If there is anything that scares some folks more than a Friday the 13th, it’s Jan. 20 every fourth year. That’s either when we inaugurate a new president or swear one in for a second and final term.
The person scheduled to take the oath next Friday isn’t the one most experts in the media and academia expected. Or liked. Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to get the nomination over people like Jeb Bush, or Marco Rubio or Rick Perry. At least Perry went on to “Dancing With the Stars,” which is maybe second best to being POTUS. Also, Trump, with the hair and the tweeting, wasn’t supposed to beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But it happened. And since it did, the people who got it so wrong for the past year are now confidently writing (and tweeting) and broadcasting what things (mostly bad, definitely stupid) will happen to America in general and your (and my) sub-group in particular. Given their track record, their past performance on the subject of Trump, you could probably get a better (as in more accurate) forecast of future moves by flipping a coin.
There have been numerous reports that the federal workforce, especially here in Washington, is trembling in its flip flops. That people are considering resigning, moving, whatever to escape the coming Inquisition. According to them, despondent bureaucrats fear a pay freeze (like the last three under our outgoing president), a crippling hiring freeze and complete rewrite or civil service job protections and rules. OR NOT.
In yesterday’s column, I, as a survivor of too many inaugurations, humbly suggested that every time you read a horror story about what President Donald Trump MIGHT DO, you tack on two magic words — OR NOT — at the very end. It could do wonders for your blood pressure. And it could make you right at least as often as the pundits who nearly all got it wrong, not once but twice.
Anyhow, lots of “fearful” feds responded and turns out they are not fleeing the country, not leaving their jobs, not resorting to pills or booze to ease their supposed pains. Here’s what they’re saying:
“So, Mike, if these horrors do transpire, forget the ‘or not’ for the moment. Who exactly do these people think will want to work for the feds? If they take away the things that make it a good place to work, I think there will be few takers. I got my fed job 20 years ago as a single mom. I came from journalism and book publishing. It was a tough psychological shift, but I would remind myself regularly that I would not walk in one day to a pink slip, I had health insurance, and someday in the very distant future, I would get a pension.
“While working for CDC does have a strong public service component, I did not start out to be in public health.
“My son-in-law is a relatively, recently minted software engineer from a top school. He, even with all the benies in place, would not consider the gov for work — underpaid and dinosaur level of tech. The best and the brightest will be fleeing in the opposite direction in droves if any of these ‘or nots’ becomes ‘yups.’ Best (or is this now worst?),” — Not (yet) Gone With The Wind in Atlanta
”I appreciate your article on OR NOT. I do not understand this so-called ‘fear,’ or why anyone in the media is feeding into it. He was voted into office by the American people, clearly not everyone is scared. I don’t recall anyone asking how I felt eight years ago much less discussing my ‘fear’ or at a minimum how I felt. Part of the problem is this constant barrage of gloom and doom. Why? Who has the crystal ball? How about an article on positive change for the country and at the very least basic respect for the President?
“We survived Obama, we will survive Trump.” — Tracy
“Been using that ‘or not’ with every campaign promise I have heard for years. … You’re right … it helps.” — Joe Causey (Editors note: It’s kinda nice to get a fan letter from your brother!)
“Hi Mike, I am a U.S. Army civilian with 30 years of service, so I have seen my share of new administrations over the course of my career. I have been very surprised by the recent stories that describe the fear and panic among federal employees with the incoming administration. Although we have discussions among ourselves each morning to talk about possible changes that may have a negative impact on our pay and benefits in the coming years, I do not see anyone here seized in panic or coming to work in a zombie state. Love your suggestion about adding ‘Or Not’ to the end of those negative thoughts and statements. What I would say to my fellow feds is this: ‘C’mon you guys. We’re federal employees!!!! and there is A LOT of us who have weathered many the bad times, we have a lot of folks out there looking out for our interests and who will fight for us. We WILL survive. We are NOT a weak group of folks or we would not be federal employees! If things start to go too far south, our democracy gives us the power to make changes through the election process. Trust me, we can weather this storm.” — S.H.
“Thank you for your level-headed, and rational advice. Outstanding!! “— Homeland Security Mike
“I’m leaving Jan. 27. Thought about staying another year or two and I would have had Democrats won but I’m tired of doing more with less, being treated like a tumor. Looking forward to semi retirement working part time in the private sector for an employer that wants me there. 30 years is enough!” — Dave in KC
Although ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand, they do dig holes for their nests. Several times a day, they bend down to flip their eggs over, which may, from a distance, look like they’re burying their heads in the ground.