One thing that I love about working in D.C. is that it feels like a big deal. If you’ve ever worked in a major city, you probably know what I’m talking about. It doesn’t matter what your job title is, you automatically seem more successful and important, simply based on geography. I’m not sure if there is a word for that. If there is, it’s probably German. They always have the cool expressions, don’t they?
It might be just a respect thing—if I go to a tech convention and people ask which office I’m from, I get a little more respect than the guy next to me whose office is in, say, Joliet. People also typically assume that I work for the government (I can neither confirm or deny that one). My coworkers and I always end up with a few hangers-on when we go to conventions, even if we aren’t hiring or presenting anything. And maybe it’s my ego talking but I think that’s pretty cool. If it gets you to listen to me, or opens up a possible new job opportunity because you think I’m some kind of bigshot, then I’m going to take that and work it to my advantage as best as possible. Seriously, us computer guys are a dime a dozen. Sure there’s less of us who are qualified, but you might not know that I’m good at what I do (I am, by the way. Totally worth every penny of my salary, plus more) right away but good doesn’t matter if it doesn’t get my foot in the door, does it? What I can do only matters once I’m already in the room.
You all probably imagine that I make double or triple what that networking guy in…let’s see… Nampa, Idaho makes.And yes, our job responsibilities next to each other and you’ll get a pretty even match but the salaries are going to be very different. What people probably don’t realize is that once you take thecost of living into consideration, the guy out in Idaho is probably able to put more money in the bank than I am, which actually makes him the smart one. And he probably gets more chicks that way, too. When I told my parents what my starting salary was, they nearly fell over. Then I told them how much I pay a month in rent and they thought I accidentally added a zero. Hilarious if you are anybody but someone living in the D.C. metro area, I guess.
But there are professional sports teams within driving distance, and that’s a big plus for someone like me. There are famous restaurants all over the place if you’re into that stuff. If you’re not into politics, you probably aren’t impressed by the fact that you can run into your congressman on line at the grocery store. I haven’t gotten tired of it yet, though. Maybe when it gets old, it will be time to move. I like taking time on the weekend to walk around the different monuments and memorials. I like to read the historical plaques and absorb the history of this place. It’s like being inside a government and politics textbook, except you actually get to see and experience everything.
The traffic makes me insane and I’ve already mentioned the cost of living, but I’ve been here two years now and that’s just about everything I can think of to complain about. That’s not so bad, right?