Here’s what it’s like to work at National Geographic. On Friday afternoon, several colleagues and I did something rare for a group of working adults on the clock in Washington, D.C.: We took a field trip. An elusive snowy owl had been spotted a few blocks from headquarters, perched—in what must be some sort of metaphor that eludes me—on a façade of the Washington Post building.
The snowy owl is one of few birds that even non-birdwatchers will come out to see. It’s not rare in its own habitat, just to lower latitudes like here in the mid Atlantic. Snowy owls spend most of their lives far north of the Arctic Circle, hunting lemmings and rodents and other birds.
In a former life as a political reporter, I used to wear a suit every day, shuttling between the dry cleaners and my office to prepare for the next wonky press briefing. If anyone were to ask how my current job is different, I’d tell them that the snowy owl is a pretty good example. At the Geographic, I’m surrounded by an entirely different breed—science nerds, the world might affectionately call them. But just like the owl, when you get up close, hanging around with people who will drop everything to go gawk at a rare owl is actually pretty cool.