Jewish World Review August 8, 2003 / 10 Menachem-Av, 5763
Why not have a whole slew of the world's dignitaries and leaders come by to visit you?http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | President Bush is enjoying his annual one-month vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch and some folks are suggesting he's slacking. But they've got it all wrong. Bush isn't slacking. He's just doing what a lot more Americans are doing these days: telecommuting.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more Americans are working from their homes than ever before, and that is a good thing. Telecommuters reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and are able to spend more time with their children. You'd think folks would be praising Bush for setting a good example, but noooooooo! So let me offer the president some advice on how to deal with his critics:
Mr. President, I've been working from my home since 1993. Before I moved to Washington five years ago, I had a house in the country, too. My country neighbors were critical of me. I told them I was a writer who worked from home, but they thought I was in the Witness Protection Program. Though I never faulted them for being suspicious. After all, I did drive a Japanese sedan, not a truck, though I had a gun rack in the rear window.
My challenge is similar to yours. Everybody thinks that because I work from home, I'm slacking off. Friends and family call during the day to chat. Sometimes people just drop in unannounced to say hello. Sometimes I lose my head and shout at my visitors. I tell them that I am hard at work and that they should respect my time, though, I admit, my argument is weakened by the fact that I'm usually wearing boxer shorts and haven't shaved since Monday.
That's why the first thing you should do every day is shower up, Mr. President. Put on your suit and tie and dive into the day, just like you would when working from the Oval Office. Don't fall into any bad habits, either, such as flipping on "TVLand'' while eating cereal for lunch. You could get hooked on those 1970s reruns and then you won't get any work done.
I also warn you about the isolation. When I first began working from home, I couldn't have been happier. I was able to avoid office politics just as you are avoiding Washington politics. But I soon learned that, as a social animal, I need the contact of people, even people I would normally avoid.
So why don't you take advantage of the situation and invite some of your adversaries over. Heck, invite Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle down. Maybe you can get the Secret Service boys to accidentally bump him into your fishing hole.
In fact, why not have a whole slew of the world's dignitaries and leaders come by to visit you? When they come to Washington, they stay at posh hotels and eat the world's finest food. Why not set up a summer camp for those boys, a "tough-love" program that makes them sleep in the fields at night and go hunting and fishing together all day long. Then have them join you for an ice-cold beer and a Texas barbecue. Sure, they'll probably fight over the same sandwich, but it would be a start.
Another challenge you may have will be separating your workday from the rest of your day. I find myself doing work on Saturday, Sunday and into the evenings. Subsequently, I also find myself doing non-work things during the weekdays, such as taking long, deep naps. Never let this happen, Mr. President, but if you do, I highly recommend disconnecting the fax machine, as there is no more annoying way to be roused from your slumber than a fax machine ringer.
But above all, Mr. President, don't let your critics get to you. You'll be working from your home for a whole month. As I see it, you've become the spokesperson for every one of us telecommuters who have suffered for too long now. Give them hec, Mr. President. Make them give us telecommuters some respect.
And don't forget to keep your TV Guide nearby. TVLand has a terrific afternoon lineup this summer.
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