While we all know it is not unusual for some male lobbyists to lack serious boundaries with female Hill staffers, there is a growing trend among K Streeters that seems to circumvent professionalism…and enraged me enough to delay writing a constituent letter or two, and write this.
In the past two weeks, I have been hugged by male lobbyists with whom I have no personal relationship 4 times…in the sacred confines of our Congressional office. The most recent one including a kiss on the cheek which nearly resulted in me slapping them or playing dead and collapsing on the ground to avoid contact.
If these lobbyists in fact knew me at all, they would already know that I’m not an overly-friendly person. In fact, I suffer from bitchy resting face. My BRF and I sit through a meeting with you and your client where I anxiously wait for you to ask for more federal money. You should be aware that I am half-listening while simultaneously trying to come up with crafty ways to avoid your question and convince you that my boss still cares about your issue despite not being able to fulfill this specific request.
The meeting is fine. You’ve known me for years. I probably sit down with you and your clients 3 or 4 times a year (because clearly I still haven’t mastered the art of declining meetings), so you think we have a great relationship.
We don’t. I am paid to represent my boss and take your meetings
Maybe you attend all of my boss’ fundraisers. Maybe you’re besties with my Chief of Staff or LD. Doesn’t matter. You don’t know me. I’m in my place of work and you don’t get to have personal contact with me – aside from a firm handshake.
Think I sound heartless? I’m not…always. I’ve worked on the Hill for years and mastered the art of the constituent meeting. I’ve been screamed at, prayed for and sobbed to….once even asked to feel a foam breast which was supposed to somehow help me understand Medicare coverage for a mastectomy. However, at the end of all these meetings, our passionate constituents were more than happy to walk away with my business card, a handshake and some home state treats. No hugs required
Before I request that my office post a sign in the front that says, “Please do not touch the staff!” I am going to try an “I Message” – no, not iMessage – God forbid these lobbyists start texting me…it is a technique my elementary school counsel taught me:
I don’t like it when you hug me after a meeting that you are being paid for setting up and I am being paid to take. It makes me feel dirty. Please stop.
Underpaid and Overworked Hill Staffers”