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TPFers Guide To Working In Washington DC And Surrounding Area

The Washington DC area is home to two TPF shops that I have worked at, Amtrak and Marriott, International. IRS also has a TPF shop somewhere The White House lawn, Washington DCaround here, but I never worked there so I can't tell you anything about it. ECHO associates does TPF remote work from their offices in Northern Virginia, but again I never worked there so I can't tell you anything about it. 
.............. (well I bet someone out there can....tell us about it  Ed.


Amtrak's offices are located in downtown DC, a block from the US Capitol building and from Union Station. The offices are a few blocks away from a homeless shelter, so you will encounter panhandlers on your way in to the office any day it's not raining. Parking at the office is rather expensive, but the office is located a block away from the Union Station Red Line Metro stop. There are plenty of places to eat at Union Station and in the surrounding office buildings. One often neglected eatery within walking distance is the Senate staffers' cafeteria, subsidized by your US tax dollars. There are also a bunch of 'lobbyist special' restaurants in the area, for those of you with big contracter dollars to spend. Housing and other costs of living are rather high in the Washington area. Look forAmtrak, yet another TPF shop in the DC area... something convenient to the Metro, preferably on the Red Line. If you're looking for a place in the suburbs, Maryland tends to be a bit cheaper than Virginia for the same amount of house.  

Marriott is located in suburban Maryland. Marriott International, yep TPF jobs here too... Headquarters, where applications programmers are based, is in Bethesda, Maryland. The operations center is in Frederick, Maryland, and is where systems and coverage programmers are located. Frederick is a growing town on the edge of the Catoctin mountain range (part of the Blue Ridge) about an hour's drive from both DC and Baltimore. Headquarters is not at all convenient to the Metro rail, although many buses stop nearby. The ops center is not at all convenient to regular bus lines. Parking at both buildings is free. The headquarters building has quite a decent cafeteria. There is a major mall (Montgomery Mall) a 10 minute walk from the HQ building, which has Montgomery Mall (a major shopping destination..) a mall food court for those tired of office cafeteria food. Downtown Bethesda, a 10 minute drive from HQ, has over 200 restaurants with a wide variety of ethnicities and pricing. The ops center does not have a cafeteria, and there is not much in the way of restaurants within easy walking distance. 

Housing in the immediate area of HQ is pricey, but gets cheaper as you move north along I-270 or east along the Washington Beltway. 

Be warned that Washington traffic is the second worst in the US, behind traffic in the LA area. Northern Virginia is also convenient to commute from, but housing there has become very expensive in recent years. Frederick is a growing area, so housing prices have gone up in recent years, but it is still inexpensive relative to the DC metro area. If you yearn for a country estate or a mountain view you can probably find a place relatively near the ops center for a reasonable price.

If you want to do some comparisons with wherever you are right now you might try this Yahoo City Comparison service and the Salary Comparison (perhaps we should do a special TPF Salary Survey by region/shop ? tell us what you think )

If you found this review helpful or interesting let us know, if there are specific things you'd like to hear about that would help you decide whether you'd be interested in taking your TPF skills there let us know that too, we'll try to incorporate suggestions in our next review.

 


Updated: 09/05/01