Policy & the City

Posted on Friday, Feb 17, 2017

When I realized I had this amazing opportunity to move to Austin and work at the Texas State Capitol, I was mainly concerned with how the leaders in Texas government would perceive me. Am I dressing the part? Do I look like a little girl playing dress up at the capitol?  Do I come across too fragile to handle pressures of session? Could they see me as someone who could work there in the future?

It is my aspiration to be an animal and environmental activist, and to lobby in the capitol. I feared that if I could not get people to view me as a force to be reckoned with and respected, my career would be over before it even started. It luckily didn’t take me long to realize that the only way I can make a positive name for myself is to do these key things:
  1. Introduce myself confidently and remember the names of the people I meet. My father’s advice to me when I started my internship was, “it doesn’t matter what you know, but who you know in life”. Networking is one of the most powerful tools a person can utilize in life, something Texas A&M University has also taught me the past four years. When I meet someone, I try to use his or her name in the conversation to help me remember their faces and a few facts to which I can relate. When they leave, I write their names down in the hope I can remember them the next time we meet in passing.
  2. Leave all my negativity outside the capitol. As the administrative assistant, it is important for me to set the tone for the office: it is my job to answer phones; greet people who come into the office; interact with constituents; and attend policy meetings on the Representative’s behalf. If I go around with a bad attitude I will only succeed in making the people around me feel just as miserable and uncomfortable as I may be feeling that day. When people walk into the office, I only want to be viewed cheerful and helpful.
  3. Stay on top of my work. Sometimes when it’s slow in the office, it is easy for me to mentally check out and want to talk with my fellow co-workers (they are seriously the best). Though it’s probably more fun to talk with them, it is crucial I do not get behind in my work and to utilize my down time to get ahead before a wave of phone calls and walk-ins.

MiaMarie Pugh
Office of State Representative John Smithee
Austin, Texas