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Good article about the summer jobs program here in D.C. (“Punching In,” 9/7). The phrases that hit me the hardest were these two: “‘I know I don’t want to do this when I get older,’ N’Diya tells me. ‘I don’t want to do anything like this’” and the reference to “career drudgery and frustration.”

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As a much older, unfortunately not much wiser, member of the workforce here, I found it poignant to read that remark about not wanting to do “anything like this” because I didn’t want to do “anything like” the jobs I’ve had—nor, necessarily, the one I currently have. It seems that even in the nation’s capital there is a lot of talent lying around wasting away because there is no demand for the skills and aptitudes many of us have. We end up doing dull jobs we wouldn’t have imagined taking, which hardly will pay for the houses or penthouses we dreamed of in our high school and college days.

I guess we can only hope that a program like this one will introduce young people to the reality of working life. The glamorous idealistic nonsense—”What do you want to be when you grow up?”—kind of falls away when you realize the only jobs out here are relatively mindless and boring, no matter what degree you graduated with.

Thanks again for the article.

Capitol Hill