Friday, November 6, 2009


Since I've been in Washington, DC, I've learned a few things (sometimes the hard way) and also had the opportunity to implement a few behaviors I already knew. Check out my list thus far.

1. Never have a sweaty/wet hand.
  • No matter where you are or what you are doing, there's a very high chance you will be asked for a handshake. Wiping your hand at the last second is a little weird.
2. Everyone knows someone, especially in Washington, DC.
  • With that said, be mindful of the things you say and do in public because it'll most likely come back to hunt you.
3. Be nice to your concierge at home; respectful of your security guard at work; and friends with your office's administrative assistant...not on a superficial level though.
  • At least learn their names.
  • These people have the power to brighten your day & life. They can also make things extremely difficult for you.
  • There's a high chance that they have been in town for much longer than you have thus likely to know all the good spots and who to talk to.
4. Never hesitate to pick up one of those free newspapers by the Metro stations.
  • The cover story might be the topic du jour at work. Trust me, you don't wanna be that guy who never knows anything about the hot issues. Besides, knowing what's going on in town or around the world is fuel to conversations and start of new relationships.
5. Remember people's NAMES, especially the individuals who work in your office.
  • Screwing up a person's name or calling him/her a different name will make it awkward almost every time you two meet.
  • When sending an e-mail, double, triple, quadruple check if the person's name is spelled correctly. It annoys me when my name is misspelled.
6. Don't be afraid to boost your colleagues' egos a bit by chatting with them about who they are and what they do.
  • Don't turn it into an Oprah session though.
7. Small talks are your best friends.
  • They will get you into places.
8. Never leave your apartment without a business card.
  • Be very thankful for the ones TWC gives out. If you can bring your own, might not be a good idea to put your cell # on it.
9. Sunday night is not considered weekend.
  • The Metro shuts down at 12:30 am on Sunday nights. Be careful, the last train might be at 11:55 pm at your station.
10. During your internship in Washington, DC, never "Friend" your colleagues on Facebook.
  • Open a LinkedIn account. It might become essential to your professional life.
11. Be sure to take advantage of the FREE things in DC i.e. museums, festivals, lunches at embassies, and theatrical shows.
  • Be on the look-out for e-mails from TWC. The program usually gives away free or discounted tickets to shows (but respond ASAP since they go quickly).
12. When going out to a social event with your boss, don't dress better than him. You want to make him look good, while not looking like crap.
  • Get the feel of the office's cultural norms. Don't be that guy who's always in suit & tie while your colleagues are in business casual. I was that overdressed guy the first week, but then realized, I gotta let everyone know that I actually belong in this place.
13. The Metro is not as reliable as it would like you to think.
  • I hate being late to anything. So, if you're like me, add 20 minutes to your traveling schedule. If you live on the Red line, add 35 minutes. That line is ridiculous.
Until Next Time,
Emmanuel H.

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