Shut it down? Right.

I work for a company called RedCastle Resources.  We do work under contract for the U.S. Forest Service.  The U.S. Forest Service is an official government agency (part of the USDA).  A pending government shutdown means the USDA, and therefore U.S. Forest Service, will be closed for business.  If the U.S. Forest Service is closed for business, that means RedCastle Resources is closed, too.

The news reports keep on saying “800,000 non-essential government employees will be on furlough should the government shutdown.”  What they don’t quickly mention is the millions of private contractors who do work for the government.  In my case, not only do we do work under contract for the government, but we do it in a federal building, meaning if a shutdown happens, they lock the front door. (Side note: I was considered an “essential” employee — even on the contract side — until last March when I took on a more management role.  I handed my emergency fire mapping duties off to a colleague and now she’s the essential employee.  Kinda funny, though; management is not essential because we all know who does the actual work…).

Today was a really weird day at work.  We were asked to essentially close up shop before we left today.  Just in case this possible shutdown 1) happens or 2) lasts longer than the weekend, we were asked to power down all electronics, take plants home, empty the fridge of any food we have stored there, and etc.  We are not allowed to take our work laptops home because they are government equipment.  The federal employees are being threatened with disciplinary action should they do any work while on furlough, even reading emails on their Blackberries.  Really weird feeling at work today.

Not all is bad, though.  RedCastle Resources offered to pay all their employees 75% of normal hours (6 hours / day) and asked us to put forth 2 hours of vacation time.  That’s a screaming deal.  Most companies will be like the government: “Sorry, the government is shut down, meaning they aren’t paying us to work, so we’re not paying you employees to not work.”  We’ll be fine.  Especially since I bet the shutdown 1) won’t happen or 2) it won’t last past the weekend.

What a mess.  On one hand, I’m glad to see someone trying to act more fiscally responsible.  However, at this point, it’s pure posturing and not about being responsible.  One example I heard today was that let’s pretend we have a credit card with a billion dollar limit and we’ve maxed it out.  The argument in Congress is basically trying to make a $100 payment to that credit card.  No dent at all.  Oh well.  We’ll be fine and I’m actually looking forward to a few days’ break.

5 thoughts on “Shut it down? Right.

  1. No shutdown. Report to work on Monday as usual and claim the prime fridge storage spots before the rest of the masses fill it up with their yogurt and week old spaghetti.

  2. At least I got of a trip to Denver! The Dept. of Interior cancelled a meeting I was supposed to be speaking at so I’m off the hook.

    Randy McKinley at USGS-EROS had a trip planned to Australia to speak at a remote sensing conference; he was scheduled to leave today. Around noon today the USGS brass decided to pull the plug on his travel. Turns out he could have gone, after all. What a mess.

  3. Right, no shut down. Yes just a little help with the debt. Remember, it is the failure of the democrats to pass a budget at all last year that has this whole thing in a mess. I heard there have been eighteen continuing resolutions that have funded the government this year.
    This is serious buisiness. We are broke, meaning bankrupt except that the creditors have not called the debt in. They will. It will be a mess.
    The failure to unfund some of the things like planned parenthood, NPR, and many other things is pitiful. And to have the dems calling repubs women killers (not baby killers, mind you) is absolutely repulsive.
    Seventy-eight billion is truely a drop in the hat. But listen to our Jr. Senator, Mike Lee. His comments about this mess are some of the most respected by many and wise that I have heard.
    I sure hope that “other day” that Obama talked about comes soon. The thing that we are doing in the moral area are terrible. Being bankrupt is one thing, but continuing to fund planned parenthood is quite another!

    Dad Clark

  4. Yeah, Jess, it is tough to face the fact that one is non-essential. At least you can cling to your memories of past essential-ness. As for the rest of us, we can only wonder if our essence ever existed.

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