Building Resiliency During the Shutdown

GovLoop and Young Government Leaders (YGL) partnered today to talk about how to stay resilient during the partial shutdown of the federal government. Miguel Aviles, Chair of the YGL Advisory Panel, and Michelle Rosa, the YGL National Leadership Team Officer, shared the impact of the shutdown on their lives as federal employees.

Aviles, who has been furloughed, said that he has “never had so much time off in ten years.” He has learned two things: first, how to cope with financial pressure due to lack of funds during this time, and two, the fear of lack of performance when he heads back to work. He feels strongly about the work that he does, and he doesn’t want to fall too far behind in his tasks.

Rosa, who has not been furloughed, stated that she still feels the impact of the shutdown because the agencies affected provide key services and products.

“My spouse is furloughed,” she said, “and that affects the household. The ripple effects are felt all throughout the federal community.”

On techniques to stay motivated during the shutdown, Aviles stated that “the good thing about government employees is that we’re passion driven.”

That passion might be hindered by the shutdown, but Aviles urged workers to ask the question, “Why do I do what I do?” and allow the answer to fuel the passion of their work.

Rosa suggested finding organizations like YGL to connect with, especially because some aspects of federal jobs can be difficult to find a passion for. Aviles agreed that finding a community by reaching out to people and getting a meal could provide some support for furloughed employees.

There are organizations offering free exercise and meal options, along with other resources, to furloughed workers.

“I think the most important thing is to show up for them,” Rosa said of supporting friends who are impacted by the shutdown. “Treat them to lunch or coffee and offer to be there for them to listen. I think being there as a friend, as a peer, is really important.”

Aviles had to give himself “permission to pause” during the shutdown. “This shutdown has given me the opportunity to give myself self-care,” he said. “I have self-reflected, I am journaling in the morning, I am meditating, I am exercising, I am taking advantage of free time to become sharper.”

When he heads back to work, the first thing he’s going to do is to conduct a standing meeting with his team with music to pump them up. He’ll start off with a gratefulness activity too.

“Before you go to work, take some time to jot down things you want to achieve,” Aviles advised. “Set an intention and envision that first week. Envision yourself doing what you were meant to do in this world.”

Rosa warned that there’s probably going to be a backlog of work to get through.

“Give yourself time to get back to where you were,” she said. She urged federal workers to remain motivated by their mission and their impact.

“The public that we serve is so important,” Rosa emphasized.

What are you doing to stay resilient during the shutdown? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

You can find all of GovLoop’s shutdown coverage here.

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