The First 100 Hours

The Democrats in the House of Representatives are currently in the midst of their first 100 hours, during which time they hope to pass much of the agenda that they promised voters in the fall. Interestingly, these 100 hours will actually last considerably longer than a normal 100 hours. In a bit of clock management that would make every NFL coach proud, the 100 hours include only legislative hours, i.e. only the time in which they are attempting to make laws. It would be as if your hours at work only counted if you were actually getting things done.

The clock is stopped during introductory speeches, procedural votes, and, you know, if a Representative is able to get out of bounds after delivering a speech. It's also stopped whenever any member has to leave suddenly in order to run for President or something. Despite all the stoppages, the Democrats had better keep their timeouts. It would be a shame if the Republicans start a filibuster in the final two minutes, and the Democrats are unable to stop the clock.

Speaking of football, the start of the clock was actually delayed by a full day so that some members of Congress could attend last week's college football championship. Clearly, our representatives have their priorities in place. Despite this, they have had a productive first few hours, already passing bills to raise the minimum wage, to change congressional ethics laws, to promote stem cell research, and to declare that Cheney is a doofus.

While it's easy to scoff at this as a mere publicity trick, it is nevertheless an impressive undertaking for lawmakers, many of whom who are, after all, just beginning a new job. How would you feel if someone expected you to do all the things you promised in your interview during the first 100 hours on the job? The rest of us, of course, have considerably less ambitious goals for the first 100 hours of a new job.

Find coffee machine.

Tape all passwords to your computer monitor and pass resolution to memorize them during second 100 hours.

Locate supply closet, and gather a six-year supply of post-it notes just in case. Ask for a different kind of manila folders, because the ones at previous job were "more efficient."

Tell IT worker about sinister new form of spam you heard about on the local news and offer your advice on how to combat it, all while he or she reconnects your monitor which you accidentally disconnected when you moved your computer to the other side of your desk during your first hour on the job.

Import all bookmarks from previous job, unless any of those bookmarks were the reason you are no longer at your previous job.

Preserve delicate balance in office by listening to both sides of last summer's "stolen hole-punch incident."

Suggest a higher minimum wage for all newly-hired members of company.

Nod yes frequently during complex training session for tasks you won't need to perform for another six months.

Go through any e-mails left behind by predecessor in earnest attempt to learn more about the specific details of the job and/or predecessor's personal life.

Look for his or her resume on your computer. There is always a resume. Pay particular attention to how he or she describes the job, in case you need to plagiarize this for your own resume.

Learn the location of all emergency exits in the building in case job is not to your satisfaction.

Formulate a clear and concise plan for universal health care that will provide extensive coverage for all citizens in a fiscally-responsible manner -- at lunch.

Be cautious not to accomplish too much during first 100 hours, so as not to create unreasonably high expectations for second 100 hours.


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