By Erica Flint - 08/09/06 12:00 AM EDT
Weather.com has finished loading and Kelly Romanski, a staff assistant in Rep. Sam Farr’s (D-Calif.) office, breathes a sigh of relief. There is no rain in the forecast, which means she may get home at a decent hour.
Romanski, who also works as a board operator for XM satellite radio sports, is just one of many congressional staffers who can be found working an additional job when not on the Hill.
For Romanski, 26, this can mean potentially late nights and long weekends. XM satellite radio sports carry all of major league baseball and hockey and also college football and basketball. Romanski’s job, which she admittedly calls “awesome,” is to sit in the studio, update the scores and play commercials at the right times.
So when there is foul weather or the games go late, so does she.
“When there is a rain delay I have to stay until the game is finished, and sometimes I won’t get home until one or two in the morning then have to be back on the Hill in the morning to open the office,” Romanski said.
Before starting at XM Radio, Romanski was working as a hostess at the Beacon Hotel at 17th and Rhode Island, a job that gave her little enjoyment because it wasn’t fulfilling. Lucky for Romanski her boyfriend, XM’s Matt the Cat, who she met coincidentally by calling into his radio show to request a song, helped her get her job at XM.
Although she genuinely enjoys her job at the station, one of the biggest perks is that it pays well.
However, three to six games a week, and sometimes more then one on the weekends, does not give Romanski much spare time. “I don’t have a lot of time to sit and relax,” she said.
Romanksi admits that her social life has taken a bit of a hit, and that she doesn’t have a lot of time to go out and meet friends for drinks. However, having her boyfriend also work at the station does allow her to see him often.
In contrast to Romanski, Spencer Pederson, 23, who works press for Rep. George Radanovich (R-Calif.), has found a job that enhances his social life— working as a waiter and bouncer at the Irish Times.
Pederson started working at the Irish Times when he was an intern in D.C. a few years ago, and when he moved back to the city he promptly got his old job back.
He has now been working for Radanovich since August, and can occasionally be found at the Irish Times on weekday evenings, but mostly he works the weekends, and in particular, Saturday night.
For Pederson, juggling two jobs is not problematic. He noted that the bar is a social atmosphere, so he doesn’t have to worry about his social life.
Pederson decided to keep his job at the Irish Times because he had been working there before starting on the Hill, but admitted that having the extra cash around is another important reason for keeping the job.
Pederson also finds working at the Irish Times to be a nice change of pace saying, “It’s kind of nice to have a different work environment, the bar is a fun environment and you don’t necessarily feel like you are working there.”
Luckily for Pederson he has never felt like working a second job has affected his work on the Hill. He explains that one nice thing about working at a restaurant is that if something were to come up it’s easy to find people willing to cover shifts at the bar.
But taking on two jobs on Capitol Hill is not limited to twentysomethings.
Bob Carretta, 37, press secretary for Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), is a pilot for the Navy reserve, which takes up approximately four days a month. Carretta has been involved in the Navy for 14 years.
Starting out in the ROTC program at UC Davis, Carretta went on to flight school, joined the Navy and was a pilot on active duty for 11 years.
He has now been working on the Hill for more than two years and attributes his smooth transition to having “always been interested in the political process and how it affected the military.”
Carretta explains the duties of his job with enthusiasm, explaining how he flies a jet carrier for the Navy and teaches young pilots how to fly jets, drop bombs and land on aircraft carriers.
When asked if it is hard to juggle two jobs Carretta said it was, but explained that the congressman has been supportive of him and so has the office staff. As a press secretary, Carretta is constantly busy. He says the staff is always willing to help him whenever needed.
And how does all of this affect his social life? Carretta’s answer came with a laugh, “Just ask my fianc鮦amp;#8221;
Still, working two jobs is not something Carretta bemoans because he loves being a pilot. “I have had a great time doing it [being a pilot], and it was a way to continue flying.”
Carretta added, “It’s a nice balance for me.”