So it has been a few weeks since taking my new job at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and basically drowning in work. For the first time in my life, finding myself too busy even to eat lunch on some days. It looks like I'm the main economist for energy and transportation which means I'm involved with pretty much everything the White House is doing on those topics, which is a whole lot.
It has been heartening so far that on the whole smart policies get advocated and smart decisions are typically made. It's easy to point fingers from the outside, but I still hang on to the idealism that Aaron Sorkin's tv show exemplifies. People are trying hard, just circumstances (typically politics) gets in the way.
I miss the freedom of academia. The ability to set your own schedule and your own agenda. To wake up on your own pace, and take time off when you want. To spend your time at the frontiers of knowledge, and the rarified air of the ivory tower. But at the same time, this job satisfies always the consultant urge in me. To work on new topics every day, to be making quick decisions and to have those decisions matter. To have a sense of urgency and a sense of purpose. I expect to enjoy every minute here at the CEA, but I also look forward to returning home.