Paid vacation

Since nobody else is saying it I will. I know the “professional/pc” thing to say is that we’re glad the shutdown was averted and we’re happy to be back at work. But honestly i’m not. Am I the only one who hoping the shutdown lasted a few days and I could take advantage of the nice spring wx and take a few paid (eventually) days off. Is that wrong?

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Not wrong at all. Honestly after all the hype was a little bit of letdown that didnt happen. Good in end but I agree – hyped up so much

Stephanie Slade

There were also some legitimately cool things that came out of the possibility of a shutdown (most notably the federal employees planning to spend their time off volunteering in the community). It’s almost a shame the need didn’t arise.

Carol Davison

I respectfully disagree Lorne. As a civil servent its my job to produce results for the taxpayer. I would have found work to do so if there were a furlough, even if on a volunteer basis. I am delighted the shutdown was averted if only so the economy was not negatively impacted.

Although the thought of visitng Granada, Spain was delightful…

Lorne W. Neff

I’m glad the economy has not been negatively impacted as well, but selfishly, the thought of volunteering never crossed my mind. I did think about getting to some yard work…and I did look up airfare to Vegas…

Yun-Mei Lin

Hi, Lorne,

I’m going to put forth a bit of a unpopular viewpoint. I didn’t feel like the shut-down was “hyped” – rather, I felt it was overly dramatized, the way oil speculators dramatize things and affect prices even when the price of crude oil hasn’t increased. I didn’t panic about the shutdown, until Friday morning. Without an agreement ready to be signed, it really looked like the shutdown was not only possible, but imminent.

For me – I got so tired of hearing all the people talking about “vacation.” Furlough is not a vacation – not when back pay is not guaranteed. Also, I know that all financial planners tell you to have three months salary in your savings – just in case. Guess what? I barely have one paycheck, if that. I’m sure I’m representing the lower grades here (I’m just a GS-9), but the furlough would have really hurt us. I “liked” the Volunteer Facebook page, but honestly, had we really gone into a furlough situation, I would have been at my local restaurants begging for a waitressing job to tide me through, despite grandiose pie-in-the-sky ideas of finishing my Great American Novel.

If you want some time off to enjoy with your kids or loved one or just by yourself to enjoy the spring – take Annual Leave. An enforced period of inactivity combined with no income is called unemployment.

Lorne W. Neff

I didn’t hear anyone talk about this as a vacation…except me! Everyone was all worried about coming back. Really? I’m a GS-9 too, live paycheck to paycheck, and didn’t give getting another job a second thought. I saw this for what it would have been. A chance to relax. How often do we get to do that? Sure I could use my 9 days of saved up leave…and I will, when it’s convenient for me. And unemployment is hardly inactive. Unless you like being unemployed? It’s hard work looking for a job. Instead, I’ll just pine for what this almost was, another paid vacation…

Carol Davison

I try to think big picture of how a furlough would impact the Federal government’s perforamnce of its mission. I know that I can’t produce results if I am not here. Although many Feds need their paychec, it is not equitible for the taxpayers to have to pay us if we don’t work. They weren’t the ones causing the budget issue. Also if we Feds went on furlough all of the businesses that are work days support would be financially damaged. There is only so much of that the country can absorb.

Ginny Ivanoff

Well, Lorne, back pay after the furlough would have been at the discretion of Congress…Yun-Mei is correct. While the entire furlough issue was being hyper-hyped in the media, I had low grade (GS 4-7 — yes, we have them still) contacting me frantic that they are a one person household or that the recession has already laid off their spose and they cannot afford to live without their pay. O, if you want a paid vacation, ask for it. In the meantime, I am looking for a good money management program to offer our employees … a lunch-time weekly series. I want my employees to have the opportunity to get to a place where they feel they have a measure of control over their lives and not suffer the whims of Congress.

