If you live, work, eat, buy groceries and have monthly rent or mortgage payments to make in central Florida here’s hoping you are with the U.S. Postal Service, or the Department of Veterans Affairs, IRS, Social Security Administration or the Agriculture Department.
Disney, one of the largest employers in the area has, or until recently had about 70,000 people on the payroll. Most of the jobs are and were relatively low-paying but at least they paid. Now, not so much. The newly furloughed Disney workers in the Orlando area are among the 100,000 laid off by the entertainment giant because parks are closed due to the coronavirus. People can’t gather in large groups and, even if they could, many of them don’t have the money, as they’ve been laid off, too, to afford a ticket to Disney World. Or to anywhere else, for that matter. What they do have in Florida is, maybe, a shot at getting $275 a week in unemployment benefits for 12 weeks.
The same situation is true in Huntsville, Alabama; Sandusky, Ohio; Ogden, Utah; Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Seattle — you name it. Millions of Americans — a record number — no longer have jobs because the places they worked for no longer have paying customers or clients. The name of the game, if you want to have a paying job, is to be with Uncle Sam. A federal installation — a VA hospital, military base, IRS or Postal Service center, national park or federal prison — is often the primary economic engine in many communities that, until times like this, sort of take them for granted. Or wish they weren’t there, or at least so close.
But that was until times like this. And if they don’t work for the government they may be, like us here at Federal News Network, among the American workers who depend upon in whole or in part serving, entertaining, moving or helping people who work for the government.
Most unemployed people either don’t have or quickly lose health insurance, which is not a good thing during pandemic. Whatever your motives or reasons for going into government, either as a stepping stone or a career, your choices are looking good. Disney is a great place if you like entertainment businesses, want to learn marketing or like dressing as Cinderella. But for job security always go with the company that both prints, then collects, money. And has a monopoly on it. Now that is a business plan: Print currency, collect same, repeat as necessary. That is a business plan.
Once this pandemic appeared on the scene businesses everywhere have been closing. Some temporarily (we hope) but many, sadly, probably forever. Congress passed a 900-page bailout bill in March, aimed at helping small businesses keep people on the payroll. That included the hard-hit restaurant industry, especially mom and pop operations that run on shoe strings. The problem, as happens with stuff coming out of Washington, is that the big players like Shake Shack, Potbelly and Ruth’s Chris Steak House got in line and got a chunk of the $349 billion fund which was empty by mid-April. Shake Shack has since asked to give the money back, but you get the idea.
Nationwide Disney is laying off 100,000 people. As of last week 8 million restaurant workers have been fired or furloughed. Newspapers and TV stations, because of a lack of advertisers, have either cut staff, or services. Many print organizations have started skipping publication, relying on on-line only. Local news, which was already in decline, has suffered badly and almost certainly won’t recover once this is over. That’s bad news for all of us.
Bottom line these are bad times. Maybe they’ll get worse before they get better. So keep doing what you are doing, and pat yourself on the back. In addition to doing a very important, maybe dangerous job, you also made the right career move. An increasing number of people can’t say that.
Nearly Useless Factoid
By Amelia Brust
For over a century the annual “lluvia de peces” or “rain of fish,” takes place in May or June in the Honduran city of Yoro. Hundreds of fish rain from the sky after severe thunderstorms. Some think it’s due to waterspouts that carry the fish, but in the 1970s a team of National Geographic scientists reasoned the fish are actually forced above ground after the heavy rains.