The perfect government job title: shutdown starter/fixer

One of the major complaints aimed at government workers, aside from being overpaid and underworked, is that feds are virtually fire-proof with life tenure through good times and bad — plus, super-good pensions.

That is, unless they work for the FBI and run afoul of their boss, or his boss.

Many government jobs are similar or identical to jobs in the private sector. Take me — please.

I came into work Monday with some definite plans for a Friday event. Friday, like today Friday. But my end-of-week plans did not involve maybe coming to work so that I could tidy up my office, which could take awhile, then being told to go home. And wait for further instructions.


It did not involve being asked to stay (without pay) because I am essential. Groan.

Or the bosses could have said, “Okay, Mike, your work here is done. Go home and await future instructions. You my be out awhile. And you may get paid — late. We’ll get back to you on that. Anyhow, you are not quite as essential as maybe you thought.” Double groan.

Fortunately, we do not do stuff like that in the private sector.

Feds may well dodge the shutdown bullet this time. But there have been two others just this year — brief, as it turned out. President Donald Trump said he welcomed at least one of them. Democrats and Republicans in Congress continued to play chicken instead of passing budgets and appropriations.

Still, like many things in government, it could have been worse. Because it has been worse in the past. Feds and the nation suffered much longer shutdowns during the Clinton administration. People got paid for their enforced idleness. But often late, creating a major financial hardship for many workers and their families.

Most contractors weren’t paid. During the Obama administration there were furloughs without pay, which cost some employees 20 percent of their income. The furloughs were the result of the White House’s “sequestration” rules which, officials said at the time, were designed to avoid shutdowns.

If you are confused it means you have been paying attention. Congress is moving slowly — the operative word is slowly — toward a compromise that would avoid shutdown number three for 2018.

The difference between your job and my job here late Thursday is that I know I will come to work tomorrow, do my electronic time card then, when-day-is-done, head home. You on the other hand may come into work wondering if it is for a full day, or just long enough to batten down the hatches, then go home and await further instructions.

Even though they cause each shutdown, members of Congress — all essential — will continue to get paid so they can solve the problem they caused. Like a pill or diet that both causes and cures heartburn.

Not bad for government work!

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Amelia Brust

March 23 is National Puppy Day, which was started in 2006 by writer, interior designer and photographer Colleen Paige. The latest purebred dog breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club are the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the Grand Basset Griffon Vendée, but the Labrador Retriever remains the most popular breed in the U.S.

Source:, American Kennel Club