A Day in the Life: Regulatory Analyst for XYZ Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C.

Published by: John A. Sautter

8:00 a.m.:  I like to get to the office early, that way if I get stuck on the metro (the D.C. subway system) I’m not too late to work.  There is usually something in my email box or on my desk from a superior or a co-worker that needs attention.

 

8:30 a.m.: Most of the people who work in my section of the building are at work by 8:30 in the morning at the latest.  Getting to work early is always a good way to start the day.  If there is nothing immediate that I need to do, I like to spend my first 30 minutes reading up on anything that may have happened in the news that might concern the regulatory work I do.  On Monday mornings, there are quite a lot of things that could have occurred on Friday evening or over the weekend...things like an important new commission ruling, or industry news concerning a large player in our sector of the economy.

 

9:00 a.m.: On Tuesdays and Fridays there are group meetings that we all attend.  We call these “docket reviews.”  A docket review concerns any of the regulatory filings that we are currently looking at as an agency.  This gives everyone a sense of what is going on.  Much of the information is confidential.  Because our agency regulates multibillion-dollar companies, decisions can have a lot of sway.  This makes any information on how our commission might decide a case a highly confidential matter.

 

10:00 a.m.: Around midmorning, typically one of my superiors will ask for some information on a case that we are looking at.  Most of the time, this can involve the rate of return that company X is looking to receive on project Y.  Since my commission must approve all of the rates that many companies set in regards to the services they provide in interstate commerce, I’m often asked to calculate rates of return given a certain interest rate on bonds or the likelihood of some event occurring.  All of this information can be important for setting industry rates for consumers.  Sometimes, the research is not technical at all but involves merely doing some reading of past commission decisions in order to find out how a case might have been handled before.

 

11:30 a.m.: My superior, who is also somewhat of a mentor, emails me to come to her office to answer a question regarding some research I did a few days ago.  Luckily, I have an answer.  It concerns a previous case that I referred to in a footnote in the memo I wrote her.

 

12:30 p.m.: I have lunch with some of my co-workers in our cafeteria in the building.  Everyone generally eats in the cafeteria as it is well priced and convenient.  About once a month I have lunch with one of the senior analysts who takes me out to lunch somewhere near our office at a nice café or restaurant.  Since it is D.C., there are good food options around town.

 

1:30 p.m.: Back to work and continue research.

 

4:00 p.m.: A senior analyst asks me to come to his office for a conference call concerning a case before the commission.  I take notes from the meeting.  I don’t say much, unless prompted by my boss to answer a question regarding something that I had done.  She lets me know when to add something by looking at me and giving me a head nod to go ahead.  Afterwards, the senior analyst compliments me for jumping in the conversation and being prepared.  It feels good to hear her comment even though in reality it doesn’t mean all that much in terms of my job.

 

5:30 p.m.: Many of our agency’s senior workers have started to leave the building.  Most of the agency staff does not stay past 5:30 p.m.  Some may stay a little later, but not much. If I need to stay to finish something I will, but most of the time I’m out of the office by 6 p.m.  Certain projects may require me to stay later, sometimes as late as 10 or 11 p.m., but that’s very unusual.