What it’s Like Working in Washington, D.C.

What it’s Like Working in Washington, D.C.

When you think of Washington D.C., politics probably comes to mind. And it’s true, the area is home to numerous politicians and public servants and has many government jobs both in the civilian and military sectors. However, these aren’t the only areas where you can find career opportunities in our nation’s capital.

 The Job Market in D.C. is Diverse

In addition to government jobs, the leading industries in the area include finance, the legal sector, banking, and healthcare. The highest job growth reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were in education, healthcare, transportation, and utilities. Occupations such as Insurance Appraiser, Anesthesiologist, and Mediators experience a very good job market in the District.

 Salaries are High 

Median starting salaries in the D.C. metro area are second only to those in San Jose, CA. Traditionally underpaid professions such as public-school teachers earn more in D.C. than anywhere else.

There are non-traditional types of employment

For new college graduates, there are internships and volunteer opportunities. Whether you end up working for a non-profit or becoming an engineering intern, you’ll find these are great ways to build your resume.

For experienced workers who would like to stride out on their own, there are opportunities for independent contractors. D.C. is one of the best places in the nation to be a contractor, in fact.

The key to these types of assignments is networking. Many internships will get filled before they are formally posted, and many contract opportunities are granted based on who you know. It’s therefore really important, if you have a non-traditional career, for you to get to know people.

There are Tons of things to Do Outside of Work

One thing that makes networking easy is the plethora of bars, restaurants, and clubs. While D.C. is not as large as, say, New York City, it still has its share of Michelin restaurants as well as some trendy distilleries, breweries and pubs. There are also the traditional meeting places that have been around for centuries. For example, the Round Robin & Scotch Bar has been around since 1847 and Gadsby’s Tavern since 1792.

It’s easy to find networking events at these watering holes, so you’ll find it easy to mingle and make friends. However, because so many people commute from the District to Virginia or Maryland, you won’t find places staying open for 24 hours as they do in some other cities.

In addition to the nightlife, you can enjoy playing tourist on the weekends. Many of the most famous area attractions, such as the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial, and the National Gallery of Art are free. Other attractions include the Kennedy Center, the National Theater, the Folger Shakespeare Theater, and the National Zoo.

If you are a nature lover, you’ll find many parks with miles of beautiful bike and jogging trails. One of these will take you by Mt. Vernon, right along the Potomac.

For those who love to shop, there are quirky boutiques and bookstores all throughout the city. For name brand items, you’ll find that Georgetown has everything you fancy.

Chances are, you won’t live in D.C.

While salaries in D.C. are high, so are housing prices. For this reason, chances are that you’ll live in one of the suburbs or outlying bedroom communities rather than in the city itself. The D.C. metro area actually spans 25 counties in 3 states – Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. This provides a wider range of both housing and recreational choices for those who work in D.C. Additionally, each community has its own unique character, making it easy to find the perfect place to call home.

While people here complain about the commutes, the reality is that they are not worse than other metro areas such as Los Angeles. For example, you can be working downtown all day and by 6 or 7 p.m. be at spin class in Alexandria, VA.

This is a great place for millennials

Millennials love the non-traditional job opportunities, the great nightlife and the liberal vibe of this town. It’s a great place to make connections and to build your career portfolio if you’re a young person.


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