Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Amongst The Movers: Business Suits & Blackberries

On the morning of April 28, 2010, I as a 17 year old high school student had the great opportunity to do something that people in my age bracket seldom do. Thanks to my mentor I had the privilege of sitting in on a congressional hearing. During that time and the conversations that followed, I learned a lot about the flow and actions that take place in political hearings or in the government period. Here is my account depicted in a vivid storyline detail:

I entered the Russell Senate Office Building curious as to what the morning would hold. Alongside my mentor, Curtis Johnson, the Associate Director for Governmental Affairs at D.O.T by way of FMCSA, and a team of his skilled colleagues, I felt as if I belonged, though I had no clue of what the hearing even entailed! Walking through the signature marble hallways, passing many established politicos in the process, the "feel" of business happening around me was evident. And of course strolling past the offices of officials like John McCain and John Kerry, added to my notion that serious work was being done here.

Then we entered the hall where the hearing would take place, and the tone was a little different than I expected. It was nothing short of marvelous, complete with beautiful sparkling crystal chandeliers that swayed from the incredibly hand-crafted ceiling, which was outlined with all gold fixtures on top of the famous marble that accented the entire building. The mood in the room was surprisingly calm and relaxed rather than the expected tense atmosphere. As people began to breeze in, they were friendly and smiling, laughing and holding normal conversations as if it were just another day at the office, as it was. But paying close attention, the maybe 50 people in attendance were more "political machines" than humans!

As they began to file in, so did an overwhelming slew of briefcases, paperwork and the ever popular blackberry! A blackberry was practically attached to every occupants hand as if it were a birth trait! They rapidly and repeatedly checked what is referred to in "the biz" as "cliffs", which are news articles that may mention anything about the event they were about to be in or the people involved in it. It was a scene of business people conversing and working simultaneously, but as relaxed they were they still knew there was business to attend to.

As the officials who would run the questioning prepared themselves and uttered the first words, the room of highly appointed and powerful people instantly grew quiet in respect and sat with all focus on the proceedings. It was cool to me, that a room of such important people still showed absolute respect when there was business was to be done. As the hearing started, as a "reward" for their polite manor, one of the two head of proceedings kicked it off with a joke about himself being slightly late due to a last minute hair cut, which of course lightened the serious mood because he was bald! The hearing itself entailed the safety of big trucks in relation to car accidents and driving performance and the Department of Transportation in relation to FMCSA was under the scope. The hearing was basically set on grounds of showing that progress was being made and that the job, as a unit was being done. The representative for the agency was efficient and seemingly relaxed in her performance, answering precisely and with confidence. The hearing wasn't at all times lively or even intriguing, but it was definitely serious business and every second was important. By event's end, the room dispersed with the same smiling and social people that had entered the room prior to. Both sides of the hearing seemed to be content with the flow and productivity of the meeting and went on with the rest of the day.

As the group of teammates and I exited the building I began to realize that I had just witnessed history possibly! The opportunity was a great one and I was glad to have been there. Maybe the next time I'm amongst the movers, I'll be comfortable and familiar enough really take heed to the actions of the people. Actually take time to observe and draw from the traits and characteristics that make them successful in their work and even the ones that don't. Who knows, maybe somebody I won't just be amongst the movers, but I'll have become one myself!

1 comment:

  1. I love the article. I flelt as if I wer there.