Grace M Lynch

Two sides of the coin for me. I’m a GS-5 and the furlough would have been a hardship for me. Unlike many Federal employees, my job is more than a paycheck. Yes, I do need to pay the bills, but I also need a job that gives me a purpose of doing something for someone else. That is why I moved from private Healthcare to Federal service. If we are furloughed – I would be paying out of my pocket for each day furloughed. That is not a vacation. On the otherside of the coin, I’m disappointed that so many service contracts are being dumped in the name of bipartisan agreement. You cannot expect to cut the trillion dollar deficit in 6 months or in 2 yrs. I agree to over spending and wasteful abuse, but there should be a systematic way of fixing those problems without dumping the low income and low-middle class citizens into the streets and making the economic problems worse before they get better. My personal opinion, the Feds that think furloughs are a vacation – that is what gives Federal Employees a bad name in the eyes of the American people. That is the abuse we need to fix too!

Ginny Ivanoff

Helen – I concur being NAF is not a fun space and all the points you make about your workplace and the (lack of) respect you get is quite vaild. I have had Tea Partyish folks shout death threats to me for being a Fed (hasn’t been the 1st time in my career). If you are junior in your federal service (as opposed to my 27 years), I would seriously consider working elsewhere, in particular a contractor or start your own company to service the government. I expect a fierce return to the outsorucing of (almost all) federal jobs. Even if that does not occur, conditions will not be favorable in the forseeable future. Me, I am in too deep to leave now (and am working towards my post-fed career). It is a shame, for I really like being a Civil Servant and contributing in my own way to the counrty.

What is it that you do for us and think about how you can transition those skills out to another position? Part of what I do (even though it is not a ‘function’ of EEO) is help employees with their career planning. This would be an excellent time for you to redraw your career path map.

Cherie S. Huntington

I think we will end up getting furloughed at some point, feeble cost-saving measure though it would be, even if we’re able to individually choose our furlough dates. I hope people are able to plan for this eventuality and put some $ aside … Furlough via government shutdown, however, is the worst-case scenario and negates the “savings” from a furlough.

David Foster

The government has overpromised and overgrown. In order to get back to a balanced budget and even more crazy- pay down the debt, we should create a surplus. The idea that the wealthy should kick in more taxes is sort of like saying the wealthy caused this problem. Utter nonsense. But back to the furlough, I think one thing we federal employees should be willing to do is to take a mandatory furlough of say 12 days a year, spread how we like over the year. The equivalent savings in payroll is over a billion dollars. The impact to services is virtually nill as the rest of your office mates can cover for you during each brief absence. We should all be part of the solution and it should require sacrafice in order to be meaningful. Just my two cents- which is steadily declining in value!

Tommye Grant

The President’s speech yesterday included a piece about the FEDERAL government:

”If we believe that government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works, by making government smarter, leaner and more effective.”

Sounds like we are challenged to do just that, fulfill the credo of public service from A-Z, including C for compensation. It’s not what you make, it’s what you do with it. How is it that the woman who took in laundry was able to leave a million dollars to a local institution of higher learning? It is our choice to work for “peanuts” or not. Some leave for more lucrative positions, some stay for the satisfaction of that particular public service position. After 41 years, they tell me, your pension position doesn’t improve $ wise so retire and come back as a contractor and make more money doing the same thing. How callous is that? As a taxpayer, why am I paying more to a contract employee than the government employee for the same job? Leaner you say? We have an obligation you say? Good Luck, Mr. President, the buck is with you as Executive Branch Chief.


I’m a contractor and had been saying for the past several weeks that a shutdown would be a good thing, if for no other reason, a proof-of-concept in how much more expensive these delays and non-starts are over just doing the budget right in the first place. In the Theatre of the Absurd, a shutdown would have gotten peoples’ attention much more than the rhetoric and hyperbole that has been bandied about.

katrina newman

I’m with you Lorne. I was looking forward to some days off to start some spring cleaning, and a trip to Clearwater Beach. The last shutdown me and my sister who are also govies also went on a cruise!

Tamara White

I was one of the few at my agency looking forward to a couple of days. It seems like Saturday and half day Sunday (Church in the morning) is not enough time to get things done around the house. I am grateful, that it was averted because so many gov’t employees were and still are concerned about making ends meet.

Corey McCarren

I interned for the New York State Education Department while we were close to facing a shutdown and I can definitely understand where you’re coming from! I didn’t want it to shut down from a logical standpoint but there’s that part of me that still loves “snow days”.