Tag: shutdown

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.

 

 

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