Friday Question of the Day – What was your first job in DC?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Nathan Castellanos

Another Friday question just cause I’m curious – what was the first job you had in DC? Is it the same field that your job is in today? My first paying job in DC was as a server at the esteemed Woodley Cafe. You guys?

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  • Ive been living in DC now for 16yrs and never had a job based in actual DC proper.

  • The 9:30 Club for the past 15 years!!!

  • College academic advising office assistant/front desk person. Work study. Now I’m a lawyer 11 years later.

  • Program / project management for the gov’t. Now – quality mgmt for the gov’t.

  • Secretary at a law firm. Now I am an associate at the same firm.

  • Research associate for The Advisory Board Company, which shortly thereafter split off to become the Corporate Executive Board. There are tons of us in this town, but now I work for an even more popular DC employer–the federal government.

    • I know a lot of people that started out as marketing associates at the Advisory Board company. I can’t say I heard a lot of good things.

      • My sister applied for a Research Assistant job with the CEB three years ago. A friend of her’s made an introduction to one of the hiring managers for an informational interview at a happy hour. He proceeded to sexually harass my sister in the interview and then called her 3 different times while he was out drinking over the next two weeks, asking her to come out. Even after interviewing officially with other people at CEB, he basically laid it out that she had to sleep with him if she wanted the job.
        I know three people who had their first job at the CEB. All I can say is that the common denominators between them were (1.) male and (2.) they are the biggest dirtbags I’ve met in my time in DC. I’m sure there’s nice people at CEB, but it seems like the place is one big lawsuit waiting to happen.

        • You will not get much quibble from this alum. I lasted 1.5 years and was happy to leave for a more mature professional environment. Great first job though: it introduced me to a ton of other young people in DC and taught me what I did NOT want to do with my career.

  • I had a short-lived stint as a server at the Pizzeria Uno in Cleveland Park. I quickly realized I didn’t have the temperament for a career in food services. Soon after, I got a job teaching SAT prep classes.

  • binpetworth

    Usher and coat checker at the Kennedy Center. I was 19. The coat checking gig was especially good, as wealthy patrons would leave handsome tips. Except Ross Perot. He never tipped.

  • Secretary/receptionist at a small consulting firm.

  • EA at one of the large hospitals.

    • Also missed the rest of the question. I still work in healthcare, though no longer an EA. I’ve worked in healthcare for well over ten years, first as a caregiver while going to nursing school, then after getting pregnant I switched to admin and stayed(various titles but basically the same stuff each time). I’ve made the switch to a pretty specialized area within health care administration, but do more generalized stuff in the side job.

  • I was still in college, so mine was working in GWU’s Residential Services office handling students’ housing assignments, complaints, etc. It was actually a wonderful job for a student, I enjoyed it a lot!

    • Oops I missed the rest of the question too. I’m now contracted to an independent government agency working in privacy.

  • Was the intern that wouldn’t leave so they had to give me a job in the Senate….RIP FRL….Was bartending in Georgetown at the same time. Finally took the pay cut and did the Senate job full time…..Still living the frustration with the federal govt…..

  • My first job in DC was folding tshirts and rugbies at Benetton at Metro Center.

  • SouthwestDC

    I’m assuming you mean in the DC area. I was a patent agent at the USPTO.

  • I worked at a nightclub called the Wax Museum – good times!

  • Helper on a Sysco food delivery truck right after high school.

  • I processed security clearances. Looking back, it was actually a darn good job, all things considered.

  • Ally

    Intern at the Pentagon.

  • My first job was at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
    Great organization with a neat mission, but the specific job sucked.
    Now in a completely different field. But I miss those 2-hr lunches in Dupont Circle.

  • skj84

    Segway tour guide! Which lasted a hot second. After Barista at Dean and Deluca, and admin at a high end lingerie shop.

    • Oh my god! I can’t even look at people on a segway – including cops – without the urge to burst out laughing. All I see is Gob Bluth!

      • Lol. And this was when Segways were still a novelty. I didn’t watch Arrested Development at the time, but my brothers did. Never got their references.

