I have been given many pieces of advice during my trip here. Stand right, walk left. Do not go to this place and this place after sunset. The BEST burger is located in Dupont and is called Duke’s. Everyone seems to have something useful and applicable to my time in D.C. With every new person, there is a new piece of advice. Each person I have met thus far has provided advice and somehow improved my life here in some way.
Lobbying is not your typical 9am-5pm job. It is rare to see every lobbyist in the firm every day (so rare, I do not think I have met all the lobbyists yet). Meetings take place around the clock, not just during the typical work day. One of my supervisors had a meeting with the Secretary of Treasury at a Nationals’ baseball game. I was going to ask to attend the game, but I think it’s a little early in my career to ask to work with the Secretary of Treasury. Perhaps, after my second week, I’ll introduce the idea. Anyway, I got to meet a lobbyist that goes by the name of Rodney. Rodney has a passion for service and works with impoverished youth. Like everyone else in D.C., he stressed the importance of networking. But, he expanded the conversation by stressing the importance of harboring the relationship. It goes far beyond handing someone your business card and sending a few emails back and forth. You need to care about the person, genuinely. Rodney said that you need to toss aside the thought of “what can I get from these people?” and make it more about making a connection with others. I never really thought of networking that way. Most come into networking events trying to find someone that can further their own career aspirations, but that is the completely wrong approach. You should go into a networking event to make connections. Those connections will help you in the long run.
Surprisingly, Rodney told the interns another incredible story about a past college mate named P-Diddy. P-Diddy had a tv show where he would try to help new hip-hop musicians make it in the industry. In one episode, the contestants did very well so P-Diddy rewarded them by taking them to the best restaurants, bars, and clubs. There were out until 5 am in the morning partying and having a good time. The next morning, P-Diddy went to the house where they were still sleeping at noon. P-Diddy was not very happy. He woke all of them up and made a strong point. He stated that they should have all been awake early to work on songs. P-diddy was out just as late as they were and he was up at 8 AM making business calls and having meetings. The takeaway was this: once you are at the top, do not stop to rest. In order to achieve your dreams, you need to push through. Small victories should be celebrated, but remember your end goal. This is something that I plan to apply to my time in D.C. I am going to have many of successes and failures, but I cannot stopping climbing.
While this week has been busy, I have gotten to explore so much of D.C. I love this district. You feel important walking through the streets. This weekend I got to go to the American History Museum. Some of the most amazing things I saw at this museum were the Star Spangled Banner, Julia Child’s Kitchen, a Civil War battle material, George Washington’s clothing, and Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress. The museum was huge, so I did not get to go completely through it. I hope to go back soon. Another fun thing I got to do was go to Washington, D.C. Pride. It was quite an emotional time for me. I was excited to be there, but I could not help but remember the Pulse shooting that happened a year earlier. I was in Orlando when that shooting happened and a high school classmate of mine was killed protecting a stranger. It was incredibly emotional seeing the community coming together in remembrance and in celebration of identities. I am privileged that I got to be part of something so incredible.
This weekend, if the weather permits, I hope to visit Roosevelt Island. Then I hope to go see the National Archives (this is a must for every political science student) and visit the African American History Museum. As far as work goes, I am looking forward to the different committee meetings since the presidential budget just dropped. Many of the different appointed Secretaries have been coming to the meetings.