Advice for a future regulator

WW, a loyal MR reader, emailed me a request:

My friend recently accepted a fellowship at REDACTED and will be starting in a few months. I was wondering what advice or reading suggestions you might have for a future component of the regulatory regime.

I am assuming this is not a "policy level" position.  I suggest these pointers:

1. Ponder whether you actually wish to move up into a managerial position over time.  Your job will change a lot and your headaches will increase.  Inertia will push you in this direction, but don't take it for granted.

2. Figure out in advance what kinds of cognitive capture you will be subject to, and whether you wish to fight or embrace them.

3. Watch Kurosawa's movie Ikiru, about a dying Japanese bureaucrat and his final quest for meaning.

4. Keep on reading within the field you work on.  There will be a tendency to assume you "know it all," but the perspectives of outsiders will remain valuable, even if they commit stupid blunders on some of the details.

5. If you don't already know, learn the value of ambiguity and how to build alliances in the workplace.  Many people remain bad at these skills.

What else can you all think of?

Addendum: David Henderson has more.


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