Last night I went to a professional event where I was asked if I wanted to do the “DC handshake”. No, non-DC-ites, this is not as cool as it seems. The DC handshake is simply an exchange of business cards. But I think the whole thing is very representative of this city.
DC is really the District of Contacts. It’s all about who you know and, in turn, who they know. I know ‘networking’ as a whole has become a craze lately, but here, networking has always been a necessity and a way of life.
I have business cards in the office, at home, in my everyday purse, in my travel bag… I find them in odd corners of my apartment, in between my work papers. And it’s like this because you never know who you’ll meet.
A few weeks ago I was at an event where an attendee mentioned her frustration that the first thing she is asked when meeting someone new is: “So, what do you do?”. She finds it to be pompus and superficial.
I countered that I really enjoy it. In my six months here in the District, one of the things that I have come to love most about this city is that (almost) everyone here is here doing something they are truly passionate about. DC is a place of innovation, progress, and advocacy. I love meeting people who are here to make a difference in the world.
Many my age are stumbling their way through life (nothing wrong with that!) but I’ve found that my contemporaries who live in the District have, for the most part, come here with a purpose. It’s refreshing — and gives me hope for my generation’s future — to be somewhere where discussing ideology and politics and theories and similar topics in casual conversations is the norm.