever. And they saw that one was happening on Wednesday did I first got to put down that it was virtual. And so he came up to me and said, hey, you know, I saw you have this phone bank in two days, I want to, you know, join you guys. And I’m sitting there and going phonebank on Wednesday, and that sounds great, sir, you got it. And I’m looking at my phone, I’m like, Oh, God, I only have a couple people that are going to show up virtually. So I’m recruiting a bunch of people from surrounding towns to go help out this other representative with a phone bank? Well, every time I did any kind of event near the town where this representative candidate was from and where they were running, they would call as many people as possible, including my boss, and start claiming, James is stealing volunteers. For me, James is tanking my event that I’m doing in my hometown, James, is emailing this person, even though they know that I have something going on that day, which I did. And I never knew what she had going on during any given day, it felt like she had something going on every day, and that I was somehow messing it up.
And, you know, there were so many events where I had to cancel them. Because I’d get complained about and they’d say you need to do this, you know, James is, you know, ruining my event. And I just say, you know, how about this boss? How about I just tell all my volunteers who are going to come to go to her event? And I’ll go help out with her event. That’s what I do every time. Well, this time it was it was a no fly zone. It was the congressman is coming. You’re not changing plans. Now. You know, the congressman planned this out. You know, James had nothing to do with it. He tried to cover for me because he’s a good boss. And she immediately switched gears started blaming the representative candidate that I was working with saying that I was his pawn, and it trashed the entire Democratic town committee, you know, circle in that area. Democratic town committee for those who don’t know, so in the state of Connecticut, a DTC or an arch, an RTC town committees are groups of people that get elected every year during your municipal elections.
You vote for that for a town committee based on what party you’re in. And they run the state of affairs for electing people of a given party in your town. Some DTCs have like 40 people, some have eight people. It all depends on interest. That won’t apply for people living in other states of the country. The DTC format is, you know, not used in many states outside of Connecticut. It’s mostly like democratic town counties or, or democratic county committees report
Republican county committees, they run by county, but Connecticut wants to do it in a very, you know, spread out way.
But yeah, to make this long story and at least I’m sorry, I’m holding up with a story about this one representative, I, I do hold the grudge a little bit.
This representative, you know, got in trouble with the higher ups in the political ladder, to say the least basically got told off like, you know, we’ve heard that you’ve been complaining every time this guy tries to set up events. And often, these events are meant to help you, and you’re hurting the efforts of other candidates, and it’s not flying. But you know, you may not get that kind of support, you may be left on your own because you’re more of an unknown than, say, a state rep candidate, when you’re getting involved in politics. On the campaign side of things, if you decide that you want to be a career organizer, and you’re bouncing from state to state, you have much less presence already.
You had less presence to begin with. And now you’re having even less your presence, because you’re not even a local.
It can be tough. Like I said, personalities can be tough. Some people who want to be in politics, want to be in politics, maybe because they’ve got some good ideas, but more because they want to be the center of attention more, because they want to be the person that gets the most likes on Twitter, or Instagram or Facebook.
I am happy to say that of the people that I ran with most of the people who won their elections were the people that I can say, yeah, these are the people who don’t care about, you know, their personal profile. They care about taking care of the state.
And, you know, handful of those people also last, including that person, you know, who I referenced, had an 18 year old campaign manager. That guy was great. And, you know, I hope he runs again, because he came so close to winning that, you know, you got to try again at this point. But yeah, they’re the people that are very fake. The people that just want all the glory for themselves as weird a statement as that is, thankfully, a lot of voters see right through that and can tell, and they’re just like, yeah, we’re not voting for this person. And it’s a shame because, you know, like I said, I’m a part of the Democrat Party. And the group of people that run the democratic town committee in that representatives area, again, not naming names, not saying towns, they are a wonderful group of people. And they did an excellent job. And they worked their butts off every day during that campaign. And I just hope that that Representative candidate, did not leave people in their town in their town, they did not give them a bad taste for the Democratic Party.
I could totally understand all that. I would assume that a whole bunch of in quotes, big personalities tried to be in politics, and what is it called a personality.
And it’s like a constant, a constant fight to one up on one or something like that.
If someone wanted to get into politics, I know that’s a very general statement, because like you’re saying there’s different types of
seats and things like that. Where should they potentially start? Should they start off as a campaign organizer to get you know their name out there? What should they do?
Well, for me,
and for quite a few other people too. So there are some amazing
state rep candidates, Christine Connolly, who represents the towns of Groton in New London. She is a fantastic state representative, probably one of the best people I met during that entire campaign.
She got her start as a field organizer. I am fairly certain she said that she worked for Joe Courtney at one point, but I may be misremembering.
