RealJobs: Bernadette Meehan

Today I’m on the early shift, so I’m at my desk by 6:00 a.m.  My colleagues would say I’m very “Type A” (which I concede is true), and follow a strict routine each morning.  After logging on to my computer, I do a final review of all the papers I finalized last night that the Secretary needs to see this morning, including action memos awaiting her decision, information memos providing her updates on a wide range of issues, and various other materials.  I spend a few minutes answering emails on my unclassified computer – “the low side” and then I switch over to my classified computer – “the high side” to go through a queue of emails waiting for me.

At 8:00 a.m. I attend our morning meeting with the Department’s Executive Secretary.  I join colleagues from the Operations Center and The Line, and we review what’s happened around the world overnight, and what papers we’re expecting for the Secretary that day.  Following the meeting I talk with my boss, the Executive Assistant, and we run through the Secretary’s day to make sure we are all set to go.

Around 8:40 a.m. I call several colleagues in bureaus around the building to walk through some questions I have on various papers that came up for the Secretary last night.  I then turn to finalizing the briefing papers she needs for her meeting today with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, and for her participation in President Obama’s meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at the White House.

In honor of the Italian delegation’s visit, Nima and I decide we should have meatball subs for lunch, from a fantastic deli on Capitol Hill.  I round up orders from the rest of the gang, and Nima picks up the food on his way in to the office.  I’ve already been here for five hours and am starving by the time he arrives, and so my meatball sub is but a delicious memory by 11:30 a.m.  This comes back to haunt me at around 1:00 p.m., when I am again starving.  Luckily, someone made chocolate chip cookies and stacked them on the ledge next to my desk.  I eat several, while Nima nods his head at me.

This afternoon I spend some time preparing a presentation I’m giving next week at a local university.  One of the classes is taking a trip to the United Arab Emirates, and the professor invited me to speak to the class about the U.S. –Emirati relationship, with a focus on economics.  I loved my time in the UAE, and am excited to talk with these students about our multi-faceted bilateral relationship.

I head home from the office early today, since I’m having several friends over for dinner.  It’s a group of colleagues from the State Department that I served with in Colombia, and some of our Colombian friends.  It’s the first time since 2006 that we’ve all been in the same country at the same time, so it’s a reunion that’s long overdue!  Since Nima is on late duty tonight, I leave my Blackberry on the kitchen counter, while I enjoy a fun dinner with my friends!


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