How do White House staff know when it’s time to leave?

September 20, 2010

SUMMIT-WASHINGTON/GIBBSIt’s an age old question that even applies to senior staff working in the White House: At what point do you decide it’s time to quit your job and move on?

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs predicted at the Reuters Washington Summit that some people working in the White House will soon decide they want to go back to a less hectic life. Especially those who worked on President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign which lasted two grueling years.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to come and work in that building each and every day,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs said he told himself early on in the job, when he was driving to work on a dark and cold morning, that if he ever lost his awe of the White House it would be time to go.

“If you don’t really think and stop when you’re driving in and see that building and think ‘wow, this is where I work’ — if you ever drive in and that doesn’t happen that’s when you should give somebody else a chance to do it,” Gibbs said.

“My guess is that everybody that works in that building understands and believes that this is probably the most exciting job they’ll have in their lifetime. So while I think most people will stay, certainly some people will leave.”

One person is Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who is contemplating running for mayor of Chicago — which wouldn’t exactly be relaxing.

Gibbs said Emanuel would announce his decision “relatively soon” if he plans to leave.

For news from the Reuters Washington Summit, click here.

(Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

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