Yeah, she started as a field organizer. Now she is a very successful lawyer. And, you know, she really breaks the mold, because you know, everyone has stereotypes about lawyers, and none of the negative stereotypes apply to her. She is literally one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. And, you know, she is a very well to do lawyer. And she’s also a very great campaigner. And she probably got a lot of her campaign experience by field organizing by knocking on doors by volunteering, and, you know, that’s how she worked her way up to State Rep. From the little I’ve asked about so how did you become a state rep to her
For other people, it’s different. So
my, one of my current local representatives, the representative for my mother, actually, his name is Kevin Ryan. He is a physics professor.
He got involved by being a large enough presence in his community, he ran, you know, a number of years ago for his first term, knocked on doors, you know, he did things the old fashioned way, he didn’t use the computers or the phone, or, you know, the digital phone lists. He went all paper, a lot of the folks that he worked with did all paper and he’d knock on doors, and he’d get elected, and he did a good job by his people.
But he, you know, had some sort of background in being, you know, an educated individual, you know, people respected him, people knew who he was, you know, he was a, he wasn’t a type A personality, like the ones that, you know, I want to be the center of attention. He was, you know, just a strong personality in terms of people know who he is people, you know, he, he’s gregarious, that’s the word I’m looking for. It’s a gregarious individual.
For others, it can go many different ways. You know, there are people who, you know, start as
DTC members, and then maybe DTC chairs, and then they work their way up. I know, that type A personality that we were that I spent a long time talking about. They started infield organizing, technically, but they started to get recognition as a potential choice for a Democratic candidate in their town by being a member of their democratic town committee. And, again, this is a Connecticut State represent perspective. In other states, it’s far, far different.
But in Connecticut, basically, every year, you want to get in touch with
either your democratic town committee or your Republican town committee, or if you live in the city of New London, and your green town committee, Green party town committee, I should say.
And, you know, get information as to how you can run how you can help. If you volunteered before, they’re probably more than happy to, you know, give you a shot. If they’re low on members, they’re also more than happy to give you a shot. And what you’ll do is you’ll go to your town hall, it’ll be like, you know, maybe an hour or two long process where they ask people, okay, this person has been elected, are there other people are nominated? Are there other people who are looking to be nominated to join this town committee. And, you know, people will nominate themselves, people will get nominated by others, and then come the municipal elections. There will be, you know, vote to vote these people in generally, the people who get voted on for democratic town committees or Republican town committees, or green party town committees are the same people that were nominating each other. It’s kind of, you know, a very insular environment in terms of getting elected. So if you can just make a couple of friends amongst the town committees and show to them Yes, I am a member of this party. Yes. I believe in these values. Yes, I’m, I’m willing to do some work, you know, the, they’ll help you out. They’ll vote you in, you just need to meet a certain vote threshold
and surpass, you know, at least 40th, depending on what town you’re in 40th place and the election in order to become a member of the town committee. And like I said, there are some committees that are low on membership. So essentially, if you vote for yourself, you’re on the committee.
So that’s an avenue to get in. But understand when you’re a part of a town committee, you’re not getting paid. It is volunteer work, it is meeting to discuss who would be a good representative candidate for the following year.
It is it’s a ton of stuff. And there are middle aged to older folks, some pensioners, senior citizens who are members of town committees, mainly because well, I have a job but I also want to support my party or I’m retired and I really want to do some work and I want to do something that matters to me. So they’ll support their parties. But if you’re younger, like me, you might not have the same amount of time. You might not have the same amount of money but doing some work and being visible is enough for them to go well. Hey, this guy’s young and you know full of spunk
and PEP, so we might see about nominating them. It also
We’ll get you recognized by more federal candidates. So I got very lucky. And so did my fellow field organizers for Joe coordinate where we did not have a history of campaigning or working with our local town committees. But we got hired on because we were interested. And we had, you know, with me, I had a tiny strand of a connection with other people, they had more connections.
So sometimes it can be by chance. For me, like I said, if you want to get in, into politics, the way I did find someone at your college if you’re still a college student, any of your fellow alumni, talk to some of your friends who might be involved with politics, even the ones where you see their Facebook posts, and you’re like, Oh, my God, they always preach on the internet, about politics, politics, politics, well, if you’re interested in politics, talk to that person, they might know exactly who to point you towards. In my case, my friend knew that I wanted to be in politics for quite a while, or I had a mind for politics for quite a while. So he got me involved as soon as he could, and I got brought on and I started doing work. And it all worked out. Well. If you don’t have a friend, if you don’t have a connection, how are you supposed to know where to apply? It’s not like field organizer positions are like shown off on LinkedIn all the time, unless, you know, they’re really really big campaigns.
