Musings of a Non-essential Federal Employee

Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash

It is 8:31 on a Monday morning, and I should be at work. Not only should I be, but I want to be.

I am, though, on an extended holiday vacation, courtesy of the federal government officials who have failed to pass a budget. Or, should I say, who refuse to.

I do not blame a certain party; only politics–politics and the inability to compromise in order to accomplish one of the government’s most important and basic tasks.

In my spare time, I’ve served three terms on a city council. We begin working on a budget for the upcoming year in July, and we make sure that it is complete by the end of September. We may not agree, but we all know that the budget must be complete, no exceptions, before the current budget expires. Streets need repaired, and the water treatment plant needs operated.

The federal government, though, no longer operates like that. I can’t remember the last time we started in October with a full year budget.

So, shouldn’t I enjoy my ‘vacation?’

I would, definitely, if I didn’t need the paycheck. Then again, I wouldn’t have this job at all if I didn’t need the paycheck.

“But you will receive back pay.” Maybe, when all of this is over. But how many paychecks can the average American skip? I have bills to pay in the meantime.

Luckily, I have some money put back. After the government shutdown in 2014, my wife and I have jokingly called our savings account the “furlough fund.” But furlough funds, like leftover turkey, don’t last forever.

At what point do I quit considering this a holiday vacation and consider myself unemployed? That’s the question. I have a master’s degree in education, but sixteen years of working as a manager for the federal government has made me a bit old for job seeking. That is, though, what I have been doing.

What would happen, I wonder, if when this shutdown is over, the agencies found that all of their furloughed employees found new jobs?  Well, someone has to be first. Now, where’s that resume?


About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.


19 thoughts on “Musings of a Non-essential Federal Employee

  1. If you can get unhooked from the machine , do it . Meanwhile, I’m sorry for the stress. We’d be in big trouble missing one paycheck. I keep hearing that they will do something soon .

    Posted by pkadams | January 7, 2019, 11:41 am
  2. Reblogged this on Cordelia's Mom, Still and commented:
    I feel I owe an apology to furloughed federal employees for being an insensitive jerk with my last post, in which I bragged about my job. President Trump says the unpaid workers “will adjust, they always adjust.” In Trumpville, I believe that means that Melania might have to settle for a $40,000 dress instead of the one she really wanted. As noted in this post from Nowhere Tribune, “adjust” means something a little different to the people actually affected by the furlough.

    Posted by cordeliasmom2012 | January 7, 2019, 11:50 am
    • Thanks for the reblog, but no need to apologize for your last post. It’s good to be grateful for your job! Mine is normally very good. I’d actually be thrilled to get back to it.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | January 7, 2019, 1:10 pm
      • I hear you. As much as I enjoyed being “retired” for two months last year, after watching my savings disappear each month I was also glad to get back to work.

        Posted by cordeliasmom2012 | January 7, 2019, 3:22 pm
  3. With all his money, perhaps Donald Trump should just buy all the land along the southern border and build his own wall. Hope the shutdown ends soon and that you all get paid.

    Posted by cordeliasmom2012 | January 7, 2019, 11:51 am
  4. I synpathise from across The Pond. I budget for the next year, not the current one as we’re on a limited income thanks to our government moving the retirement age to 66 when I had foolishly believed I would get my state pension at 60. Hubby won’t get his until 2021 and myself 2022, so we have to manage on works pensions. I am good at making money stretch, but can do nothing if it’s not coming in in the first place.
    Hope things are getting sorted for you.

    Posted by pensitivity101 | January 7, 2019, 1:31 pm
  5. Must feel worrisome, wondering how long you can keep paying the mortgage and other bills. While they have their brains on furlough in DC, your whole career is on furlough. I suspect that pretty soon a lot of people will be feeling the pain and complaining, and then one of the sides will give in, but meanwhile it must suck being a pawn in the middle of all this.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | January 7, 2019, 1:44 pm
  6. I feel your pain. Way back in the early 2000’s , my husband and I went back to school to become teachers since the jobs we had were either gone (KODAK) or going.. Guess what? By the time we finished our required Masters….there were no teaching jobs.

    Posted by Jane | January 7, 2019, 2:10 pm
    • Ugh! There are lots of available teaching jobs in Texas, but they usually don’t pay well enough to justify a masters. However, I may go back to the classroom. It is rewarding work at least.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | January 7, 2019, 2:37 pm
  7. I’m so sorry the federal government’s inability to do their job in a timely manner has affected you. If it’s any consolation, I feel a bit too young for job seeking.

    Posted by Shayne | January 8, 2019, 8:52 am
  8. I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I’m one of the lucky ones who get to keep working because we run off prior year funds, but I know how a short furlough feels and it’s awful. Can’t imagine how it feels for those on a forced unpaid vacation! One day the politicians will get their shit together, but meanwhile the ones truly hurting are people like you. I’m ashamed of our government for harming people this way and just wish I could pay your bills for you. Unfortunately, I’m a lowly government worker so I can’t afford it. But, my heart and my prayers are with you all.

    Posted by naughtyniceadvice.com | January 14, 2019, 4:54 pm
  9. I am so sorry you all are going through this. My mother has been a federal worker for over 40 years and has been furloughed many times in her lifetime. Prayer helped her get through this while raising two kids as the primary bread winner. “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:6,7) I look forward to a more competent government that actually cares about the people they serve. (Daniel 2:44) I’m praying that this shutdown ends soon or lives will be permanently ruined or lost.

    Posted by heatherjo86 | January 22, 2019, 6:44 am

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