Q. I was just listening to DC101 on my way in this morning and "Tiffany" (wouldn't give [a] last name) who allegedly is a staff assistant for a Maryland representative (again, wouldn't give name), said she was hung over because her office got off [one] afternoon to go out to the bar and celebrate the beginning of the August recess. She didn't sound like she was getting up to go to the office this morning.
Are congressional offices just throwing in the towel and heading out to the August recess already? I thought it began on Monday?
A few thoughts here:
- Kudos to Tiffany for keeping the office name mum. Whatever activities take place, in-office or out, staffers should be mindful of how they’re representing their boss at all times. That means if you’re calling into a radio show (which admittedly is a bit brash), use a pseudonym and don’t bring the boss or your co-workers into it. Because as you mentioned, it can give the wrong impression.
- Recess isn’t all fun and games; there is still some work to do. Most members have district/state meetings and a lot of D.C. staff have work to do in conjunction with those visits, including travel. But the work-hard/play-hard mantra of Washington tends to be in full effect during the long stretch of summer recess. Staffers take vacation, ditch their ties and hard-soled shoes, and embrace a more casual, relaxed attitude, which often spills over to happy hours.
- If you’re going to miss work, now is the time to do it. I’m not excusing any drunk or hungover behavior, but there is certainly a time and a place for such things. And that time is August recess, when the responsibilities are minimal. It’s all about balance though.
Happy August. Enjoy! Congress returns on Sept. 9.