In all the hoopla surrounding the election of our next president, it occurs to me that what Barack Obama won is a job. The world’s most powerful job, yes. But it’s a job like yours and mine. He’ll wake up in the morning (even after a 3 a.m. call on a red phone), get dressed, eat breakfast, and go to work. Just like you and me.
He’ll get paid, just like us (not that I make what he does: $400,000, says Wikipedia). He faces possible unemployment, though not for another four years.
I’m being facetious because, of course, his job is nothing like yours or mine. Every move he makes will be dissected and assessed; every decision will have impact. Every meeting will have a point, and its outcome will actually matter. He won’t have to attend sales conventions, cold-call clients, read trade magazines, write a company blog.
But maybe I’m wrong about that. The more I think about it, the more the highest office on Earth looks a lot like yours and mine (if the U.S. President cold-calls Putin, though, I’m guessing Putin picks up). The trappings, though, are different, and I hope that as Obama steps into that elliptical office, he won’t forget what it’s like to juggle a pressing deadline and an exploding furnace and a no-show babysitter. I’m hoping he’ll think about workers facing layoffs and crushing mortgages and medical bills we can’t pay. Because the president’s job is ultimately to listen to us.