I’m moving to Washington, D.C. on Sunday. It’s both incredibly exciting and slightly terrifying. I applied for a dream job never thinking I had a chance, but then I got an interview and then an offer. So here I am. Packed up and ready to ship out in 4 days.
Despite the anxiety, the excitement, the sheer amount of logistical planning that’s taking up my brain space right now, I can’t help but consider the pros and cons of a cross country move.
The Pros and Cons of Moving to DC
PRO: Public Transportation
Seriously the only requirement I had during my recent job search was that anywhere I move to have efficient public transportation so that I could get rid of my car. As it turns out, I’m not getting rid of my car since my condo comes with a parking space and I want to explore the East Coast first, but it’s definitely get sold in the future. Goodbye insurance rates, gas, maintenance, and any future car payments…much less all of the time wasted commuting. Instead I will be reading, napping, writing, texting, eating, and doing any number of a million other things with that time. Plus walking and biking – hooray for workouts simply being a part of your every day life.
Whenever I meet anyone in DC how will I really know that they’re NOT in the CIA?
PRO: The Job
I applied for this job never thinking I actually had a chance. As you’ve probably experienced in your own job search, it’s hard to stay positive and hopeful when you get rejected so often. But I sent in my resume through their automated online system, and then I got an interview. And then an offer! And it truly is a dream job – perfectly suited to my skills, a nonprofit organization with an area of focus after my heart, with a compensation package astronomically better than anything I’d ever find in Wisconsin. Sorry, Wisconsin employers, but the brain drain is a very really thing and you’re going to have to do something about it sooner or later.
CON: The Job
This is such a perfect opportunity that I really want to do well. Like, I’m scared of messing up. After graduate school I had a not-so-great experience. The job wasn’t the right fit and I knew it just one week into it. My boss and I didn’t have the same philosophy about how success should be approached. Ultimately, the misalignment did a number on my professional self-confidence. And if there’s anything I’ve been confident about in my life it’s been my ability to do good work – in school, in my career, etc. So now, with a job that seems like a perfect fit I can’t help but have a little fear – due to my new lower confidence level – that I’m going to mess up somehow.
PRO: Free History
The thought of having an hour lunch and just popping into the Smithsonian – for free – gives me a nerdboner. I get to tour the White House when it’s decorated for Christmas. I get to train for my races by running past national monuments. I get to attend lectures and panel discussions and conferences keynoted by the best minds in the world. Not all of it will be free, but a lot of it will and at least it’s accessible.
So I’m moving to Washington D.C. in five days. A guy contacted me on Craigslist and we found a condo – also on Craigslist – and we’ll be roommates. Which sounds creepier than it really is. And I’ll probably lose my sense of direction on the red line and get lost walking to work on my first day. And I’ll join countless networking groups and volunteer at a few places and slowly build a community of acquaintances, then colleagues, then friends. It’s exciting and little terrifying to think about, but I operate best that way.