You usually need to get a start somewhere. So if you don’t have the connection, like I did, I recommend running for your local town committee or your county committee, if you’re from a different state.
Gotcha. Appreciate that information. Because yeah, I mean, I thought about it when I was younger. Because, like you’re saying, I understand that you have to put in lots of work going door to door and all that all that good stuff. So I was always curious what the process was on how to get started. Um, outside of that last question, um,
what would you tell someone that wanted to change careers?
Any advice? Last words?
Yeah, sure. And I realized I should probably talk about, you know, getting into the clerk job real quick, but I’ll put that into, you know,
You know, we’ve kind of touched upon it quite a few times, in my, you know, inane rambling,
which is, the first of all, find connections wherever you can. There are tons of people who are in fields, whether they’re on LinkedIn, whether they’re on that other job recruitment site that I can’t remember right now, that’s really popular, or whether it’s locally or whether it’s friends, or even if you work at, say, a package store, and you get a customer who you know, does this kind of job, but he comes in all the time or, or a grocery store, you you work at your local wings place, as a waiter, or a server or some kind of a line cook, you can find people who have done or are doing things that you’re interested in doing all the time. It’s just a matter of talking to that person, showing them that you have interest, showing them that you have some sort of expertise in the realm of knowing what you’re talking about.
Even if you don’t fully know what you’re talking about just the tiny inkling that you know what you’re talking about, will give someone reason to look at you and say maybe they could do this that I’m doing right now.
It’s never too late. I know I’m wanting to talk. I worked two years out of college and decided I wanted career change. But there are folks that have done my job before, you know, starting in their mid 40s, mid 50s. You know, they went from a totally different career coming into this, you know, I wish I could recommend to you, another friend of mine, who is who was also a teacher, she’s 38. Now, I believe I shouldn’t say her age without being completely sure. She looks extremely young. And I remember hearing her age and I was like, I’m not sure that’s true. You look like you’re in your late 20s. Rambling aside, she went from teaching after 18 1518 years, something like that, and then went into field organizing for the gubernatorial candidate, Ned Lamont, and she killed it. And she’s in a totally new career now living in a totally new state being Connecticut because she’s not originally from Connecticut. And you know, she’s a legislative aide at the Capitol building, she’s doing a great job.
So it’s never too late to get involved in politics.
There are jobs that are more adjacent to politics than others. But, you know, we’ve got engineers who’ve gotten involved in politics. We’ve got teachers who’ve gotten involved with politics, nurses who’ve gotten involved in politics, union members being you know, some some of the highest pedigree some of these people have gotten, and they’ve gotten involved in politics and they have made quite the career for themselves. You know, no job, except for maybe a handful that are more you know, these are the kinds of jobs you don’t want to tell people you have
Have our you know, perfect to to base a career off of, you know, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, whether you like her or you hate her, no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, acknowledged, you know, she’s she’s she she was a bartender, she was a server, and she is now a member of the House of Representatives,
the Capitol building, you know, you no matter how low you think you are on the ladder, in terms of what career you have, just hard work, and dedication. And really being willing to sacrifice your own physical well being in terms of how hard you’re working, will get you somewhere in life, it really will. And it will get you somewhere in politics.
And even if you don’t want to get involved in politics,
you know, people switch into teaching all the time. Friend of mine from college, was in his mid 50s, he worked in mental health care over in Illinois, had to move to Connecticut with his partner, because of health reasons, because of quite a few reasons. And he couldn’t work in mental health care without a master’s degree minimum. And he didn’t even have a bachelor’s degree. So he went to college, got himself a bachelor’s degree, put himself into some debt. But now he’s teaching. And he’s really good at it. And he started in his late 50s. To start teaching, it’s never too late. Just always look at what other people are doing. Always look at other people’s resumes, always look at what people are doing during the interviews. And another thing, look at people, if you’re older, what people in their late 20s, early 30s are doing on their resumes and during their interviews, because there’s a lot of things that say your parents are telling you like, at least when we were talking, you mentioned that your family is a part of the boomer generation. The Boomer generation is you know, a bunch of people who have found their forever jobs, they found their forever jobs. But forever jobs isn’t something that a lot of us from Gen Z, Gen Y, Zoomers, millennials that we really see that that often anymore. Well, they’re the ones that have successful jobs right now they have seen that how the job scape has changed what it’s doing, pay attention to what they’re doing, and you’ll probably be able to find a way into a job real quick.
