How To Get A Grown-Up Job In D.C., 67 Weeks And 100 Coffees Later


Move to Washington, D.C., with an internship but no real friends. Attempt to “network.”

Months later, when your aunt and uncle come to visit the city, go to dinner and meet family friends, including George.  Later, drop by George’s office to loan him a book and briefly talk about your “career.”

Keep networking to the tune of 1-2 coffees/week while everyone tells you to just keep networking, it’s how everyone in Washington gets jobs.

Eight months later, pick up your book from George and mention how your gig is mindless and boring.

Two weeks after that, go to a lecture where George happens to be speaking; briefly say hello.

Two weeks after that, get laid off  when your boss finally comes to the realization you came to long ago: there isn’t enough work to do.

Cry a lot, even though it was a bad job.

One week after your layoff, get an email from George, who says there is a position being created at his office that isn’t exactly with your background, but would be interesting and fulfilling, and are you interested?

Stop stress eating long enough to reply that yes, you are interested.

Interview that week.

Go home for Easter and get an email asking how soon you can come back for a second interview. Debate changing your flight.

Go to another round of interviews with three more people. When asked about a salary range, say, “Something that starts with a six.” When they say it’s a little high, say $50-$60.

Do a writing test for them and beat yourself up for not saying $55-$60.

Wait a week.

Get a call from George saying you’ll get an offer soon.

Get a call from HR the next day where the person says they’re moving forward and what is your range? Hear your voice crack as you say $55-$60. He says $55 is about where many similar associates start, and could you finish your background check soon?

Wait a week, worrying you don’t actually have a job or have been framed for a crime, even though you’re invited to a big company party and everyone says they can’t wait to work with you.

Wait another week for HR. Turn 26 in the meantime and worry about insurance.

Get an offer letter for $55,000.  Literally skip for joy the rest of the day.

Start job!

Ellie is happy to go back to work but will miss reading at the zoo.



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