A Day In The Life Of A Young GOP Woman Working At The Convention

Photo: Courtesy of the Republican National Convention.
Cameron Dorsey works on housing arrangements for the 2016 RNC.
Editor's note: We're just days away from the start of the Republican National Convention, an election-year gathering in which the GOP will select its presidential nominee. An estimated 50,000 people, including thousands of delegates and elected officials, will descend on Cleveland for the four days of action. For months, the RNC staff, including many young people, have been working behind-the-scenes in Cleveland to put on the event. Ahead, Cameron Dorsey, manager of housing data for the convention, shares what it's really like to put on one of the biggest political events of the year.

Keeping a daily journal really puts my life into perspective. Cliché, I know. To be clear, I have an amazing job. I get to meet incredible people with even more incredible stories about their incredibly unique experiences. I also got to move back to my hometown and experience one of the best years in Cleveland history — from the Cavaliers' World Championship, to the city’s first championship parade, to the largest event outside of the Olympics. I also get to do this with my family at my side.

However, working on the Republican National Convention is not always glamorous. It’s a lot of long hours, cheap pizzas, and even cheaper beers. We work hard, and then have to work even harder on a deadline. It is all worth it, though, when I think of the relationships I have made, and ultimately where I will go next with my career. But in reality, this is just a temporary stepping-stone in my life; it is petrifying, but damn exhilarating.

7:35 a.m.
My alarm goes off and I reflexively hit the snooze button.

7:40 a.m. Hit the snooze button, yet again. Plan outfit in my head. Think something along the lines of a navy pencil skirt, white blouse, black blazer, and my "fun" red heels.

7:42 a.m. Drag myself out of bed and shower/curl my crazy mane. Dab on some BB cream and apply mascara.

8:00 a.m. Grab my work bag and two phones. Sprint out the door. Walk the 30-minute walk (I wear a spare pair of sandals, do not worry) and listen to Spotify — I usually pick something spicy to get me ready to face the endless emails and calls.

11:15 a.m. Feed my betta fish, 2Cheney. He’s like the office mascot.

By the way, here’s what’s in my bag today: I always keep my favorite Sandwash Pink Bobbi Brown lipstick (Kate Middleton wore it at her wedding!), my current nail color (just in case!), my two phones, and business cards. I usually keep a blank thank you note, too — you never know who you might run into!

8:30 a.m. Open my computer, and fill up my coffee, black. I usually walk around the office and get some intel on how everyone is doing, and more importantly, any impending problems that will impact my day.

8:32 a.m.
Scroll through my emails from my five different inboxes (do a victory dance if there are less than 40); answer anything time-sensitive.

9:00 a.m. Sit down with my director and see what is outstanding, and who needs to be housed where during the convention week; go over contract obligations, and usually share a fun story about the previous night.

9:30 a.m. Field calls and emails from media/external affairs groups/delegations/security about their needs and requirements during the week.

10:30 a.m. Begin writing my daily email to the entire convention staff. It details what is for lunch around town, usually has some underlying office jokes, and some fun facts/news. I cannot resist a pun to save my life.

11:00 a.m. Send the email to the entire staff and auxiliary colleagues, currently about 240 people.

11:15 a.m. Feed my betta fish, 2Cheney. He’s like the office mascot and makes me feel like I have some responsibility in my life. Yes — the closest thing to responsibility that I have at age 24 is my pet fish. And I am completely okay with that.

11:45 a.m. Email my gal friends about what we should do for lunch. Sushi? Salads? Pho?

12:15 p.m. Lunch break. This usually includes talking about the problems we’re having, what we want to buy online, and intra-office drama. Let’s be honest, with the majority of the staff under the age of 30, there is going to be some (read: a lot of) drama. But hey, I nailed down my boyfriend working on the convention, so no complaints here!

12:45 p.m. Usually a multitude of issues have arisen by now — whether it’s a group complaining about how far their hotel is from the convention hall, or requesting more rooms downtown. Housing every credentialed attendee of the convention can be challenging, especially in a small city like Cleveland.

3:00 p.m. Do a bit of work on our COA yearbook. I am designing a yearbook for our staff stock full of department pages, party pages, and (my favorite), office superlatives. I hope this will provide us with something semi-accurate to take home with us, and look back on in the years to come.

3:30 p.m. Look through LinkedIn and multiple job postings. The one thing more terrifying than leaving your job to work on a convention is the fact that you are unemployed the second it’s over. Goodbye, shopping addiction. Hello, parent’s basement.

My major takeaway from this job is to make the most of every minute of every day.

4:00 p.m. More hotel assignments. We contracted over 16,500 rooms, and we work really hard to make sure every room is booked for the convention. A room assignment can take as little as one minute and as long as an hour, depending on the size of the group and the number of rooms.

5:00 p.m. Daily audit of every single room booked, and a discussion of the process of booking outstanding groups. This is my least favorite part of the day — if I am off by one room, the whole tracking document and system need to be scoured.

6:00 p.m. This is “technically” when my work day ends, but seeing as it is currently 7:24 p.m. as I write this and I am still here…

8:00 p.m. Meet up with friends for happy hour. There are a lot of fun places to sit outside in Cleveland, and it is a way to decompress and catch up on each other’s days. It is also a great time to bounce around ideas about all of our impending unemployment.

As for tonight, I think I am going to try a new rooftop bar in the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. I see part of our role as essentially being liaisons for our convention guests. We need to be in the know and ready to show off this amazing city. That being said, my major takeaway from this job is to make the most of every minute of every day.

And with less than one week left, I am going to send this off and get out of here!

Cameron Dorsey works for the Republican National Convention. The views expressed here are her own.


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