Actually, he did get home to Anchorage, Alaska for four days at Christmas, where he enjoyed a long overdue visit with his parents. “We think it’s amazing,” said his mother, Susan Rogers. “I feel as though he’s living a charmed life.”
Charmed, perhaps, but not entirely surprising.
Jablonowski grew up with technology in Alaska, where his dad, Dick Jablonowski, founded a business technology company. Mark Jablonowski ran the computer help desk in middle school, and, as a tech expert, was the only student in his high school with a staff ID. Also in high school, Jablonowski worked as IT manager for the U.S. Senate campaign for former Alaska governor Tony Knowles. It was Jablonowski who devised a data entry system for field workers’ Palm Pilots so they could enter data right from voters’ doorsteps.
He was 17.
“He’s always been a problem solver,” Rogers said.
Of course, the technology associated with a presidential campaign in 2008 is of another magnitude, and the stakes—and deadline pressures—are exponentially greater. Dick Jablonowski said he appreciates the complexity of the projects his son has taken on. “A twenty-year veteran would be highly challenged to make all of this stuff happen,” he said.
But happen it has, all building to January 20.
Eighteen months after he joined the campaign, continues to focus on the job at hand, postponing any decision about his longer-term future. It may include a job in the Obama administration, he allowed, or a job in the private sector. He and an Obama campaign colleague are mulling the idea of a company that would promote democracy in developing nations through software solutions, he said.
“At some point, I’d like to finish college,” Jablonowski said.
But he isn’t worried that he doesn’t know what the future holds. The campaign, he said, has taught him that.
“I used to be a very structured person,” Jablonowski said. “I knew what my plan for the day was, I knew what my plan for the week was, I knew what the rest of the year looked like. I was a little bit uncomfortable just letting things go, going with the flow. But the campaign—you’re so focused on what you’re doing and things are changing constantly—you can’t have those plans. So my norm now is just going with what’s in front of me.”
And, says the young campaign veteran, he has no regrets.
“I want to get back to having a normal life, having a social life, getting an education, keeping in touch with friends and family, which the campaign doesn’t really allow for that well,” he said. “At every point I keep coming back to the fact that it is just such an amazing movement. I can’t see myself getting out of it until it’s over.”