Thursday, October 03, 2013

Government Shutdown Party Time

I don't talk about my job here much, but with this government shutdown and all...let's discuss.

"So, I think you're some kind of government contractor or something, right? Like, EPA or something?" Yep. Amber, too, although she works for a different company and does different types of work than I do. I know Edward Snowden has given government contractors a bad name and all, but in fact, most of us are not traitors. In fact, I think we're pretty cool.

"So...goverment shutdown. Are you still working?" Yep.

"Are you still getting paid?" Yep.

"What about your government clients?" They're all on furlough. In fact, it is illegal for my clients to even so far as check their work email during the shutdown.

"Wait...how does that work? How come you get to keep working, with pay, and your clients don't?" Beats me; I just do as I'm told.

The serious answer: some of the contracts / work assignments we work on have been deemed "essential", and that's what we've been working on this week. But, I guess the EPA personnel themselves are not essential? I don't know. Some of our contracts / etc, we have been ordered to stop working on for the duration of the shutdown. But, we can still work on some things.

"Okay, so...your clients, a.k.a. the people who give you work, are out of the office, and can't even send you emails. How do you know what to work on?" They gave us a bunch of new work right before the shutdown, in anticipation.

"What if you have any questions about those work assignments?" Too bad. We're on our own.

"What if the computer systems crash? Are the people who monitor the computer systems on furlough, too?" Yep. So, if the computers crash, we're SOL, as they say. But, so far, so good! (knock on wood)

"How much work did your clients give you before the shutdown?" Hmm...about a week's worth? Maybe a week and a half?

"So if this shutdown lasts into next week, and you finish all of the work you've been given...then what?" Good question! There are little "maintenance" things we could do - file management, etc - but we can't do that kind of stuff forever. Most likely, that means a furlough day or two. Or, at least, a forced vacation day. We'll worry about that next week, if this is still going on.

"What about that trip to Shenandoah National Park you were planning to take over Columbus Day weekend? If the shutdown lasts that long, will you still go?" Well, it's too late in the game to get a refund on our cabin, so we're going whether the National Park is open or not.

So, to summarize: the shutdown hasn't really hurt Amber and me much at all, yet. In fact, I might even say it's added some needed excitement to our lives. But, from our perspective, it'd be kind of nice if they reopened the government within the next few days.

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