Sitting in an office doing almost nothing but moving my eyes and fingers in front of a computer ironically tires me out. One needs to be able to speak from time to time. I could walk over to my co-workers’ offices, chat, and see what they are up to, but that means I am not being productive.
Midway into the day my supervisor walks into my office (usually I have a co-worker sharing the room with me, but he wasn’t in today–very lonely) and, essentially, tells me to drop what I am doing and make phone calls. Not just any phone calls, but more like lobbying. My task? Find out the legislative aide for health care of each house representative–all 441. Why should I be making 441 calls (it’s actually much less because we found some of them earlier last week)? For the first time, I have reaped the merits of being a Rosenberg Humphrey intern at work. In order for a nonprofit organization (aka 501c3 in the tax books) to be named so on tax records, it must keep its lobbying efforts within the limits set by the books, otherwise it is considered a 501c4, a lobbying organization. That means each employee is allotted a specific number of hours to lobby each year–I think it’s about 10 hours. These hours are precious as NCCS could use the time to convince more H.R.’s to sign on to the CCCIA bill (Comprehensive Cancer Care Improvement Act), instead of spending time figuring out who the health LA’s of 441 representatives are. Solution? Find someone off of their payroll. Like a Rosenberg Humphrey intern. Like me, Evan. The bill is at the top of the agenda for the NCCS board of directors. We needed to shake a leg–so they shook mine.
For the rest of the afternoon from about 2pm to 5:30pm, I was calling the almost too many House Representatives asking the same thing–can you tell me who the legislative aide for health care is?–and then inputting the names and emails into a spreadsheet. I was talking to a Hill intern each time. Tedious? Not one bit. I was getting pretty tired of what I have been doing initially, drafting plans for community events, which is now temporarily put on hold for these calls.
Hearing myself speak in my office was magical–I could hear my voice box!
I was entertaining myself over how many different ways I could say farewell to the staffers on the other end of the line after they gave me the information I needed. ‘Have a great day.’ ‘Have a good day.’ ‘Have a wonderful day.’ ‘Have a good rest of the day’. ‘Have a good evening.’ ‘Enjoy your evening.’ ‘Enjoy the rest of your evening.’ ‘Take care.’ ‘You take care now.’ ‘Thank you, and you too.’
I helped myself to the large plate of phone numbers belonging to different states. I was in California for too long to no surprise, but happy to hop around at times to other states randomly. New York! Hawaii!! Guam!!! Soon, reality kicked in when I noticed the repetition of 202-225- part of the phone numbers–they were all Washington offices. No worries, I picked this little fact up after calling Alabama district no. 2.
I pleasured myself over the various attempts at customer service of the staffers on the other line when I asked who was the representative’s health LA.
“Umm…” started one girl, “I know who it is! That would be….” She was the funniest. Pat on her back for making my day.
“Thank you for calling the office of Congressman…of District … This is…speaking, how may I help you?” I asked. She answered, and added, “Thank you for calling.” Now, that’s good service.
Then, there was this one guy who was helping me to spell out a name, while patronizing me.
“That would be S-A…”, he started. “Was that S as in Sam”? “Yeah….” He elongated the ‘yeah’. Geez, speak up next time.
Another guy answered me with, “That person would be….” and then added, “She’s the chief of staff, so….” So…? So what was the point of saying “so”? I didn’t take it personally, but for the very sensitive, adding that “so” at the end could be asking for trouble.
There was also this one girl whose voice was hoarse. I barely made out the name. Being the nice person I was, I took down as many letters as I could and, after hanging up, took the liberty to search for the rest of the name through google. I had only missed one letter. It goes to show you how good my sleuthing skills have become. Poor girl. She should have taken the day off.
After making about 100+ calls, I feel like I have become a new person! Ha, no, not really, but at least a more refreshed employee. It was just the task I needed today to keep the job interesting.
I have over 300 calls to make tomorrow. I am a lobbyist! …a pre-pre junior one off the books at best. Let’s add that to my resume!
Read Full Post »