Washington (CNN) – It was a moving day deadline for members of Congress who won't be coming back in January, and most seemed to be meeting Wednesday's timetable to pack up their prestigious offices and move to relatively humble cubicles to finish their final days on Capitol Hill.
But some are finding the temporary quarters a little demoralizing as staffers try to complete legislative duties from cubicles and banquet tables set up in the Rayburn Office Building cafeteria. Others are relegated to spending their December days sharing big, empty hearing rooms.
"I don't want to say it's a little depressing, but you have your one office space, your one chair and your one phone, so it's uh, you definitely feel like you're on your way out," said Matthew Garnier, a staffer with Rep. J. Gresham Barrett. The four-term Republican lost his bid for South Carolina governor and is leaving Congress.
Others said it doesn't matter where their workspace is located, that they still have a job to do. Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who is staying, visited with a departing colleague, California's Diane Watson, one of about 70 House members moving on.
Slaughter told CNN "Look, it doesn't matter where we sit. What matters is what we do, and how we represent our people in the country. We all know that."
On the other hand, there's a certain amount of multi-tasking underway as staffers take advantage of their remaining time on Capitol Hill to plot their future career path. Garnier told CNN that "in between issues, people are very much looking for other jobs," he laughed, "I mean, wouldn't you? Come January most people here are unemployed if they haven't, so, yes, it's a simultaneous policy and job search.
And Garnier emphasized there's room for both, saying "just being on the way out doesn't mean you can't focus on where you need to be."
Meantime, as part of a traditional post-election shuffle of assigned offices among members of Congress, staffers are marking certain furniture, chairs and decorations to "save" for those claiming the space of those departing.