And you can't leave until and unless you collectively make the hundreds and thousands of serious decisions that need to be made.
And for this privilege, you go without a raise for 22 years.
We complain aplenty about the legislative process and players. We compare it to sausage-making; lambaste the sausagemakers; and perpetually threaten to throw the bums out.
What's more, compared to all the cajoling and complaining that goes on during legislative sessions, there's little gratitude after the fact.
So now that the session is behind us, this citizen is writing to say thank you to Indiana's legislators.
Thank you for sacrificing time with your families, your personal interests and your regular jobs to serve the public.
Thank you for putting up with the name calling and (in a few sad cases) even death threats from uncivil partisans.
Thank you for subjecting your left and right arms to so much twisting.
Thank you for putting your hearing and nerves at risk from so many folks shouting at you.
Thank you for weighing the disparate interests of our state and her people and trying to strike some reasonable compromises.
Thank you for protecting the civil liberties of each and every one of us from the occasional tyranny of the majority.
Thank you for protecting the health of the many from the risks imposed by the uncivil few.
Thank you for providing a safety net for those who struggle to provide for themselves.
Thank you for investing in our economy so that more of those who struggle might someday be able to fend for themselves.
Thank you for phasing in (vs. piling on) the ever-increasing costs of citizenship.
And yes, thank you for giving the 2009 legislature a much-deserved raise-the first in 22 years.
In short, thank you for being public servants. You make a decisive difference.
Hetrick is chairman and CEO of Hetrick Communications Inc., an Indianapolis-based public relations and marketing communications firm. His column appears weekly. To comment on this column, go to IBJ Forum at www.ibj.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.