Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Heard: District v. DC Interns

I am a former congressional intern, but I worked in my Representative's District Office, and the DC interns were the laughing stocks even to the District interns.

The DC/District dyad is amusing. The DC office tends to be filled with policy and votes, a.k.a. tasks that relegate most DC interns to important tasks such as collating, getting coffee, and playing solitaire. The District office is more casework-based, and with the amount of casework that comes in, summer interns are the one way for the office to get caught up. To put it simply, DC interns didn't even require an interview (and typically got in the office because of well-to-do connections). District interns had a phone interview and an in-person interview.

Even as a summer intern in the District office, I rued the day when I actually had to call the DC office, because I knew I was going to have to put up with one of the interns.

Once, we received some mail from the DC office with a load of casework files, sent by one of the summer interns. However, a few pieces of casework were out of our district, so therefore they needed to be forwarded to the appropriate Congressperson. I called the DC office to rectify the mistake and explained the concept of congressional courtesy, whereby a Congressperson would defer caseworking to the appropriate district, rather than taking up out-of-district requests. I might as well have been speaking Farsi. Not only had the DC intern not heard of congressional courtesy, after explaining it, he had no idea the name of the other representative (my state has VERY few Members of Congress).

So [some] DC interns, remember that you are even regarded with disdain by other interns.