Politicians hold a special place in society and as voters, we select them to make the rules we want to live by.
As taxpayers, we trust them to take the money we give to the government and spend it in a way that benefits society.
That means it is unsurprising that being a politician is unlike any other job in existence.
If you are reading this, then you have an interest in becoming a politician.
However, you do not choose to be a politician, you are chosen to be a politician, meaning you must win an election to get into the role.
If you are thinking of entering the political science field, keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this career choice!
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Politician
- Cons of Being a Politician
- Pros and Cons of Being a Politician – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Politician?
Pros of Being a Politician
Becoming a politician is not easy, but there are numerous benefits for those who are elected, including:
1. Ability to Make a Difference
Probably the leading reason a bright-eyed political science major wants to get into politics is to make a difference in society.
Although some simply complain about the issues, others want to take matters into their hands and are effective.
Politicians have power over countless aspects of society, ranging from public fund spending to constituent security, and standard of living.
2. Excellent Networking Opportunities
Due to the amount of exposure a politician has to other individuals across all walks of life, they create an excellent network.
As you climb the government ranks, your range of influence and power expands, with more of society’s elite wanting your ear to discuss topics that benefit them.
Having this network of contacts can come in handy when you need to get something done fast.
3. Great Pensions
Another excellent benefit of becoming a politician is that they get excellent pensions after retirement.
These pensions are paid for by the taxpayer for the rest of the life of the politician and include excellent health benefits for their entire family.
While this may not be a prime reason to enter politics, it is a bonus.
4. Job Security
Once elected to a government post, most will not be forced to leave until the term is complete unless impeached.
The other situation that can get a politician tossed is a punishment for committing a misdemeanor.
While this is rare, it has been known to occur.
Therefore, unless you commit an unconstitutional act or do something stupid, your elected position is incredibly secure.
5. Make a Decent Living
Regardless of location, politicians take home a salary significantly higher than the national average.
In the United States, the average politician’s salary is $174,000 per year.
Politicians are legally allowed to have a second job while in office and many capitalize on this, especially at the lower government levels.
Politicians can also earn additional money from benefits and perks.
6. No Educational Requirements
One of the most ironic aspects of becoming a politician is that there are no educational requirements to get into the field.
7. No Manual Labor Required
While many careers exist when you do not have to do manual labor or work outside, being a politician is mostly speaking.
The only physical requirement for becoming a politician is the ability to lift babies and kiss them for photoshoots.
8. Prestigious Position
Before being elected to office, you must convince most of the public that you hold fine character and enough competence to be an elected official.
Therefore, once you are elected, most of the population will adore you.
Additionally, politicians hold significant power within the local community since their decisions can change the lives of all residents in that area.
That means when politicians act or speak, people pay attention.
Cons of Being a Politician
Like with all careers, there are many drawbacks to becoming a politician, including:
1. Awful Work-Life Balance
One of the greatest drawbacks of becoming a politician is the awful work-life balance.
Being a politician is a 247365 job and the intensity increases as you climb the ladder.
Non-stop events, interviews, and meetings to the point where dinners become a burden.
Many of these activities require travel to other countries for many weeks.
Remember, this is in addition to their normal day job, so they barely have time for their friends and family.
2. Can Be Exhausting
Given the terrible work-life balance and constantly being in the public eye, burnout is a common occurrence in politics.
The entire process of attending different fundraisers and events on top of the normal duties is mentally exhausting at every level of government.
For this reason, politicians must find coping mechanisms to help deal with stress and anxiety, while keeping in good physical health to offset the exhaustion from work.
3. Could Be Dangerous Work
Since politicians are elected by popular vote, there will also be groups of people who dislike you, even to the point of being threatening.
Moreover, others want you out of the way for their political gain.
At the lower levels of a politician, this is not really a problem.
However, as you advance in your career, you will need to hire security.
Politicians are some of the most protected people in the world for a reason.
4. Deal With All Different People
Watching your actions and speeches is difficult as a politician since you will be interacting with a vast number of individuals.
Journalists, political opponents, and hecklers come to your rallies in the hopes that you will lose your cool.
Since you are being watched by the public, you must always keep your composure.
You will also come across greedy and corrupt individuals with endless power who do not go away easily.
That means you must deal with them diplomatically.
Finally, managing yourself carefully is a requirement, since many negative influences exist in the role.
5. Entire Life is in the Public Eye
Can you manage your life by constantly being scrutinized?
Every move you make is being watched by someone.
While in office, the public pays significant attention to everything you do.
Those who did not vote for you are watching even closer in hopes that you make a blunder.
This means your private life is no longer private.
6. Failures Can Have a Devastating Impact
You may want to become a politician to better benefit society and help others, but that path may become askew.
Sometimes your choices end up being incorrect, which can have a significant impact on the community.
If this occurs, in the best-case scenario, you become more unpopular amongst your voter base.
In the worst-case scenario, people could end up dead because of your decisions.
You have that power as a politician, but also the burden of that responsibility.
7. Must Make Compromises
Every single politician must make compromises with their colleagues or in society to be successful.
For instance, the town may need a new bridge, but to build the bridge, taxes will increase.
The public wants the bridge to be built but does not want to pay for it.
Therefore, it is about finding a creative compromise to ensure requirements are met while keeping the voters happy so you can get reelected next term.
The higher you rise in the political system, these compromises become more important and complicated.
You will be dealing with other politicians who come to you requesting to vote for their bill and they will vote for your bill.
However, voting for their bill could anger certain parties or lobbyists in the process.
This is where situations become incredibly political and require a give-and-take type of relationship with fellow politicians.
This drawback is not usually one that is considered when deciding on whether to become a politician but can have a major impact on your decision.
Pros and Cons of Being a Politician – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Politician||Cons of Being a Politician|
|1. Ability to Make a Difference||1. Awful Work-Life Balance|
|2. Excellent Networking Opportunities||2. Can Be Exhausting|
|3. Great Pensions||3. Could Be Dangerous Work|
|4. Job Security||4. Deal With All Different People|
|5. Make a Decent Living||5. Entire Life is in the Public Eye|
|6. No Educational Requirements||6. Failures Can Have a Devastating Impact|
|7. No Manual Labor Required||7. Must Make Compromises|
|8. Prestigious Position|
Should You Become a Politician?
Whether you should become a politician is not an easy question.
You could work your entire life on campaigns and in the political science field, then take your shot at being elected and never get voted in.
The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no, and even if you have weighed the pros and cons, and that it is the best route for you, the election depends on the voters and whether you are the right candidate to change their lives.
Politics is a difficult field to enter, even at the lower levels of government, but all it takes is one majority election, and you can start building your career from there!