Tag: federal employees

“Well you’re gonna get paid back…”

backpaySince being directly affected by the “partial” government shutdown, I have been furloughed and will miss my second paycheck this Friday.  I have heard people who are not affected and have no clue what it is like make the comment:  “Well you’re gonna get paid back…”

Clueless.

Yes, we are supposed to get paid back but you still have to pay the bills when they are due and contrary to what they are saying, you can’t negotiate with your bills to wait or delay payment with everyone.  Coming up I have the water bill, mortgage, HOA fees, electric bill and car payment due.  The only “break” they are giving government employees affected by the shutdown is the normal “grace period” you would get anyway.  No special treatment or circumstances because of the government shutdown.  Even my credit union said that they would not give me a break of my credit card bill.  “After the 10 day grace period, it will be sent to collections and affect your credit report.” is what the customer service lady told me.

Nobody tells you about this on the news.

“So, take out a loan?”

Okay, when you apply for a loan they want to know if you are getting a paycheck.  See how easy it is to get a loan then.  If you do apply for a loan then how are you going to pay the first loan payment?

Nobody tells you about this.

And if you do get a loan, how much are you going to get?  With no end to the government shutdown in sight, you are just taking a wild guess on that amount.

The comments that government officials make on the news shows how they have absolutely no clue on what is going on here.  How could they?  They are getting paid.  Most of them are rich and have more assets than the 800,000 that are being held hostage.

One of these brilliant millionaires suggested that we barter with our landlord to pay the rent.  Are you serious?  We don’t all have landlords and this isn’t feasible for those of us with mortgages.  What century are they living in?

Today Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says that he doesn’t understand why furloughed workers are using food banks.  This is a joke right?  He doesn’t understand?  How could he when he’s getting his paycheck?  He went on to say that it should be no problem for us to get a loan and while we might have to pay a little bit of interest.  Little bit?  Let me see, maybe he considers 10-12 percent a “little bit” but when your paycheck is being withheld, even when we get paid back, we are going to have to pay MORE than we are getting back to repay this loan.  They aren’t paying us back with interest.  So why are furloughed workers going to food banks?  When you are in this situation, you have to do what you have to do to survive this crisis.  If the bill collector refuses to give you a break on your bill then you pay it if you can out of your grocery money and take advantage of whatever is out there.

White House Economic Adviser, Kevin Hassett, suggested last week that we are better off because we don’t have to use our vacation days.

Let me assure you that this has been no vacation.  On the days when I haven’t been called to work, I have sat at home because I don’t want to go out and spend any money.  It’s a solitary confinement as I stress about how I am going to pay the bills when the money runs out.  No, it isn’t a vacation and I definitely don’t feel like I am better off.

Call your elected officials?   That’s what they tell us to do.  Do you know what you get?  You won’t talk to your Congressman or Senator, you get an intern who takes the call and gives you the canned statement they have been told to say.

So what else is happening during the shutdown?  I can’t contribute to my retirement and I can’t pay my health insurance payments.

And when we do get paid back, we will get taxed MORE.

I certainly don’t feel like a patriot.

Advertisements

What It Means To Be Furloughed

nonessentialI’m not happy right now. I just got the notice that I have been furloughed. Thanks to the standoff between the President and Congress over funding for the wall, my paycheck is now being held hostage.

Most non-government folks don’t know what this means, nor do they really care.  The common thought from the public is that all government employees are overpaid and lazy. While that is true in ANY business, that’s not true for most of us who take pride in our jobs and what we do for the American people.   Also, just because we work for the government it doesn’t mean we take sides either.

So, it doesn’t matter to me if you are a Trump supporter or anti-Trump, this government shutdown truly affects normal, hard-working people, not the politicians who will still get their paychecks while those of us in the trenches of the government workforce have to stress over paying our bills.

I have been a federal employee for the past 35 years which includes eight years of military service.  When these government shutdowns happen, it is quite stressful and very frustrating for me.  First, the bills still have to be paid.  Although they have paid us back in the past there is never any guarantees that will happen.  I don’t know many people who can afford to miss a paycheck or have it delayed when you have bills coming due at various dates of each month.  Second, even though the general public is told that the government is “shutdown” there are still people working.  Agencies determine who are the “essential” and “non-essential” personnel.  Today I have been put in the “non-essential” group and thus I am not allowed to go to work.  The frustrating part of all of this for me is that the people who are working are creating more work for me to catch up on when I return.  My work doesn’t get done because I am furloughed.  My feeling is that if the government is shutdown it truly needs to be shutdown and NO ONE should be working unless it is for safety or national security reasons.

The last time I was furloughed, I was told I was non-essential until the work started piling up and then my supervisor said I needed to come it to handle the workload.  Well, that’s a bit hypocritical don’t you think?  I am non-essential until the workload piles up and then I become essential.  And the folks that have to work during the shutdown usually won’t get any more pay than those who are not allowed to work.  That isn’t much fair either.

I don’t like this whole government shutdown tactic politicians use.  Never have.  There should be a way to get things done without punishing hardworking employees that truly work and do their jobs.

Most of the general public don’t care that people like me have been furloughed.   They are quite critical about it and truly don’t understand the situation.  Believe me, I’m not asking for sympathy.  I just want to go back to work and I’m mad as hell that the politicians hold our paychecks hostage during these times. The shutdown hits people like me pretty hard.  While roughly 800,000 government employees are set to be affected by the shutdown and likely won’t see back pay until after it’s resolved, another subset of contractors isn’t going to be paid at all. As many as 2,000 subcontractors in federal buildings including janitors, security guards, and cafeteria servers are not only experiencing a sharp break in their work schedules, they also won’t be compensated for this pause.

As for members of Congress, they will see no breaks in their pay whatsoever. Unlike other government employees, they won’t even have to rely on back pay because their salaries are written into the Constitution and will be continuous throughout the shutdown.

And that’s fair?  So how are we – the average government worker – responsible for this shutdown?  Shouldn’t the ones would caused the shutdown be more directly affected?  This doesn’t make sense to me.

I hate being a pawn in these political standoffs.  I have a mortgage to pay, Christmas to pay for and bills that won’t understand that my paycheck may or may not come.  Honestly it often seems that politicians don’t think very much of us.  They all seem to buy in to the myth that we are all overpaid and underworked.  Most of us take pride in our jobs and do it regardless of whether our leaders are Republican, Democrat or any other political party.  We do our jobs to support our country.  We work for the American people.  The taxpayers (including me) pay for our salaries and most of us do it with integrity.

It’s frustrating to constantly be put in the this situation.   Last time it was about funding the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and this time it is about the wall.  It will be about something else next time.  It really gets old and wears down the federal employees who just want to do their jobs.