Tales From The Furlough

It’s been a rough couple weeks for me since the government shutdown started. The first two weeks were pretty easy because the whole family was home for winter break. But now they’re all back in school and I’m just sort of floating around trying to get stuff on my task list done. I’ve been all sorts of depressed, angry, bored, and frustrated. But you know what has kept me grounded? The community.

The local school district had a hiring fair to offer substitute positions for furloughed workers. It’s a win-win situation, but they went above and beyond in trying to get people in-processed. I’m hoping by next week I’ll be ready to start subbing!

The doctor at the clinic paid for my TB test today. We were talking about the whole furlough and she said her brother-in-law was a government worker and upset, but would at least get back-pay. I’m a contractor and will NOT get back-pay … so I’m just out of luck for the last (almost) month. I mentioned that I needed the test so I could be a substitute teacher and when it was time to pay, the nurse told me the doctor had already paid.

My friends paid for lunch for me last week. Totally not necessary, but such a nice thing to do. It was great to see them and just a really nice pick-me-up.

My neighbor passed along the name of a recruiter that she works with who is looking for people on a funded contract.

My company has pooled donated PTO for furloughed workers and all the senior leadership aren’t taking pay until the government is re-opened.

The local theater is having a “furlough Friday” where I could go see a movie for free.

Whole Foods had a spaghetti dinner for furloughed workers.

The list goes on. It’s amazing and heart-warming to see friends, family, and complete strangers helping each other out. Right or Left, Republican or Democrat, Religious or not, Gay or Straight … people pull together when others are hurting. That’s the country I know and love.