Econnie Francis wakes up one minute before her alarm clock goes off. She's been able to condition her brain to wake up just before she needs to in case anything happens to her alarm. She once conducted a study on herself and found that she performs at her best just after 7:30am. In order for her to be at work during her peak hours of the day, she wakes up at 5:00am.
Her train is running a few minutes behind. Not a fan of glitches in her day, she waits at the subway platform stomping her foot. Fortunately, it's cold outside, so she can get away with this action without coming across as a total loon. She needs to be on time in order to prepare Federal Open Market Committee briefings for the president of the bank. As part of an economist team at the Federal Reserve Bank, she is responsible for helping other economists prepare briefings that may later affect monetary policy. It is her job to conduct basic research for the Board of Governors, write working papers, analyze policies, and produce economic forecasts that are used by the "Board." These Governors must get bored with some of this data. Actually, the Board of Governors or Federal Reserve Board is made up of seven members who have been appointed for 14-year terms by a president.
Most of Econnie's research ranges in subject matter pertaining to macroeconomic issues, which include economic modeling. On a given day, she might be asked to produce data on new developments in international financial markets.
On this particular day, the team is helping the president decide whether or not to lower or raise interest rates. Because their work affects millions of people, her position is high stress but exhilarating. She has to admit that she gets off a bit on the amount of power she holds.
As soon as she sits at her desk, Charles pokes his head through her door.
"Sweet Swiss cheese. I am glad to see you. I needed your presentation 30 minutes ago."
"If I give you this presentation, do you promise to leave me alone so I can program in STATA today?" says Econnie. "My work load runneth over."
"I will if you save me a seat at the lecture," Charles says. "My lunch break may runneth over."
Econnie rolls her eyes and emails him the presentation before getting to work on STATA. STATA is a data analysis and statistical software program used by many economists. The software program helps economists see how theories are applied to data. An email pops up in her inbox.
"Wow…ten-year reunion, huh?" Econnie thinks as she RSVPs her attendance. Because she's proud of the work that she does, she's eager to rub her success in her former classmates' faces. In a fun-loving, lighthearted way, of course.
Look at those sweet, innocent faces. What did you do?
Econnie earned her PhD in Economics. During her program, she focused on both micro- and macroeconomics. After working for a few banks, she secured a position as a research associate in the department of domestic research at the Federal Reserve Bank. Working at the bank has afforded her the opportunity to learn about statistical software, attend lectures, discuss economics with her team, and work on a number of briefings. These may sound boring to you, but they are anything but boring to Econnie, which is all that really matters. She would give up a night of board games with friends in favor of a lecture on monetary theory and econometrics. It's just how she rolls.
Her cell phone rings. It's her sister.
Econnie and her twin sister are not as close as they used to be. Both of them are economists, but they went into very different fields of work. This slight distinction wouldn't usually be cause for an unspoken emotional rift between siblings, but Econnie and Beth are not your ordinary siblings. Besides, Econnie is still a little jealous that Beth got a normal name while she got stuck with an atrocity.
Beth works for a nature conservancy. She spends her days drafting economic and business strategies for the not-for-profit.
"How are things going?" Beth asks.
"They’re great," says Econnie. "I’m just busy plugging away at work." She checks her watch. The lecture starts in ten minutes.
"Sorry for bothering you. I just got the ten-year reunion email and it made me think of you. We need to get together soon. Maybe we can meet up and go camping sometime when we have a break in our schedules."
Econnie sighs. Her schedule is filled up with important deadlines for the rest of the year, but she promises that they will catch up at Christmas.
Economists have busy schedules whether they are working at a non-profit or for a bank. Oftentimes, they are trying to meet deadlines so that higher-ups can make decisions before a product is released, something airs on television, or a policy is enforced.
Econnie saves Charles a seat at the lecture. She has been waiting for weeks to hear the speaker. The lecture is aptly named The Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy. She finds the information enthralling. Charles also finds it interesting, but he is hardly as engrossed as his enthusiastic co-worker.
Econnie's work performance suffers a slight decline in the late afternoon, so she grabs a coffee to spike up her productivity. Whose productivity wouldn't take a nose dive after staring at computer modeling? She doesn't love having to rely on the caffeine to jolt her into action, but it gets her through the rest of the day, and is cheaper than buying a defibrillator.
That'll be how much? Clear!
Charles pokes his head into her room, "Java, huh? I love that island. Hey, you are going to kill me but we got a late one tonight."
"Oh, I should have gone for the triple Espresso. Email it to me," Econnie says.
Econnie is asked to research the impact of current interest rates in order to figure out if they must be lowered or raised. Low interest rates mean the economy can pick up, because people can borrow money from a bank without having to pay high fees. Interest is the amount of money banks make for charging customers to borrow money. However, interest rates that go unchecked can lead to inflation. She must review information that pertains to where Americans keep their money: Checking accounts, savings accounts, mutual funds, and currency. To make a decision regarding monetary policy, she uses this information as a measuring stick to make a recommendation on raising or lowering interest rates.
The night wears on as she crunches numbers, enters data, creates graphs, and writes reports. Charles leaves a half eaten container of Chinese food on her desk. He's such a gem.
By the time Econnie is ready to go home, the subway is deserted.
"At least there will be no delays," she thinks as an intercom announces a train delay.
"Maybe I’ll buy a car in a few months after interest rates go down," she thinks as she trudges 15 blocks back to her home.