Monday, September 13, 2010

Wanted: President of the United States of America

I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about how people are disappointed in Obama.  Many democrats are either switching to the republican party or may not turn out in the high numbers they did for the 2008 presidential election.  (Though many say turnout for midterm elections are always lower than for presidential years)

This got me thinking.  I was recently hunting for a job and I looked at a lot of the employment ads that are out there on this great big thing we call the intranet.  So, what would an ad for President look like? What’s his job description?  Is he really doing that bad a job?

I looked it up.  Google search: President’s Job Description and you get job descriptions for CEO’s and corporate presidents.  But search for President of the United States job description and you get all sorts of interesting things.  My favorite was the job description I found at this site:  Black Dog

Presidential Job Description
Looking for a new job?  Maybe you'd like to be President of the United States.  Here's a job description in case you're interested.  Be sure to tidy up your resume before you apply!

Job Description U.S. President

Minimum Requirements:  
Must be at least 35 years old
Must be a Citizen of the United States
Must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years

Term of Employment:           
4 years, with the possibility of a second 4 years
Salary: $400,000 plus
$50,000 expenses
$40,000 transportation
free room and board

Job Responsibilities:           
Choose cabinet members
Command the armed forces of the country
Meet with leaders of foreign countries
Make treaties with foreign countries
Appoint judges and ambassadors
Propose new laws
Sign bills into law and veto bills
Protect and defend the laws of the United States
Pardon criminals
Report to Congress once a year

Doesn’t sound too bad.  Or at least it didn’t until I read this from “It has been called the most difficult job on Earth. The president of the United States is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for four consecutive years. The job is extremely stressful. Visible signs of aging usually appear within the first year of a president's term. “  hmmmm “Visible sighs of aging”?  I think I’ll pass this one up.  Besides, I have a part time job now.

When you look at the salary, $400,000 a year does sound pretty nice, but when you factor in that you’re on duty 24 hours a day for 4 years, that’s only about $45/hour.  But I guess you have to factor in the expenses, transportation and the fact that you don’t need to pay for room and board, but if you owned a house and didn’t sell it, you’re still responsible for paying your mortgage (that is if you have one).  So, it’s probably a little more like $61/hr which isn’t that bad when you think about it.  But I suppose one would have to factor in the health risks associated with this, and the relative “cost” for missing out on family time.  I’m not that ambitious.  So now we know how much money the president makes.  Roughly.

The job description above can be a bit misleading though.  “4 years employment with the possibility of a second 4 years” but only if the majority of an entire country thinks you did a good job.  That’s a lot of people to please, and my mother always said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” 

Yes, you can Command the armed forces, but you need congressional approval for any deployment lasting longer than 60 days and you have to notify congress within 48 hours of declaring war (like they wouldn’t know). Treaties can be made, but only “with the advice and consent of the Senate” with a two-thirds majority.  He can choose judges and ambassadors, but congress has to OK it.  He can propose new laws, but unless someone in Congress agrees to introduce the law, and Congress passes it, nothing happens.   Pardoning criminals… one of the few that’s self explanatory.  Reporting to Congress, well that one is self explanatory too.  Although the constitution doesn’t actually specify once a year, it’s much more vague, “from time to time”.

So, our forefathers put a lot of safeguards into this job description when we look at it closely.  It seems like there’s not much the President can do without someone looking over his shoulder or without hoops to jump through.  I think this is a good thing, and I also think we should all consider this when we judge whether or not President Barak Obama is doing a good job.  I know I wouldn’t want his job right now, but I’m still glad I voted for him.

Want to see the actual text in the Constitution?  I found this helpful on-line version at Cornell University.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Once a week or so, I go online and read blogs.  Most of the blogs I read are blogs of people I know.  It’s pretty cool to hear about what’s going on in their lives, even though we live on opposite sides of the country, or even when we live on the same side but aren’t in touch that much anymore.  I enjoy this. 

Today I was reading “Unbounded Mama” and Angie talked about new beginnings in September.  This really resonates with me, especially because my birthday is at the beginning of September.  I used to think this was a bad thing.  Growing up in New England, school starts in the beginning of September and of course with all the hubbub surrounding the beginning of school, back to school clothing, supplies, haircuts, etc.  Often my friends would forget my birthday or didn’t even realize it was my birthday.  I learned to let it go, and now if people forget, I don’t sweat it.  It has made me extra conscious about trying to remember other’s birthdays though.  I know how great it feels when you get a happy birthday from someone you haven’t talked to in a long while.  Even if that’s the only call/text/card/e-card/email you get from them every year, it’s nice to know that they remembered and took the time to wish you well.

Angie said “January first has nothing on September” and I agree, so I’m making this my new year’s celebration.  Typically spring is thought of as the time for new beginnings and fall is when things come to an end, but I think in the south it’s the opposite.  Fall is when we can finally go outside and not be covered in a fine sheen of sweat by the time we make it to the driveway.  Fall, winter and spring are the outdoor seasons here.  So different from Utah where if you didn’t ski, winter was the time to hunker down and hibernate.  Eat lots of carbs and add on an extra layer of fat under that sweater to hopefully help keep you warm.  Here, it is time to go outside and explore!  No more mosquitoes and water filled air (they call it humidity, but I think “water filled air” is a more accurate description), time to go outside without slathering on the bug spray.  Look out world, here I come!

Now let’s see, New Year’s Resolutions…
1. To eat less fat.
2. To climb, dance, love, give and write more
3. To finish my play
4. To say NO in order to say YES
5. To be more direct.
6. To go to Yoga and find my balance
7. To age gracefully
8. To drink more water.

So here goes.  This time next year I will be more… more me.  And you are invited to the journey.