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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a furloughed, federal employee that's been sent home with no pay for a week now. I work at a fish hatchery for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, so if Congress allows for a call back piece mill, like they've been doing so far (they've already called back roughly half of the furloughed employees via the Department of Defense starting Monday), it could be a long, long time before they get to calling back fish hatchery workers, which is approx. an $11 million program nation wide out of a $2 trillion budget.

Until both the House and Senate voted a couple of days ago to pass a bill authorizing back pay once this was all over, I was panicking: both scrambling to find day work; and concurrently checking out the possibility of drawing unemployment, since my next check will be one week for a two week period, and the check after that will be non existent. After a couple of days and some other problems related to trying to get unemployment compensation as a federal employee, I'm finally pretty well set up to receive the maximum amount of compensation to help me get through the non pay period; how ever long that may last.

Here is my dilemma: So far this has been affecting me badly psychologically. I get very little comfort in the fact that I'll most likely get back pay, but at least I don't feel at extreme panic of not knowing if I'll be able to keep the lights on and food on the table. I don't feel comfort, because I want to earn my pay and don't feel like tax payers should pay me for sitting at home, even though it's not my fault.

So...should I treat it like a vacation. Get out and ride, and have a good time; or should I continue to do nothing but sit at home and wait for a call back. Half of our staff is still working with no pay, and in the end, the non-essential workers will get all the pay for no work, and the essential workers will have worked for their back pay. I'm not even allowed to volunteer.

What a mess. What do y'all think?
 

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I was a federal employee for 36 years and went though a couple of shutdowns although none as long as this. During the longest which was during the Clinton administration we got back pay but that was only for a couple of days as I remember. Many folks don't seem to understand that not all federal employees are getting high salaries. Some skill sets are overpaid and a whole lot more are underpaid compared to private industry.

With that said, I would treat this like a vacation if you can afford it. I wouldn't sit at home mulling over it - that's not healthy. Also, working without authorization happens to be illegal although I know many feds do it because they happen to be dedicated their jobs regardless of the pay issue.

Anyway, from one former fed, keep up your head up and stay positive!
 

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I agree with Cosmic. I am a Municiple Employee. When we were given mandatory furlough to help the budget and avoid layoffs I took a vacation. The difference being I knew how long ahead of time. Hang in there Greg. Do a project thats been back burnered waiting for time. Rich
 

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Sorry to hear about this sucky situation. I'd say go ahead and make it a vacation if you can. Get your mind cleared, if possible.
 

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As a US citizen whose job is in no way related to the government shutdown, I truly feel for you, and your situation. Please don't feel guilty, thinking that the rest of us out here, think y'all are milking the system. It'd be one thing if it was your fault that you're at home, and (eventually) getting paid to not be at work, but it's not. Personally, I see the fact you're going to get back pay, even when not working during the furlough, as fine. Maybe you could say f-it, and leave the gov't job, and go work for someone else - maybe not. You're being (again, eventually) paid to be in an indefinite holding pattern, and being expected to "do fine" until the bureaucrats get their act together. The least they can do, is pay y'all.

With all of that being said, given the department you work in, I'd probably play it frugally. Enjoy your time off, but don't spend any more money than you would, if you were working. Not knowing when you'll get that back pay, would make me pinch the pennies.

Question though: If you get unemployment, and then the gov't ends the shutdown, and sends you your back pay, will you then need to repay the unemployment commission?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Question though: If you get unemployment, and then the gov't ends the shutdown, and sends you your back pay, will you then need to repay the unemployment commission?
Yes; if I get back pay, I'll have to report an overpayment to the state's ui department and pay it back, but if this drags on 28 days like it did in '95, it'll help me make until I get the back pay.

Thanks for everyone's support. I went for a ride today and started doing some spring cleaning. My wife had been volunteering with me at work about three days per week, so in a way, she's furloughed as well. She has an artificial hip, so she quit working a regular job for a while. As a volunteer, she can choose when to work and what work she can handle. It's a little different as a paid employee.

I'm sort of new to gov't federal service other than military, but it's a whole lot different than the military. I worked 16 years at Lowe's and loved everything except the pay.

I really, really like the gov't program that we are involved in; we mitigate with trout to make up for the loss of native species in the tail waters below dams where the cold water destroys those habitats for the native species. It's a very popular program; we have a great partnership with the Tennessee; and it provides a huge economic benefit to fishery communities compared to the cost to the tax payer, so there is a lot of pride in what we do. But some of the ways in which a federal agency operates, does not communicate, and does not look for ways to improve productivity or manage people is a lot to get used to after being in the penny-pinching environment of retail sales.
 

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In no way, shape, or form should you feel bad. The fact that you even worry about it speaks volumes. Enjoy your time away.
 

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Go have fun! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

I have reached a point in my life where I firmly believe that having fun should be a top priority. It's not like moping will make the situation better. :)

I have never heard any retired person say "I wish I would have had less fun and worked more in my life."

On a serious note, I feel for you and your situation. I don't want to see this thread turned into a political bashing, but know that sensible folks know you are in a tough spot right now and won't hold it against you if you use the time as a little vacation. :)

Good luck to you.
 

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Go have fun and remember never vote any of the current hacks back in.
 

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AMEN to that. ALL the Knuckleheads need to go
 

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gregsfc, life is choices. sometimes we have to make new choices due to outside influences. I have seen this same question on another bike forum and it often turns into a political thread.

Most people are nice about which says good things for humanity. I don't think you have to ask what you should do. I don't think anyone should tell you what you should or should not do and I don't think you need any ones approval or disapproval of what you will do because I have found people will do what they want or can anyway no matter what others think.

Ride when you can, enjoy the ride.
 

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Greg I wish you the best of luck with your situation. I dont want to tell you what to do so I will just tell you about my history.

I have had four jobs as an adult. Three of them closed up and or moved leaving me high and dry. I did get some compensation from two of them which helped for a little while. What I learned is to take care of me, no one else out there is watching out for you. I did what I had to do which was find employment elsewhere and leave before the doors actually closed at two of those jobs.

Enjoy your bike and stay positive.

Tom
 

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Get back to work! Hope you got some things done on your break. I also hope somebody fed the fish while you were furloughed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Get back to work! Hope you got some things done on your break. I also hope somebody fed the fish while you were furloughed.
So funny! I was listening to the news on Tuesday when the Senate was working on a solution to the stand off. Two different news sources stated that we would have trouble getting through all the procedural stuff even if they voted something through that day and that we may go past the debt ceiling deadline even if the senate had pased something Tuesday night. My parents had tickets to Biltmore in Asheville. We decided that Thursday would be a good day, which included an overnight Wednesday night, and I wasn't a bit worried about being called back before Friday based on where the scaremongers had stated.

I had to call in the first day back, and I'm not one that ever calls out from work unless I'm really sick! And this was the first time in the entire furlough period that I spent an overnight somewhere else.

Anyway, I had to use a vacation day the first day back, and I'm back this morning.

We had three essential workers feeding the fish (and not much else) during the shutdown with three furloughed. But we couldn't distribute fish so our hatchery got to heavy with fish and a dangerous situation with respect to available oxygen (overcrowdedness can kill fish), and so we had to go to feeding every other day during the shutdown so as not to grow them further or take out too much oxygen through the feeding process. The first order of business will be getting rid of some fish weight and start spreading them out.
 

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How about a Friday fish fry?
 
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