Focus, Speed. I am speed.

Posted on Monday, Aug 09, 2021

When you arrive in Washington, D.C., one of the first impressions you get is everything is moving very fast. People are walking fast, driving fast, talking fast, and thinking fast. Physical speed is the name of the game in this fast-paced environment of Washington, D.C. From running from your congressman’s office to the capital with freshly printed legislation in hand to taking down notes as fast as you can in a meeting at 2:00 PM. Only to find yourself doing it all over again at 2:30 PM for the next meeting. Life as an intern in Washington is usually fast-paced, but on an ordinary Tuesday in July, it started out resembling anything else but speed!

I rolled out of bed at 9:00 AM as usual for a Tuesday morning, I had my list on ongoing projects to work on and no meetings scheduled for the day. I logged onto my computer and immediately saw a notice from my boss that everyone would be out of the office that day, attending an important meeting.  He said that if I needed anything, to let him know. I was on my own with the day’s tasks, and I quickly started my workday while jamming to my music. Then lunch rolled around, and the world accelerated very quickly. I received a frantic email from my boss.

“I need talking points ASAP for the deputy secretary! We did not know he would be asked to speak in a little under an hour. Can you whip something up???” I immediately replied, “I am on it!”

I quickly switched to speed mode and began working to research comments from President Obrador and President Biden’s latest call concerning energy between the two countries. In that time, I then compiled what soon became a THREE page list of talking points concerning the United States’ energy cooperation with Mexico. In speedy fashion, I forwarded them to my boss within 45 minutes of receiving his plea for help. Soon after the meeting concluded, he reported back that the list was perfect and that the deputy secretary read the talking points word for word.  My research had garnered gleaming reactions from the Mexican counterparts with the added appreciation of my boss for helping him in an immediate crisis.  All in all, this reminded me of what I actually want to do in my future career.  


Zach Jones
Department of Energy, Office of International Affairs
Washington, D.C. | Summer 2021