At this point, I think that most people will probably have a minimum of probably three careers in their life, you’ll probably have one in your 20s 30s you like I did that a long time, you know, and then you’ll switch
have one in your 30s 40s. And yeah, you probably have one your 50s and 60s the way it’s going at this point. And I believe that
you have to have those two or three careers because I mean, one will be down and one will be up, ya know, and you’ll have to have a fallback plan. Um, one of mine is insurance, I keep my insurance license.
And so when COVID hit, I had to swing to insurance and to pay my bills, you know, so, you know, I, I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing all your information and I don’t know, did you say that you fully pursued your your teaching license or, or or no, because I’m gonna say you probably you probably should just to have something to fall back.
On? That’s a good question. No, I’m not currently pursuing my teaching license anymore. Even though alternative route for certification is pretty cheap. Yeah.
I, the, I guess I shouldn’t say why I left education is because I love the kids. I realized that I was 100%. Right as to why I love teaching, which was I love the kids. I loved teaching the kids. Even the kids that drove me off the walls bonkers. The ones that I went home at the end of the day and when I can’t stand this kid, I can’t stand this kid. I can’t stand this kid. And for those of you who are still in school, if you know, you’re a younger than 18 and listening to this podcast for some reason, you one of your teachers might hate you. They love you. They love you too.
The real reason why I left was administration, you know, administration was okay and the first school I went to in the second school I went to is horrible and
But the students I saw during my first school, they were amazing the students I saw during my second school summer great, but most of them are pretty bad. But I was willing to do whatever it took to work for them to work with them. But when you have an administration that puts the entire weight of the world on your shoulders, and just ignores the plights of you and your students, that can be soul breaking. And I knew that I couldn’t take the risk of going to bad school, I couldn’t take the risk of going to a good school and still having same problems, still having to put the weight of the world on my shoulders again, and again and again.
Politics is far less stressful than being a teacher. So and but you are right. You know, you do need to plan for career changes.
I really love the job that I’m doing. I really love being a clerk. It is great job. It is the first job where I don’t have to drive to work every day, I can work from home sometimes. Because if there’s no committee meetings, if there’s no public hearings, really all you have to do is be keyed into your phone and your email and answer
service related questions. And you can do that from home. They believe that you can do that from home, at least where I work.
But I’m applying for my master’s degree right now.
One of the reasons why I say how much I loved working in politics is because a lot of these people who have this big pedigree who are very successful, after working for them on the political stage, they’re willing to help you. You know, I’ve got letters of recommendation coming in because of my job in politics, to Georgetown, I got decent enough grades to apply to Georgetown. And now I have some level of success that I can put on a resume to apply to Georgetown for their foreign services program. For those who don’t know, Georgetown Foreign Services Program is the number one in the country, if not the world, and I’m going for Master’s of
master’s in Arabic studies and the Foreign Services Department, I want to do embassy work, I want to do diplomatic work, that’s going to be a huge leap away from being a clerk.
But if that application doesn’t work out of schooling doesn’t work out being a clerk would, you know, when you start as a clerk, you can move your way up from assistant clerk to, you know,
had clerk to nonpartisan clerk, which is one of the higher positions in clerkship? I don’t know is that a word clerkship? But also you can move round? Oh, well, there you go. clerkship made sure I learned a new word by chance today.
And, you know, there’s other things that can happen to depending, cuz, okay, this is another thing that people should be made aware of, I guess, when it comes to being a clerk, I suppose.
Most of the time, when you get hired as a clerk, at least in the state of Connecticut, you are getting hired by a political party. So you know, there’s the House Republican office, there’s the Senate Republican office, the Senate Democrat office, the house Democrat office, you are being hired by one of those offices.
And usually you are working specifically with one party being the one that, you know, you were hired by.
And before people, you know, start going, Oh, how partisan is that I helped my Republican colleagues to when in fact working in a legislative office building, you, you know, you, you push out all the craziness of the people who think they know what’s going on in politics are the people who believe all the crazy stuff in politics, to the same people who are like, Yeah, I’m a Democrat. You know, this is what I believe in this guy’s like, Yeah, I’m a Republican in this what I believe well, that’s pretty reasonable. Yeah, well, we’re all Americans here. We’re not trying to burn down the state, for our political, you know, beliefs.
You know, I work you know, if a Republican Representative comes up to me and says, James, do you know where the executive nominations committee meeting is? I totally forgot. I’ll go, no worries, looking it up. It’s in room 1000. I’m not going to sit there until the representative Hall tough stuff, you got to go find a Republican clerk.
