Setting aside the political finger pointing, over 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, placed in a temporary nonduty, nonpay status, with the government shutdown. Workers who are deemed essential such as air-traffic controllers, prison guards and border-patrol agents would stay on the job and are guaranteed back pay. While Congress has approved retroactive back pay for non-essential workers in past shutdowns, there is no guarantee that this time around these federal employees will receive a paycheck for their furloughed time off work.
Forced time off work. No guarantee of back pay. Working, because your job is considered essential, but having your paycheck delayed. Disallowed by government regulations from working another job while on furlough? Really? Yep, sure “reads” like it to me.
Reading from the official government resource for all things furlough titled the, “United States Office of Personnel Management – Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs” employees who want to work another job during their forced time off may not be allowed to do so. As written in this document, item C,1,A: There are specific statutes which prohibit certain outside activities, and agency-specific supplemental rules that require prior approval of, and sometimes prohibit, outside employment. Read the document for yourself @ http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/furlough-guidance/guidance-for-shutdown-furloughs.pdf
Bottom line, being furloughed and stuck without a paycheck sucks!! It’s not fair, it’s not their fault, but what strategies can these federal employees employ (no pun intended!) as they try to survive not getting a paycheck? Give my list a try…
- Write a letter to your Congressman, include copies of your household bills, car payment and mortgage due notice and ask them to pay these for you. After all, they are the ones who forced this furlough upon you, yet, they are still getting their paychecks and you are not!
- Use your time off to set up a fake Facebook page where you can “Unleash your Kraken” at the politicians who took away your paycheck. Go stealth, make sure the page can’t be traced back to you, and let ‘em have it! You might be surprised at how many likes you get. At least it might help your morale.
- Park yourself outside your government building and play the beggar. Make a sign out of an old cardboard box that says something like, “Furloughed by Congress: Need money for food”. Don’t take a shower for a few days, don’t shave or comb your hair, put on an old ratty shirt and jeans and shake, shake, shake that tin cup that has a couple of coins in it at the “suits” who pass by.
- Take a cheap vacation at the expense of your family and friends. After all, you are the innocent victim here, so show up on their doorstep expecting to be housed and fed for free for a few days. This is their government too so why should you have to be the only one to suffer?
- If you want to go trailer park and cut your spending like really poor people have to do, you could reduce your spending by walking or biking or taking the city bus instead of driving; brewing your own coffee at home instead of hitting your usual Starbucks; skipping the theatre and renting a $1 Red Box movie; or eat those leftovers from the quick shop instead of throwing them out.
You get the idea. Good luck, and know that while the wealthy politicians may not be so sympathetic to your plight, the regular citizens who live paycheck to paycheck and have their own budgets to balance support you!
Want to know what the members of Congress have been tweeting about the government shutdown? “Tweeting the shutdown: A picture is worth 800,000 furloughed jobs”, as written by Joshua Tucker, shared this word cloud as a visual representation of 1200 tweets, posted by members of Congress in a 24 hour time period. Democratic tweets are in blue, Republican in red.
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