Report: Congress members happy with job

March 12, 2013 at 8:47 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Members of the U.S. Congress say they're happy with their jobs, feel fulfilled and believe they're contributing to the public good, a new report indicated.

The study by the Congressional Management Foundation and the Society for Human Resource Management, released Tuesday, indicated 89 percent of House members who responded to a survey conducted Aug. 4-Oct. 31, 2011, said they felt satisfaction that they were "performing an important public service," Roll Call reported.

Asked if they were satisfied with their understanding of how their "job contributes to society as a whole," 90 percent said they were, while 995 percent said they agreed with the statement, "[My] work gives me a sense of personal accomplishment."

Respondents also said their satisfaction came at a price, reporting that their schedules were demanding and unpredictable, and that they worked an average of 70 hours a week when in Washington and 59 hours a week during district work periods, Roll Call said.

The results are based on 25 responses of the 194 House members randomly selected to respond.

Authors of the report, "Life in Congress: The Member Perspective," said it is "the first research to focus on the members' viewpoint of their daily activities, challenges, and motivations."

Those who participated in the survey represent the party, age and gender ratios of the 112th Congress, but CMF Executive Director Brad Fitch said the report was intended to be "a window into Congress."

Fitch told Roll Call he hoped the report would help people start to think about how congressional members view themselves and their work, and spark discussion about how the self-evaluations could correlate with larger questions about Congress.

"In management, we say you don't mistake activity for achievement," he said. "So here they are, putting in all this work, and yet they are not perhaps getting the results they hope for.

"They are working hard," Fitch said of the congressional members. "They are motivated. There is something not right. This report could be helpful in that, maybe it's not the motivations or the work ethics of members of Congress that's the problem."

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