You can insult a man’s wife, ask a woman if she’s gained weight lately or remind the ticket-in-hand cop that “I Pay Your Salary!” and maybe get away with it.
But when you tell even the most docile federal worker he/she is overpaid so it’s time for a pay freeze, you’ve suddenly got a very uncivil servant by the tail.
Last month the House and Senate, by very narrow margins, defeated a plan to freeze federal pay at current levels until at least January, 2012. Many pro-fed lobbyists think Congress will try it again before the November elections.
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So what do current and former feds think about a pay freeze? You might be surprised at the reactions. For example:
“Since retires get COLAs and employees only get a ‘raise’ that usually doesn’t keep pace with inflation, December 31 is not the end of the world but the beginning. I still haven’t taken leave this year and carried 240 over from last. I have been using credit hours when I need to be off. If the IRS doesn’t have a buy-out at the end of the year for Revenue Agents (which they won’t), I have created my own. You don’t have to go to Ireland to find a pot of gold at the end of a career. These are the best of times if you have been an ant for the past 33 and you now want to fiddle with the grasshoppers.” Doug in Denver
There are more than 20 groups – unions, associations, etc. – representing rank and file feds, managers, executives and retirees. Many, if not most of them, fully expect that Congress will take another shot at a 2011 pay freeze. In some cases they concede that pay-freeze politicians are doing it out of genuine conviction that civil servants in times of high unemployment, furloughs and pay cuts should give a little.
“I know this may put me in the minority, but I don’t have a problem with this. Here in Michigan, things have been tough, especially in the Metro Detroit area. It’s hard to talk to a handful of people and not hear from most that they, or someone they know, have been hit at some level by the current economic conditions. With so many people losing pay, jobs, or even their homes, I do not see this as any type of attack or unjustified action(s) against federal workers. To me, I’m just happy I won’t be losing anything that I already have. I have a job and I am thankful for that.” Allen of the IRS
“I’m sure you will get the ‘whining’ emails from those feds who believe that we are underpaid compared to the private sector…that’s just part of the tradeoff for working for the government. If you want that higher salary, then please go to the private sector….NOW. Stop whining, get back to work and be very, very grateful for your job and your benefits. A lot of people would be happy to take your place!
“As a side note, I attended a memorial service yesterday for a co-worker who had only retired earlier this spring after 36 years of service. In the eulogy, his family praised his generosity, faithfulness and ‘when enough was enough’ attitude. The last one was specifically addressing Frank’s apparent contentment with what he had. He had chosen the IRS as a career over the public accounting arena because he valued family life more than money. His salary was ‘enough’ to give his family what they needed and they praised him publicly yesterday for that choice. I was deeply moved and humbled by that eulogy….his family obviously recognized and appreciated the fact they grew up with a husband and dad who put them first over a more lucrative career. I only hope my kids can say half that about me when the time comes!” Dianne
The TSP & Your Career
Today’s For Your Benefit Show (10a.m. EDT) should have something for everybody. Tom Trabucco will be talking about the TSP and I’ll be joining federal benefits strategist John Elliott and host (and CPA) Bob Leins to talk about what’s coming up for feds and how to maximize your career. To listen click here.
To reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota
Wearing pantyhose provides effective protection against jellyfish.
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