As a newbie in D.C., I’m going out of my way to meet as many people as possible, may they be friends of friends, Rotaract MeetUps, or an alumna the university I attended. Most of them were once newcomers, yet most of them have spent a couple of years in the city. Telling people that I am new in D.C. seem to spice up the conversation a bit. When I volunteer this information, people are as fascinated as I am that it is my first time to be in the city, and it gets more interesting as they show some sense of disbelief when I tell them it is also my first time in the country.
People who chose to settle in the city and call it their home come from different countries and backgrounds, and we share the same reason that brought us to this city, which is work. Other than the exchange of names and what-brought-you-to-D.C. question that goes into the usual round of introduction, another default question is about one’s work. And everyone seems to be preoccupied with interesting work that tries to solve the problems of the world. A boyfriend of a friend from Germany works in the city planning office. The nice couple I met last night for happy hour and dinner do food policy research.
People seem to have a tight knit of professional and personal network. Everybody seems to know a common acquaintance I recently met in the city or have known way back during my undergraduate years in the Philippines.
I’m fortunate to have colleagues who are competent that is conducive environment for work and productivity. From my own observation, it is far from the cut-throat competition which seems to be the norm many big organizations. It is far from laid-back as there is a high turnover of work to do and things to learn.
In my line of work, I often read about indicators. I’d like to believe that one way to know you like what you’re doing and how you’re living is looking forward to waking up in the morning, and realizing you’re happy to be a part of this city, and ready to take part in it. Based on my experience, that’s no proxy indicator.