Imagine you're a CEO hired to turn around a large, money-losing company with $14 trillion in debt, annual revenue of $3 trillion and a customer base of about 325 million people.
You've just signed a four-year contract, and your immediate task is to hire a new management team of more than 4,000. And you've got 90 days before your first day on the job.
That's roughly what President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team have been up against as they scramble to create a new administration to oversee the U.S. government, an enterprise with more employees that the top Fortune 500 companies combined.
So far, Trump has named all but four of his choices for Cabinet-level positions. That seems like a good start.
But with just one month left before his inauguration, the transition team will need to step up its recruiting to fill a long list of positions in a very short time, according to Max Stier, founding president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that advises incoming administrations.
"Those (Cabinet nominations) are one-offs," he said. "In order to get your team in place you have to be presenting slates of candidates."
Trump could decide not to fill appointments he's been given since he's promised to cut the fat out of government. But he may not be able to go as far as wants since thousands of so-called career appointments are beyond his reach.
The full slate of top government jobs up for grabs is published every four years in the so-called Plum Book, named for the volume's purple cover. Of the more than 8,300 jobs listed in the latest edition about half are "career appointments," over which the incoming administration has only limited discretion.