- Posted October 16, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
HOLDING ON UNTIL THIS SHUTDOWN ENDS
The shutdown has made our family rethink a lot of personal decisions because we wanted to still provide assistance to several disabled family members who have limited income. The fact that I saw our most vulnerable citizens both directly and indirectly affected by the shutdown was in itself enough to cause additional stress.
Many people in this area who have been sick, unemployed, underemployed, those who have lost their homes and are staying with others actually depend on many family members employed by the federal government to survive.
Also, it is so distressing that many of them have no advocate or limited family or resources to try to make it through life, and the federal employees also contribute to the Combined Federal Campaign, and other programs such as Feds Feeds Families here in the Northern Virginia area.
During the shutdown, the fact that we were not certain as to when we would be going back was very trying. Then, to get a paycheck that was far short of normal was so awful.
When I received my last paycheck, I began to realize that the federal workers have been a convenient scapegoat of the budget battles for the past three or four years. We have not had a raise in over three years, and our bonuses and other reward compensation has been diminished or cut off completely.
This furlough also made me realize that I had worked my way up the ladder in the federal sector for 31 years, but I was in the same boat as people who have no ambition and who regularly depend on the system to live - only difference is that I want to work.
I also began to think: "Is this what we want our young people to see? Does this discourage many talented and brilliant young people from seeking employment in the federal service?"
My family cannot qualify for any type of public assistance due to the fact that I was only on furlough and not officially in a reduction in force. With very limited options, we chose to cut back as much as possible, and I tried to make good use of my time.
We also had to decide on much needed medical care and prescriptions and other medicines needed to manage conditions. Although I have health insurance - the furlough did affect my ability to continue to buy needed medicine for myself and my family.
The furlough, most of all, made me feel less valued as a federal employee, although I am fully award of the importance of funding precedence in expending certain appropriations to protect life and property, and provide for the national defense.
The furlough made me feel like a pawn in a sick and unnecessary political game, and caused stress that could have been avoided.
I can agree that our government can use restructuring, realignment of priorities, etc., but the Congress should work together to ensure that a more realistic and orderly reduction of federal spending is carefully thought through.
The furlough made me feel as though we, as federal workers, were not thought of a valuable members of society, who contribute to and help fuel the economy, who pay taxes, and who, in general, are upstanding, patriotic citizens who support our system.
I am praying that the shutdown ends tonight.