Perspective: Government Shutdown

I am a federal employee.  My coworkers and I are the program managers for the in-service aircraft carrier fleet.  Certainly sounds important but we are also considered “non-essential” during this government shutdown meaning we can’t go to work and we aren’t getting paid.

So, I’m not “technically” unemployed…I’m not “technically” fired either…BUT I’m also not working nor am I getting a paycheck.  So what exactly is my employment status?

I could go out seeking a temporary job but what am I supposed to tell a potential employer?

Yes, I would love to come and work for you BUT as soon as the government wants me back I have to leave immediately.

I have a pretty good idea how the rest of that interview would go.  Even if I were to find someone who would bring me in under those circumstances I wouldn’t be anywhere close to matching my lost income because, after all, it would be a temporary position.

At this point there is no end to the government shutdown in sight and, as the primary wage earner in my home, I now have the responsibility to work out what I’m going to do to provide for my family.  Collect unemployment?  Seek out temporary jobs?  Try some freelance work?  There are always options but no matter the direction I go I’ll only be able to slap a band-aid on the problem until I’m either back to work in my government position or I find another full-time job.

It’s inspiring to listen to the news and hear how the government shutdown is having little impact.  I’m glad because otherwise I might wonder what I’m going to do to put food on the table until I’m allowed to go back to work.  Seems to me that this shutdown is actually a risk for loss of my security clearance…after all, you never know what I might do to feed my starving family.

Regardless of your position on the Affordable Care Act I would hope that you recognize that our representatives in Congress are more interested in furthering their agendas than they are about any particular segment of the population.  They intentionally take actions that will divide us as a nation so that we can never develop the mass public opinion needed to force them to do the people’s business.

The framers intended for government to answer to the people however our government currently keeps us divided and focused on “shiny objects” to distract us from what’s really happening behind the scenes.  The result is that we’re never capable of organizing and making them to do what they’re supposed to do because we’re always too busy lashing out at one another.

I do not want the government running my life.  I don’t want them to tell me what kind of insurance I have to buy…it’s none of their business.  I don’t want them telling me how fuel efficient my car has to be or anything else that isn’t specifically called out as a federal responsibility in the Constitution.  I don’t want them reading my email or listening in to my telephone calls.  These issues are all just distractions that our government uses to divert our attention from the “deal-making” that goes on in Washington.

Our representatives need to realize that the “Good Idea Fairy” never comes with a checkbook.  Good ideas always seem really great but, if there’s no money, then the good idea needs to wait.  In my house, a new good idea has to be balanced with the old good ideas already in the budget and, if the new good idea is good enough, then we drop a previous good idea to support the new good idea.

Our Representatives need to stop coming up with new ways to spend new taxes and learn to be responsible with the taxes their already collecting.  A new good idea on how to spend our money should be delivered with a list of things that have to be dropped to support the new good idea.

Individual calls and letters to our representatives seem to have little effect because ultimately they don’t care about us individually.  Individually “I’m” not part of their agenda.  Collectively we can do great things but we all have to get involved.  Call, write, and email on a regular basis and tell your Representative where you stand. Hopefully you’ll be telling them to (1) stay out of your life and (2) stop messing around and get back to work.

In the meantime…



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