Influence Policy in Washington, D.C.: Join the Washington Establishment - dummies

Influence Policy in Washington, D.C.: Join the Washington Establishment

By Greg Rushford

Maybe you think working in Washington, D.C., is the life for you. Welcome to the Washington establishment. Joining the club takes hard work, persistence, and luck, but every year countless young folks continue to descend upon Washington to sign up.

It helps to start early. By going to college or graduate school in the Washington area, you can quickly learn your way about the city and start searching for those crucial internships and entry-level jobs on Capitol Hill, in the executive branch, and in the private sector.

Young professionals can become influential while still in their 20s. Being in the area can give you a head start in the rat race.

You may find it difficult to get through the door at first. Hill jobs are hard to find, and fresh-faced graduates usually don’t start their careers as presidential appointees. Fortunately, where you start doesn’t really matter.

Thanks to the revolving door, you may move multiple times between the public and private sectors throughout your career. You’ll likely don many different hats: staffer, researcher, lobbyist, regulator, lawyer, columnist . . . the list goes on.

Realize that at the end of the day, you’re still, in one way or another, contributing to that infinitely intricate and complicated, sometime righteous and often cynical, occasionally dysfunctional but ultimately workable system of government known by all as Washington, D.C.