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November 3, 2008

A Day Off to Vote? I Donít Think So!


As if my employees didnít already have enough reasons Iím supposed to give them the day off, now they want to take Tuesday off so they can vote.


Well, Tuesday, yep . . . thatís a day! Seems to me that this is what vacation days were made for Ė when you donít want to come to work, and yet work goes on in your absence.


But nooooooo! If I expect them to work on Tuesday, I am responsible for preventing them from doing their civic duty, and if the fate of the nation is ultimately stinky feces, it rests in my hands. (And would you want that in your hands?)


Iím going to take the chance. Not only am I not giving them the day off, I expect them to show up for work on time. Now, you have to understand, ďon timeĒ is a rather loose concept at my company. My definition of ďon timeĒ is basically to remind you that you know perfectly well what constitutes regular business hours. You know when clients are likely to be in their offices calling you, e-mailing you or otherwise needing you. You know how much time you need in the day to do everything youíre supposed to do.


I donít think I need to define that for you as 8:30, 8:47 or 9:03. You can figure out when it is. Thatís when you should be here. The same is true on Election Day. We still have work to do.


ďBut what if lines are long?Ē say you and my employees in unison.


About that. Do I have a conniption fit if the drive-thru line at Wendyís is backed up and you donít get back from lunch within an hour? No. Do I make a fuss when you stand in the hallway gabbing with co-workers for the first 25 minutes of your ďworkĒ day, when you could be sitting at your desk making me money? No.


So letís walk through this. Voting starts at 7 a.m. This falls under the category of You Have Something To Do Before Work, which falls under the category of Youíd Better Get Up Earlier Than Normal.


Get up. Go to your polling place. If getting there at 7 a.m. wonít leave you enough time, get there at 6:30 to get a better spot in line. Make sure your cell phone is charged. When I voted in 2004, I waited in line about 45 minutes. Letís say, just for argumentís sake, that youíll have to wait 75 minutes tomorrow. Youíll have no trouble getting to work around 8:30. Thatís not even late! Election Day might make you early. You can sit there with your ďI VotedĒ sticker and have a productive day of making me wealthier.


But what if youíre one of those Not A Morning Person people? I donít understand you people. If you hate getting out of bed so much, what difference does it make what time you do it? Youíre going to hate it just the same. But this is the way you are and I canít change you.


Fine. Voting goes until 8 p.m. Itís important to you, right? Leave work at 5 p.m. and head to the polls.


ďBut the wait will be really long then! I might miss dinner!Ē say you and my employees in unison.


Thatís funny. I donít recall that being a concern on bar night. Or when your kid had a soccer game. Or when you had to pick up your car from the shop on the way home (and I drove you there).


There is some thought that voting should be made as convenient as possible for everyone. Some even propose we make Election Day a mandatory national holiday. I think otherwise. If you really think itís a ďcivic duty,Ē then the notion of duty argues there should be some hardship involved in fulfilling it.


What youíre asking me to do is accept the hardship for myself so you donít have to deal with any. I donít think so. I have confidence in you, and Iím pretty darn sure you can handle both voting and going to work on the same day. And if thatís really too hard for you, donít sweat it. Enough other people are voting. Given the inconvenience it appears to present for you, I think I can speak for America in saying that we are willing to let you out of your duty.


Your civic one, that is. As for your duty to me, get back to work!


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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