    • I would looooooooove to be a Segway tour guide!!!!

  • Library Assistant at the Washington International School.

  • Senate press intern in college. Working full-time in DC in same field since moving here in ’07.

  • Aglets

    Props intern for the Shakespeare Theatre. Was there for almost 10 years

  • I Dont Get It

    I was recruited and moved here to be a product manager for retirement accounts at a large credit union.

    • I Dont Get It

      Okay technically that was in Alexandria but moving from Kentucky, that’s DC! My first job in DC is the one I still hold at a large (it’s HUUUUGE) humanitarian non-profit. When I first started interviewing my job was located in Merrifield but when they offered it to me they were very apologetic that the position was now located near the White House. SCORE!!!!!! So yes I am in a totally different industry/field now from when I moved to “DC.”

      • I Dont Get It

        And my first position at the DC non-profit was as liaison to the NY based 9/11 recovery program. Most in DC had no idea what I did or why I was there so I was left alone the first two years. I actually missed attended staff meetings!

  • Hooker at 14th and K. 6 years later, I now work for Deloitte.

  • I worked as a full-time library assistant at a preeminent think tank. I was the last full-timer, as I told my supervisor that there simply wasn’t enough work at the time to justify it being a f/t position. When I was promoted, they made the position p/t, where it has remained forevermore. Sorry, future/past library assistants!

  • Junior regulatory consultant at a small “environmental” consulting firm–which was a guise for being pro-business/anti-environment. I quit after 3 months and took an internship at an ocean conservation nonprofit. I still work in the environmental field (now government).

  • First real job was @ the Advisory Board Company where I made some of my best friends!

  • Moved to the area almost 10 years ago, lived and worked in NoVA as a marketing assistant, then moved through a bunch of roles at the same awful horrible not-for-profit. However, I made some nice friends, had one or two good bosses, and most importantly, learned what I did and did not want to do with my life. Not the same field as the one I’m in currently.

  • I’ve only worked in DC since I moved here. My first job was at the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies at GW. I lasted two months. I still can’t tell you what communitarianism is.

  • First job was an on campus only (GW) pizza deliverer. First day job was as a law clerk at DOJ. First permanent position was associate at a BigLaw firm. Now a government attorney.

  • Cashier at Starbucks, while interning at a think tank before starting grad school.

    • Thank you for your service, sir or ma’am. No really, baristas have to put up with so much sh$t I commend you for not throwing hot drinks in peoples’ faces!

  • There are a lot of of GW-connected people here! My first job in the city was a work study student for the counselor in residence in my dorm. 22 years later and I’m still working for GW and coming to campus every day…

    • Aw I’m jealous. I would love to still work at GW (or Georgetown or American for that matter) but didn’t get any interviews from the hundreds of openings I applied to in the year after college, and now it would be a pay cut 🙁 It would be much more enjoyable though.

  • Exit (boutique) on 31st Street in Georgetown. Don’t remember Exit? That’s because I’m old.

  • I was a valet parker for Atlantic Valet, and then I worked at Dickies Frozen Custard! Oh, and I passed out flyers for Lawsons Gourmet at the metro stations. Oh! And I was a waitress at Tequila Grill. Good times.

  • Working at a think tank, leading work in a policy area. Now I’m at a research organization. I only moved here two years ago.

  • Back in 1990 my first job was to help with a study of “The societal benefits of avoiding climate change.” I was a huge skeptic, thinking, ah, that could never happen in my lifetime. Here I am 25 years later and my main job is working on trying to find ways to reduce emissions to avoid climate change. Incredible to have seen the planet warming, ice caps melting, permafrost melting, global leadership growing to find solutions, more solar, more wind, more electric vehicles. Wonder if we’ll ever see next generation nuclear solutions…..

    • Wow, that’s really cool! I mean, it’s sad and awful, in a way, but also cool to have been at the forefront of people recognizing “Oh crap, we’re going to melt the planet.”

