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Hey, Amazon: welcome to Washington DC, you will fit right in

It's official. Amazon is moving one of its two additional headquarters to Northern Virginia. The move is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the area. Bummer.

I'm only kidding. I, for one, will never complain about job creation. But the influx of 25,000 new jobs won't stop the locals from complaining about the impending traffic nightmares and the inevitable swarm of lanyard-wearing tech bros walking...well, where are they walking to, anyway?

The Tech Bros Are Coming!
My home-owning friends in NOVA (Northern Virginia) are very excited about the favorable effect Amazon could have on home prices. But otherwise, they worry that Amazon's HQ2 arrival will add only more chaos to an area already beset by a troubled infrastructure and a very high cost of living.

I've been following the online comments for weeks, and the Amazon work ethos seems to have some people quietly worried, too. Here's a sampling of complaints: We don't more "tech bros" running around, creating congestion. Amazon employees work 70-hour weeks, they're on call 24/7/365, they probably rarely see their families, and for what!? A good paycheck? After a few years, these employees will just leave town!

I chuckle when I read these comments, because the complaints about Amazon employees could also describe many employees in the DC area. In fact, pretty much the first question you get asked when you live here is: "What do you do [for a living]?" How long a conversation lasts from that point on can depend on your answer. So have your 30-second elevator pitch ready to go.

This area isn't exactly known for its modest, self-effacing work population that says, "No, please, you take the promotion this time, I'm just happy where I am on the career ladder." This area can be incredibly competitive about everything. It doesn't matter what it is. People take themselves very seriously, and they will work incredibly long hours trying to get ahead. After a few years, many of them burn out, and move out. Our workforce is always changing. People come and go, all the time.

Amazon, do not worry. You will fit right into the DC work culture. Seriously. I think you made the right decision coming here. It is Prime real estate.

Amazon, don't listen to all the whining on message boards about how you'll increase housing prices and make traffic even worse. Most people here (including yours truly) couldn't afford to live in the greater Arlington area, anyway. It was already out of reach for the vast majority of us.

Traffic? Pfft. You guys are based in Seattle, where the traffic can be even worse than here in DC. I grew up near Seattle, so I can attest to the horrid traffic bottlenecks on Interstate 5. It's not all that different here.

How To Win DC Over
Amazon, if you want to win over the NOVA locals, here's a suggestion: help our transportation system run better. I know that's not your job, but you guys ship things all over the world and you do it very well.

I'll put it in succinct language that you can understand: we need same-day shipping of our local workforce! Everyone here is tired of waiting 20 minutes for the next train that ends up taking 45 minutes to arrive. Also, our Metro buses rarely sync with the train arrivals. It's a sad sight to watch a desperate, tired commuter chasing down a Metro bus as it drives away, only to stand around waiting another 40 minutes for the next bus.


Amazon, if you can help us even remotely fix our transportation woes as part of your chosen "community involvement" efforts, then we will wrap our arms around you like the Beltway circles DC and never let go.

But for now, let me extend a hearty welcome to Northern Virginia! Our housing costs are sky high, the traffic is downright terrible, too many people don't smile, everyone works too hard, we're liberal in our politics, a master's degree is the low end of education, people are willing to pay $5 for a cup of coffee, and we're having our rainiest year on record so far.

In fact, it's 48 degrees and raining right now. Seattle weather. You will feel right at home here, Amazon. But I think you know that already. See you around town!


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