That kind of nonpartisan attitude is surprisingly, a really, really attractive factor in hiring people into politics. You know, already people are like, you know, maybe one day we can get you down to DC and you could be a legislative aide you can be part of our LFA
LFA for for people who don’t understand there are two offices in your legislative office building in new capital. There’s the Oh fan the Oh La. Oh, fa stands for Office of fiscal analysis, or financial analysis.
Oh, LA is Office of Legislative Analysis, though.
are the folks that look at bills and break down the legalese into more
easy to swallow terms so that an average layperson can read it and go, Okay, I know what this bill is going to do, or how much or how much of a dent this is going to put into our economy or whatever.
Or how much money we’d make off this spell, whatever. But there are a lot of things that you can get involved in through one position in politics. So
yeah, even if politics isn’t around, for me, it’s going to be another huge career shift that I gotta get ready for later. But when it comes to jobs, within politics, you can expect a job shift all the time. Like I said, from assistant clerk, legislative aide.
Anything, literally anything. It’s a huge, wide world, politics is not constrained to like two or three different jobs, there are hundreds of jobs that you can do with politics.
Sorry, I know, I’m such a Rambler, I can’t help. No, it’s fine. It’s fine.
You know, this podcast is created, so people can get a sense of, you know, what these jobs entail?
And, you know, like, we were discussing earlier that, um, a lot of these jobs people don’t know about, and you know, a lot of these jobs are brand new, like the, you know, I was in the cloud, and that didn’t exist, like 12 years ago. So, ya know, I believe, because I’m asking my friends that have kids and stuff like that, and we’re older kids, when we say older kids, because I’m still relatively young.
And I have older friends. And I’m like, you know, is your is your high school student? are they learning about these new careers? And they’re like, No, you know, they’re still learning about the basic ones accounting, you know, doctor, lawyer, engineer, things like that. Um, and, you know, we have, I mean, just the fact that AI, you know, are creating all these new jobs now.
I think these stories truly need to be told just just because of that reason alone, you know?
I so appreciate you coming on the show. And oh, good. I meant to tell you good luck about the Foreign Affairs degree. I know, I know about that degree. And I considered applying to it at one point myself, I don’t remember why I didn’t, but
maybe because I don’t want to live in DC. And I can’t do cold ever again in life. I used to live in Boston for years. And it just about killed me because I’m a Cali girl. So no, I totally get it. There’s a reason why my brother left Connecticut. Go to Cali. You know, the cold does suck. People are like, Why are you here?
But But yeah, you know, life circumstances, dictate things, you know, you have no control over. But once again, I thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your experience with you know, being in politics and things like that. Tell people where they can find you. And we can close it out.
Yeah, sure. Well, before I tell people where they can find me, I want to thank you as well. I think this is a really interesting podcast. You know it and you’re right. You know, there are a lot of jobs out there that people have never heard of before. I know I would have loved it if my teachers did not tell me about you know, oh, well, you could be a plumber. You could be a doctor. I wish they told me Oh, you could get involved in tech. But they don’t know what tech is over at my old
but this is a really, you know, commendable idea. commendable, you know, podcast concept and I really love it. And again, thank you so much for one finding me. And to
sorry, to, you know, just thinking I was good enough to throw onto this podcast. It’s awesome.
But where to find me. So my name is a little bit of a mouthful. My name is James Angelopoulos, you can find me on LinkedIn.
Do not find me on any other forms of social media. My other forms of social media are private and left to me and me alone.
Because working in politics, you want to make sure that your social media is secure. But if you want to find me on LinkedIn, it’s James Angelopoulos and my last name is spelled ANGLOPOU l. O. S. If you want to email me, I’m going to give you my more personal email because I don’t mind receiving work related emails and I actually don’t want to give out my work email here.
James Angelopoulos 60 email@example.com So James Angelopoulos 60 firstname.lastname@example.org
Um, if you can find me through LinkedIn, or if you could email me and you have any questions about getting involved in politics, if you have any questions about getting involved in education, because education is still very commendable field, I do recommend people go into it. It just wasn’t for me. Or if you know, God Willing fingers crossed here, you have some crazy job opportunity that, you know, I could get involved in, you know, career switching is not a one time thing. We’ll see.
But yeah, that’s my contact information. Feel free. Thank you so much. All right. Thank you, James. Yeah, I put it out there all the time. Yeah. Yeah. I’ll try it try once.
Thank you guys for listening to nobody wants to work though. Podcast. My name is Elyse Robinson. And this is number 14. Number 14. So
I think we have like three or four more people up after this. So um, so yeah, well, we’ll keep it rolling. So I can’t roll anything more. Please subscribe, and you can find us on Google’s Spotify, Apple, all that good stuff. And until next time, take care.