There’s no denying thousands of millennials — those of us born between the early ’80s and roughly 2000 — flock to our nation’s capital as post-grads, year after year looking to change the world. And there’s certainly no denying DC is a type of place that will eat you up and spit you out if you let it. It’s not for the light-hearted or for the lazy. It’s also not for the people without a properly functioning liver. Welcome to the place we call home, welcome to the jungle. You’re officially a little fish in a big pond.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Washington D.C. is the best city for people aged 25-34 to live and work.”
There is something very telling about this city when you walk through the halls of any Senate or House building on Capitol Hill and you undoubtedly see thousands of twenty-something’s roaming the floors of some of the most important buildings in the United States — and by roaming, we mean running. Read any letter from your Congressman to a disgruntled constituent and guess who wrote it. Most likely it’s not the Senator, but their 23-year-old legislative correspondent.
We are coding for the top government agencies, writing proposals for consulting companies, and interviewing governors. We are the millennials in Washington DC.
“What do you do?” Those four words hold the key to this city — whether you are rocking a press pass to the White House or tweeting @ someone famous. And they are the words DC millennials know better than most.
We all know NYC is about money, LA is about looks — but DC is about power.
If you can “hang” in DC, you’ll get somewhere. But here’s the real deal breaker– if you want to get to the top, you have to stand out. Make people know who are you are. Make people realize they should know who you are. Yes,
there’s a big difference between having confidence and having an ego that’s just too big. And yes, there’s also a difference between being known for something admirable, and being “that” guy.
Wake up, millennials. If you live and work in DC, you are lucking out in many, many ways — despite your birth year.. We are all competing with each other, against each other. Stop complaining about your work, or #ThisTown, and go prove everyone wrong. Sure, you have to expect to give 110% and get nothing in return. But, if you can stick it out, you will be the big winner.
We have the gift to make a difference, we are the answer to the future. Heck, every political group is spending millions trying to “figure us out.” The world is our oyster. So go have a few at Johnny’s Half Shell for happy hour, and then go do your work.
Stefanie Petropoulos (right): Greek. Chicago Proud. Politics. Messaging. Pro Snark.