Pandemic got you down? Look around!

It’s popular, maybe even comforting, to say that the ongoing worldwide panic has put us all in the same boat. Were all in this together and all that! Comforting, maybe. Not really true. Some of us are better off — as in light years better off — than others, thanks to accidents of birth. Like our age, genetic makeup, race, location, income, family status or occupation. As in a job. As opposed to forced unemployment. Waiting for help from someone. The government. Somebody.

In fact on this particular unprecedented journey, some of us are, relatively, going first class while many more are making coping with COVID-19 are much less comfortable. And safe. Like having a job is one thing that makes an increasing number of us different from many of the folks in our same location/pool.

Many of us who have jobs have a deep sympathy and empathy for those who don’t. But for the most part life goes on and we carry on.

Government workers, at least federal government workers, are among the most fortunate of those navigating the pandemic. At least so far.

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Many federal employees are first-responders or otherwise on the frontline. Whether fighting fires, staffing VA hospitals, acting as inspectors, law enforcement personnel or TSA screeners. These are the folks that, after a long-hard, dangerous to potentially dangerous day, strip outside, then shower or sponge batch until it is safe (or safer) to join the family. Some are staying away from spouse, kids, parents for the duration. A financial and emotional burden that could last long after has passed.

But for many feds and those of us who still have jobs — again, so far — it is something of an academic exercise. We may be miffed because we cant work from home (or because we are required to telework). But every two weeks that direct-deposit is made in the form of a salary check. Plus retirement contributions and TSP (with matching employer contributions) that are unavailable to private sector types still on the (often reduced) payroll.

Tens of millions of private sector employees have been laid off, or furloughed. Many will not return to jobs as good as their pre-pandeic gigs. Many companies have suspended 401 k plans—definitely matching contribution. Many (of the relatively few still offering pension benefits) have suspended their retirement plans and benefits. For good. Work till you drop has become the mantra for hundreds of thousands.

The media—like service jobs—-has taken a big hit. Unlike the latter which may come back—jobs, bureaus and whole areas of news coverage are gone forever. I know scores who have been laid off. Dozens who have taken pay cuts of 25 to 14 percent happily to keep their jobs. Others who have or will lose retirement benefits. At age 50 or 60 when it it kind of hard to regroup aka Benjamin Button.

Public employees haven’t fared as well as their federal counterparts Take New York City!

Please…

According to the New York Times (NY City’s $5 Billion Budget Crisis) the city is in big financial trouble. Among other things are proposals to cap nonunion city wages at $150k and to reduce the payroll which has jumped in recent years. The Times said that every years 200,000 city workers leave jobs or retire yet after an austerity hiring program there were only 600 fewer jobs as of June of this year.

In the DC area the George Washington University is one of many institutes of higher learning that are cutting staff. Its budget is short $220 million. It has furloughed staff(as opposed to firing them) so they can keep health benefits (paying the full premium with no income??) according to The Washington Post.

And so forth.

Tough times, rocky seas? Yes.

Same boat? Not really!

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

Where are your keys? The average American spends 2.5 days each year looking for lost items, collectively costing U.S. households $2.7 Billion annually in replacement costs.

Source: Cision PR Newswire