  • First job in DC metro was as a server, but first job in DC proper was as an admin in corporate development at a non-profit. I’m now at a non-profit I like much better, and am a director in corporate development.

  • The sunglass hut in Friendship Heights when I was here for a semester at AU in college.

  • First job 1994: Web “designer” for a start-up during the dot-com boom era. (in quotes because I am hardly a designer. Just what the jobs were called in those days)

    Current job: digital strategy for a large corporation..

    In between, did a typical-for-DC IT/digital/web rotation between government contracting, freelance, associations, Big 5 consulting… and Fannie Mae.

    • Magnet, by any chance?

      • Oooh close.. I didn’t work for Magnet but knew them well. I was at small shop that was eventually bought up by iXL. I remember Magnet well though and know a few folks from there. We all thought we were gonna be rich. Exciting times.

  • Part-time temporary contractor at the now-Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. I was also a Hill intern at the same, but I didn’t exaclty get paid for that.

  • It was at Blessed Sacrament’s rectory, answering the phone and door, taking requests for Mass cards, and watching a lot of Fresh Prince.

  • jim_ed

    In the city proper it was several years in the meat grinder at CoStar. If we’re talking DC Metro, it was my college job slingin TVs at Circuit City (RIP).

  • Worked in the back at the Dandelion Patch in Georgetown.

  • First DC job was an Assistant Store Manager for a bougie Georgetown boutique. I had worked in retail for 10 years and it was the nail in my coffin. Now I am about to transition from a nonprofit to DC government next week.

  • hammers

    hmm DC is one place that some people can’t/shouldn’t/won’t talk about their jobs. put me in that camp for the first job. Now I’m a cyber analyst for a gov’t contractor. please please don’t ask me computer questions. I never said I was a good one.

  • Legislative Correspondent on the Hill. I loved it.

  • Secretary (remember those?) in the investigations department at the Humane Society of the US. Now writing marketing copy for an education company in VA and dreaming of a job that is actually in the city.

  • I was 18, just graduated from high school. Wanted some money for the summer and to get me through at least the first half of the semester of college. I was selling knives, Cutco knives. Went in for a training and they promised the world “if you sell this much, you can make so and so.” It was my first and last sales job. Lasted like 2 weeks, wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t want to pester my family or friends and sell knives to them, and one of the best rules of sales is if you can’t believe your own BS, why would anyone else believe you. Fast forward a year later and I was working at a special education law firm. Stayed there for most of my time in college actually. Today I work at a labor union organization

    • Are you originally from the area? I ask because I too ALMOST got caught up in selling cutco knives. I went to training and everything. lol I couldn’t figure out who I would sell them to. That cant still be happening in 2015, no one is going to open the door! lol I worked at Adventure World/Six Flags instead. 🙂

  • First job: Big Law associate
    Current job: AA group leader

  • First job: unpaid intern at a 501(c)(3)
    First paid job: Starbucks barista (whenever a patronizing/condescending customer would order their drink, I would intentionally make it wrong…treat others however you want to be treated folks)
    Currently: a paper pusher…I mean secretary…at a law firm and part-time data entry

  • We made the decision to move because I loved the city and my partner was willing to follow. We had no jobs when we left NYC, just a moving truck and small savings.

    Happily, as we were driving down in the moving truck, I got the offer – fundraising at a human rights nonprofit organization.

    Nearly a decade later, still raising money to fund work that makes the world a better place.

  • Work-study job at the old Francis Stevens Elementary when I was in college.

  • Quotia Zelda

    My first job in DC was a senior program officer at a federal grantmaking agency. I’m still in that job, though I’ve since also picked up a collateral duty.

  • First job: Intern. First paid job: Legislative Assistant

  • First job was out in Tyson’s Corner at a Traffic Engineering firm, then Springfield VA at a Transportation Engineering firm, then I got a job working for Arlington County in their Department of Public Works, and finally I made it into DC proper and I now work for Metro. I slowly made my way into DC, it took a few years though!

  • I worked as a press intern for our next president (Bernie Sanders). Saw him maybe 10 times over a 4 month period despite working directly outside of his office door. He introduced himself every time too…. Still love the guy, though.

