Frustration With Congress Reigns Supreme: Bring on the Midterms

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

The Congressional Management Foundation released a report in September of 2013 outlining findings on job satisfaction in Congress. This is admittedly a particularly ironic set of data to examine given the unfriendly political sentiments being directed at the legislature across the country right now. But it’s interesting to consider the positive numbers shown in this report — older data from 2011 — and reflect on just how much they’ve likely changed given ineffectiveness and general commentary from members of Congress in the last year.

The report showed that, generally, congressional staff tended to show more positive work satisfaction than average U.S. employees, though interestingly fell short when asked if they felt continually “plugged in at work” as though “always on full power,” and when asked if they are “almost always completely focused on … work projects” while at work. One of the most positive engagement behavior statements reported from congressional staff was in overall agreement with the statement that, “My office never gives up” — ironic, given the stubborn head-to-head opposition that led to the standoff two years after this report was made.

“At first glance, Congress is not an attractive place to work. Staff typically work exceedingly long, unpredictable hours that leave little time for outside activities; receive lower pay than both private sector and federal executive branch staff; work in cramped quarters with no privacy; exercise minimal control over their work schedules; and have virtually no job security,” reads the organization’s report from back in 1995. Since then, and since even the 2011 data was gathered, it’s safe to say we can now add “everyone hates you” to the list of negatives. Hyperbolic perhaps, but polling data over the course of the last year seems to suggest hyperbole isn’t far from the truth — as you can see from Now This News’ “DC Mean Tweets,” or other manifestations of the public’s irritation like “Drunk Dial Congress.” So, given the last few years, it’s interesting to consider how frustrations within Congress have built.

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