Today begins a series of excerpts over the next few weeks from my new position paper, “The Global Communicator’s Welcome to Washington Guide.”
One area of consensus became clear as I conducted research for this paper. During interview after interview with non-U.S. communicators posted to Washington, D.C., there was agreement that few reliable resources exist to help them adjust to life and work in America’s capital city.
While there may be a handful of organizations and publications that can help in certain areas, a one-stop source of information appears to be lacking.
Some of the experts I interviewed—individuals who know firsthand the rigors of arriving for a post in Washington—exhibited a sense of frustration. Some a sense of resignation. And some an emphatic sense of irritation.
Thus, the genesis of this paper you now hold in your hands. It is a humble attempt to come to the aid of those—like you—who touch down at Washington’s Dulles International Airport only to be confronted by a strange city, culture, and work environment. Worse yet, you may have no one to guide you.
It must be said this paper may not be as helpful as originally intended. That has been no little source of professional disappointment for me. Given the lack of readily accessible resources, the sad truth is you may need to create a do-it-yourself plan. Nonetheless, my hope is that this document will at the least provide you with some ideas for a framework to acclimate you to your new life in Washington.
So much for the bad news. Now let’s look on the bright side. You have the power to aid future international communicators trying to find their way in Washington. This resource is intended to be a living document, one that you can help to improve. The content will gain value over time if readers like you contribute your suggestions for publication in subsequent editions. I heartily encourage you to do so, with ideas large and seemingly small.