The learning curve for any new job is steep, but this one is particularly so. It has been awhile since I have had to walk through security to get to my office, and where I am working, we actually have two sets of security.
On my first day, I was escorted to my office. On my desk was a large stack of supplies, an employee manual, and a large stack of forms to fill out. I was told to please start reading. By noon I had my computer identification and by 2pm that day, I had already been given my first task of reviewing testimony of a high-level official in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The rest of the week has been somewhat quiet, although I have enjoyed having the time to get "up to speed" on a variety of issues - Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, Follow-on biologics, Tobacco regulation, etc. Being effective in this position requires one to not only have breadth but also knowing a lot of detail about how the programs are administered. One has to be able to switch gears very quickly. The pace is much, much faster, and as one outgoing senior staff put it, "you are teaching first principles, not running complicated econometric analyses."
I have now had the opportunity to meet and interact with Eddie Lazear, the Chair of CEA, Donald Marron, the Member, several other senior staff, junior staff, and the permanent office staff. There is a culture of mutual support and teamwork here. The staff eat lunch together and knock on each other's door when there are deadlines to meet. I have found them to be some of the nicest and smartest people.
On the personal front, I'm eagerly awaiting Craig's and Sarah's arrival next Saturday. It will be great to finally be together again and start our DC adventure together.