Employment insurance: Look before you leap, speak, text or tweet

Unless you own the company where you work, are self-employed, are very rich or hit the lottery, have a death wish or are just really, really stupid, it is never a good career move to criticize the boss, especially if TV cameras are cranking.

Or in an op-ed in the Washington Post, the New York Times or the Butte Bugle —  if there is one. Nor is it a good idea to post a political criticism or comment about the boss on your Facebook page.

If you do that, why not include your date of birth, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name and your vacation dates and where the spare house key is hidden?

Sounding off is your right, up to a point. But if you work for the federal government, even the much-watered down Hatch “no politics” Act could cause you problems.

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Knocking the boss is especially problematic if you do it in public while wearing your company’s T-shirt or standing beneath its logo. True in the private sector, and even truer if your paycheck/retirement/sick leave and vacation package come from the U.S. government. Places like, but not limited to, the State Department, CIA, Environmental Protection Agency or even the Secret Service.

Ground zero can be Washington, D.C., or a Forest Service office in Montana. It’s the nature of the political animal that politicians — House, Senate, White House, Republicans or Democrats — make the rules, then when they don’t work out, blame the bureaucrats.

The Internal Revenue Service is still suffering over whether its Cincinnati office gave conservative groups a hard time a couple of years back. The Secret Service must be shaking its collective head over the Facebook posts of a supervisor in Denver who said she wouldn’t take a bullet for POTUS.

This week a 12-year CIA veteran resigned with a blast at the White House in a Washington Post op-ed column.

Only about 14 percent of the federal civilian workforce is in the metro Washington area. But when many people think ‘government,’ they often think of D.C. And 93 of every 100 D.C. voters supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the last elections. Nearby counties in heavily Democratic Maryland and Purple-to-Blue Virginia, where most area feds live and vote, also backed her. How many were feds is anybody’s guess. But there are reasons why so many Republicans believe that many, if not most, feds are Democrats. And act accordingly.

When Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife moved into a temporary rental in an upscale Maryland neighborhood, very upscale neighbors put out signs and went on TV to make it clear the couple wasn’t welcome.

Someone suggested there should be a sanctuary church or safe place for unpopular politicians. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, attacked because she is pro-charter and knows nothing about public schools, went to visit a D.C. public school where an angry crowd tried to block her entry.

According to some reports, mostly opinion columns, as opposed to straight news stories, the feds of Washington are in a panic. Various publications (including Federal News Radio) have put out guidance on what federal and postal workers can do on-the-job (mostly one would hope common-sense limits) and what they can do off-the-job, which is pretty much anything.

From what we are reading here atop Mount Olympus, it’s a jungle out there. Seriously? So is there fear and fighting in the streets? Or are civil servants going on pretty much as usual?

We’d love to hear from folks in the trenches as to what is happening — or not — in your office and your agency. No names, no agency (if you wish), but just a picture of what’s really happening and what people are saying . And how angry and frightened people are.

Send responses to mcausey@federalnewsradio.com

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