Everyone’s job search story is different, but each individual story can inspire and empower others who are on their own unique path. We love to hear how our readers have found rewarding careers in Portland, and we want to share these stories with you to inspire you in your job search and to help us all better understand the local job market! In this Success Story, Jonathan Rudolf shares how the connections he made in a previous job and challenging his own assumptions led him to a job he loves with the Democratic Party of Oregon.
What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?
I administer our voter database for Democratic candidates across the state of Oregon and help them run more effective, data-driven programs. My ongoing goal is to empower our campaigns, counties and caucuses to better utilize technology and targeting tools in order to have meaningful conversations with voters and get out the vote.
How long did it take you to find this job?
I learned about this job two days before my interview, and got the job shortly afterward. I received the good news on a Friday and began onboarding the next day. It goes to show how quickly you can go from uncertainty about your career’s future to doing a job that you love and feel has great purpose. The universe has a way of presenting great opportunities when you’re least expecting it.
How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?
I found this job through the connections I made while working my first political data job at Our Oregon, an opportunity I found on Macslist after getting the newsletter sent to my inbox for many years. That job ended when the 2016 election did, but it whetted my appetite for voter data and was a clear stepping stone to my current position (even if I didn’t know it yet).
My belief in social justice, economic equality and health care as a human right are core values that make this job a good fit ideologically as well, which definitely made the process of applying to this job feel more comfortable.
What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?
Honestly, my biggest challenge was the (incorrect) belief that succeeding as an entrepreneur was the only way forward. Perhaps the sunk cost fallacy was at play but thankfully I came to the realization that my personality isn’t naturally suited to “go it alone” and it’s humbling to be able to recognize that.
Another challenge was wanting to do things perfectly, learn the perfect set of skills, find the perfect organization, and get the perfect position. But I’ve come to the realization that the perfect position or opportunity doesn’t exist – it’s more important to work hard and contribute fully toward your mission in the current moment and the next opportunity will take care of itself in time.
What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?
You never know when your fortunes will change, it can happen in an instant. The energy you bring to your current situation will ultimately be reflected in your next position. I strongly believe that life always pays out what you put in, so worry more about your own internal world first before being too preoccupied about status, salary or title. And don’t be afraid to challenge your own assumptions about what’s right for you or what you’re suited for, you may be surprised.
Why do you love your job?
I love being a force multiplier, where a small amount of my time can have a large impact down the line for staff and volunteers. It’s a lot of fun getting to fly to Washington, D.C., to get hands-on data training from the DNC, as well as traveling to counties across Oregon to do trainings myself. Being able to give a presentation at the same podium that Ron Wyden just did, or having the Governor walk into my office and ask what I’m currently reading is very cool.
But I also love my job because I get to work as a member of a close-knit team, which leads to learning data and career skills at a much more accelerated pace than I would on my own, since necessity is the mother of invention. I’m still mostly self-taught, but you end up being a lot more motivated to learn python and SQL, for example, when your team needs something yesterday.