Boring Jobs in Interesting Places

My favorite way to describe what I do is that it’s a boring job in an interesting place. Wonkette’s Ask a Lobbyist column, in which a snarky, anonymous lobbyist mouths off on the way she sees DC, hit my job on the head last week with this morsel of wisdom:

But, you know, changing the world seems like a great idea at 22. And then you get a job on the Hill and spend your days answering constituent letters or calling the Social Security Administration or mailing flags, and you take the Metro home to Ramen noodles and 3 crazy roommates (and their boyfriends/one night stands), and the veil falls away between you and your elected leaders and you realize that they’re all as venal and petty and concerned with popularity contests as the average American and they’ve all pretty much give up on setting the world on fire, and you start to wonder for whom you’re actually eating Mac&Cheese and buying suits at Marshalls, anyway. A bunch of nameless constituents? Love, honor and country? Whatever. So, it wasn’t any particular event that made me lost the naïveté I came here with, just a couple of years of soul-crushing boredom and inability to do anything I could justify as remotely important and then the move over to this side of the policy fence, where it’s just as soul-crushingly boring some days and only vaguely disheartening others but it pays better and there’s no expectation that I am making a difference to anyone but my own bottom line. Maybe that’s just growing up, though.

It’s not that I hate my life. And I’m not quite to where she is yet. I still have my hill job, and it’s still remotely interesting, and I still feel as though I may be doing something vaguely important in the grand scheme of things. Or at least answering the phones for people who will make it possible for me to one day do something important in the grand scheme of things.

In some ways that’s just what Washington is for young people. Soul-crushingly boring jobs in actually quite fascinating places that just make you want to up and move back to the West Coast where all anyone ever cares about is who Gavin Newsom’s next underage girlfriend will be or whether Google’s next office perk will be free Priuses or a company dinner catered by Thomas Keller.

If a boring job on the hill just leads to a boring job in lobbying, I don’t think I’m in the right place.


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