Many people who do not work in the government – though they may have some background in government work, like Mark Weinberger does – have to work with government officials almost every single day. These people may be part of corporations that deal with investments, taxes or business proposals. The corporations are independent and have clients of their own, but they still have to communicate with the government because things like tax laws and regulations have a big impact on both the corporations and their clients. It can be a challenge to work with the government, however, which makes this type of a career very demanding.
One challenge is just that government officials are constantly very busy. They have to deal with other corporations of the same magnitude, with other government officials within the same organization and with the governments of other countries. They have a lot on their plates, and they have to balance what time they have between these different outlets. Just finding the time to meet with them can be hard, and people who are trying to set up these meetings have to be rather flexible if they are going to make it happen.
Another challenge is that the government does not always have the same end goals as the corporations. For example, they may be interested in implementing new taxes because they need more money for spending on foreign wars. The corporations, on the other hand, do not want higher taxes that are going to reduce their revenue. These two sides are at odds, so the meetings are often about trying to figure out if there is a balance. This can be hard because the government ultimately has the final say, but someone who is working with them needs to know how to present an effective pitch to show them what the laws should look like if they can be fair to both sides.
On top of that, there is the issue of bureaucracy and the many levels of it that you have to get through if you are trying to communicate with the government on the whole. You could have a meeting with one person who likes your idea and sends you on to the next person, but they will have no idea what you are talking about. You have to make the pitch all over again. When you are done, they may send you on to someone else.
This is not like working with another company, where you can just go right to the top and meet with the CEO. You have to get through these different layers, and communication is not always the best between them, so you may end up repeating yourself a lot. You may feel like you are fighting the same battle over and over again. In the end, perseverance and patience are the two things that you need the most, the two things that can get you through.
As you can see, this can be a difficult job, but there are those who do it well. They have learned the ropes and they know how to be heard by the right officials. Often, training within the government itself can help them. This experience can give them insider information about how things work and what they need to do from the outside.