Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Senate Votes "Any Distraction From Business As Good!"

Modern Business Has Way Too Many Distractions
A sign of the times is that any distraction from business is a good one. Cost be damned! Those advocating this "anything goes" attitude and who are telling management to "to get over it" have forgotten the importance of being focused on a task. This article was motivated in reaction to Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) saying recently that she is working with Democratic leadership to change Senate rules in order to allow her to bring her baby onto the Senate floor. In an interview with CNN, she said the rules governing children brought onto the floor in the Senate are "outdated" and reflect a time before women, especially mothers, could be senators. True to her pledge Duckworth who is the first senator to give birth while in office later this year has put this issue before what is important to many Americans and moved it up the list of priorities.

"For me to find out that there are issues with the United States Senate's rules where I may not be able to vote or bring my child onto the floor of the Senate when I need to vote because we ban children from the floor, I thought, 'Wow, I feel like I'm living in the 19th century instead of the 21st, and we need to make some of these changes,'" the Illinois Democrat told CNN. "I mean, this is ridiculous. We're in 2018 and we're still dealing with this in the United States of America. We're better than that. And, certainly, this speaks to the problems we have in this country with the need for family leave and certainly more family-friendly legislation in this country."

An Almost Giddy Sen. Duckworth Makes It About Her!
Duckworth went on to say that Democratic leaders in the Senate have been supportive of her effort to request an official rules change to allow any senator to bring a child onto the Senate floor within the first year of the child's life. Well, it has come to pass, Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s newborn daughter, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, has become the first baby to get Senate floor privileges. With unusual speed and in rare bipartisanship, the Senate unanimously approved the resolution crafted by Duckworth, to allow toddlers under the age of one on the floor during votes. It should be noted you only get this kind of unanimously approval or vote is when the Senate is in full pander mode.

After Duckworth made Senate history on April 9th by becoming the first sitting senator to give birth while in office. Rather than take a formal maternity leave she has decided to stick around Washington in order to be available to come to the Senate in case her vote is needed, which apparently is something she could not do unless her newborn child is in her arms. In thanking colleagues from both parties, Duckworth said in a statement, “By ensuring that no Senator will be prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities simply because they have a young child, the Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies. These policies aren’t just a women’s issue, they are a common-sense economic issue.”

Few People Work Really Hard - We Need More Focus
While many people might think my reacting with angst is an overreaction I would like to argue that this continues to set the tone that any distraction from business is a good one or at least acceptable. This is not an attack on women or new parents, animal lovers or people that love to talk on the phone, it is about work and focusing on the job at hand. This attitude that bringing your personal life into the workplace is acceptable has become all to commonplace throughout society in recent years. Articles and news stories about people taking their pets to work almost screams out and encourages other workers to ask for or even demand such a right. An article in USA Today was quick to point out that, according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.

This claim of a calming effect might be presented for any action that would allow a worker to kick it down a notch or two whether it is a longer break, midday naps, the right to do online shopping from the office computers or unlimited cellphone use. The study sited above was conducted by Randolph Barker, a professor of management, and covered a dinnerware company in North Carolina, which sees 20 to 30 dogs a day on its premises. As the workday went on, the research found average stress level scores fell about 11% among workers who had brought their dogs to work, while they increased 70% for those who did not. 

While the numbers may be considered questionable according to a 2008 national poll of working Americans 18 and older by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 17% reported their company permits pets at work. In this post, I'm using the terms "business and work" as somewhat interchangeable. 
        Work is defined as; activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a    purpose or result.  "he was tired after a day's work in the fields"
synonyms: labor · toil · exertion · effort · slog · drudgery · the sweat of one's brow. Yes, this means that sometimes it is dirty and sometimes it is difficult and often work is not always fun. That might be why they call it work!

When someone takes a job and accepts doing the work it entails that take on a responsibility to those they are working for. In the case of the United States Senate, they are supposed to be working for the American people at no small cost to taxpayers. When it comes down to responsibility sometimes life is not all about "touchy-feely" but actually getting the job done and getting it right. Sadly, most polls show the Senate and most of the people we have sent to Washington at great expense has failed to accomplish the job they have taken it upon themselves to perform. Until they are able to improve their job performance it might be best if they avoid distractions and encourage others to do the same.

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