Internships, Jobs, and Office Relationships

I moved out to DC in August to find a job on the Hill. It’s damn near March, I left my House internship in the end of January, and I feel I have no job prospects, on or off the Hill. Should I just go move back with my mother in Chicago?

Am I right to have an overwhelming feeling of uselessness and depression right now? Furthermore, is there anything in Obamacare where I can score antidepressants and mental health counseling?

— Rage quitting DC

Dear Potential Rage Quitter,

D.C. can be a cruel mistress. I had a friend with a law degree that couldn’t get past the staff assistant’s desk, take another job — only for his boss to lose re-election a few months later. This town will prop up dipshits and punch smart, competent people squarely in the nuts. This town doesn’t make any sense.

But it’s better than Chicago. Anything is better than Chicago. I mean, crime here isn’t a picnic, but in Chicago, you’re bound to get murdered. New York might be run by an asshole that loves banning things, but at least it’s safer. Chicago is probably the worst big city in the country, and it has ruined the perfectly good down state portion of Illinois.

I’d encourage you to give D.C. a little more time. Maybe reconsider a career focus. Maybe do something other than work for government. A lot of my friends have left the hill over the years, many of them have gone back home and not all of them have been successful in finding fulfilling work. Others have. Some have just left government entirely and moved on to other things, and they’re all the happier for it.

Keep working’s listings. Think outside the box, apply to something that interests you that might not be what you’d expect you’d be doing.

As for whether you’re right to feel useless and depressed, I don’t know — I’m not a medical professional. A few years back I quit a job and loved the freedom for about a month. Then I began to feel useless. Before it got to depression level, I got another gig. If you’re under 26 and seriously worried about counseling and getting your hands on those sweet, sweet antidepressants, then getting on mom’s plan might be good for you.

Good luck!

My male co-worker seems to go out of his way to ignore me. He jokes around and makes small talk with other staff, female and male, as well as interns. I’ve tried engaging him in conversation and he brushes me off with one word answers. It’s not a huge problem since it doesn’t affect our working relationship, but it’s just strange. He’s notoriously slow about getting letters to me…but I don’t nag him about it.

-New to Workplace Politics

Not going to lie, it seems from the first sentence that you may/may not have a little workplace crush on your silent co-worker. Friendly advice: don’t shag where you shit. Or shit where you eat. Something like that. Don’t bone co-workers.

If you’re not attracted to your colleague, it could be that he is really into you and is shy. That or he hates you. Tough to admit, but always possible.

I’ve had co-workers that — for a while — were extremely close friends. But people change, and we barely exchange words these days. Life has its ebbs and flows. The Hill, in particular, tends to be a magnet for strange personalities. As long as your work is able to get done, I wouldn’t worry about it or bring it up. Only if it gets strange should you consider how to address it. Otherwise, let weirdos be weirdos.

I interned for two members on the House side last summer, and will be interning for a Senator this summer. In regards to office atmosphere, generic intern duties, and projects/ tasks delegated to interns, how do Senate & House interns differ? – Josh

It’s a matter of scale. No matter the office, you’re a much smaller cog in a Senate office. Now, whether you’ll be given similarly important work that you probably saw in the House will depend on the Senator’s staff and their trust of interns. I for one, stopped trusting them.

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