Every single job is a fight, from the first internship to the last underpaid but prestigious position in "Grass Roots Development" or "International Relief." And everyone is always on the make for the next job.
Here are some job hunting tips specific to the city:
- Take nothing personally. Everyone is both incredibly over-worked and trying to develop only the most prestigious contacts possible. Given these two factors, your phone call has a high chance of being ignored.
- If someone promises to do something for you but doesn't, remind him or her once, then drop it.
- Expect to work for peanuts, or free.
- Expect everyone back home to think this is insane. And don't waste your time trying to defend yourself with something like, "But my senator is the leading expert on peanut farms - that will be huge in alternative energy policy discussions."
- Enjoy the networking opportunities, which allow you to have incredibly detailed policy discussions with people who actually know what they're talking about.
- Realize most people don't know what they're talking about, but we all skimmed the Economist, so close enough.
- Remember that even if you skimmed the Economist, there's a chance your acquaintance sat in on the committee hearings, so um, try not to overdo the bs.
- Remember too, that the guy talking is probably as full of shit as you would like to be, if you had the guts to really go for it.
- Come to grips with the fact that a society largely made up of sleep-deprived people with something to prove will never treat you like the folks back home.
- And finally, tip the help. Every other restaurant server or bar tender has a day job with an international think tank or a Hill office. You never know who'll carry a grudge.