  • First job in first (brief) time in DC: temp officer worker for about 6 months in 2004-05.
    First job when I moved back in ’09: budget analyst for gov’t agency
    Current and final job in DC (today’s my last day!): budget analyst for different agency

  • unpaid intern at American Planning Association. this is after receiving a master’s degree. it was 2009. so depressing.

  • Underpaid Intern at a private wealth management firm near the White House. First day of work was the day the markets reopened after 9/11. That was quite a day.

  • “Telephone Secretary” aka, switchboard operator … one of the old Ernestine switchboards. Currently Office Manager for a NGO.

  • I was a hostess at The American Cafe on 13th and G Streets. Twenty-five years later, I’m a public affairs manager for the federal government.
    Maybe kinda sorta the same line of work.

  • Intern at the East-West Center (nonprofit focused on US-Asia relations), which I absolutely loved. 🙂 Great place and really interesting work!

  • In 1967, I worked as a stockperson in a family-owned department store. Worked for same store for 3 years as salesclerk. Since & now work for an independent federal agency, largest in-box in the world, 48 years and counting.

  • (first job/paid internship) Research Assistant at the US Institute of Peace – I loved it
    (since then) a menagerie of federal jobs

  • First job: intern at Treasury.
    First paid job (and current gig): independent Federal agency. Still dealing with money, markets, and financial policy making. 🙂

  • comms assistant at a land preservation non-profit. had to play comms manager, HR person, and secretary all in one. pay was a joke but learned a lot – especially about what i DIDN’T want in a job! now am a comms director for a trade association down the street.

  • Sidewalk canvasser for Live Green. If you’ve been to Whole Foods, you’ve ignored me!

  • My first job in DC was a canvasser for Planned Parenthood. Seriously the worst two months of my life. I’m now a Realtor specializing in first time home buying. Anyone need some help? 🙂

  • Server at Founders in Old Town, now I’m a fed at the Smithsonian.

    • Ha! I worked as a server at founders for a brief period as well. I actually forgot about that until I saw this post…

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Waitress at Howard Johnson’s at Friendship Heights. Lasted 2 weeks. Then sales clerk at Count’s Western Wear – sold Levis and Western snap button shirts. Full time and then off and on when I went away to college in Massachusetts.

  • I was a cocktail waitress at Saki and sister venue Chloe in Adams Morgan. That was close to 10 years ago. Now I am a lawyer like everyone else and their mother 🙂

  • moved here in 2001 to work as a paralegal at the DOJ. went to law school, worked at a law firm, and now back to the gov’t as a lawyer at the USPTO.

  • First job was as a temp receptionist for a small law firm where one of the partners is Faye Dunaway’s brother (had the same tooth-gap and everything!) First full time job was a program assistant at the Institute for International Education. Done a few different things since then (including working at a resort in the Caribbean) but now work in the membership department at another non-profit.

  • Lifeguard while in high school, at various apartment complexes in SW and motels on NY Ave (which no longer exist)

    Now, after avoiding the govt for many years… that is where I am now, proud to be a cliché.

  • saf

    First job in DC – Residence Hall Receptionist

    First full time job in DC – waitress/bartender at Armand’s in Mount Pleasant

    First professional job – microbiology lab tech

    Then a series of new jobs and career changes. Now a project manager.

  • first job (high school) vet assistant
    now public health scientist

  • I’ve lived here all my life, but always worked in Bethesda or NoVa, until about 3 years ago when my company transferred me from our office in Chantilly to our DC office (thank god!). During and after college, I worked in Bethesda- out by the mall, then Old Town Alexandria, then Arlington, then downtown Bethesda, then Chantilly, now I am working for a beer wholesaler in NE DC and my commute is finally only about 4 miles.

  • first (poorly paid) internship – field outreach for Taxpayers for Common Sense
    first real job with benefits – staff assistant for a Senator. (“Once a BAMMER, always a BAMMER!”)

  • Clerk at Total Crafts in Fairfax VA

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