- Posted October 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
Furlough – Day 16 – What I Did On My Forced Vacation
The first few days of the furlough I felt like a deer in headlights. I meandered between shock, complete frustration, fear of the uncertainty ahead, and finally contempt for being considered unessential. I did a lot of work on various personal issues and completed a number of home projects.
By the end of the first week I was done with any feelings of self misery and was focused on making a bad situation good. I called up a local nature center I had helped with in the past and offered my services. For two days I got to help teach school kids about nature and the environment. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience that I wish I had more time to partake in. The kids were pure joy and each day gave me a respite from worry or uncertainty.
During furlough my family put down our family dog and rescued a puppy. I went to my son’s schools and read. I helped teach a class on history at our local university. I caught up on personal e-mail and facebook. I did all the yard work necessary to prepare for winter. I spent a great deal of time practicing my martial arts and was rewarded with a successful test for second don in Tae Kwon Do. I spent a lot of time with my children, who continually reminded me what is truly important.
I posted these stories, essays, observations, and opinions daily since the debacle began. I did not receive much of a following, but at least someone read them and I felt the process was therapeutic. They were not great works of journalism or even remarkable pieces of English writing. However, I hope they offer some documentation and a journeyed journal to the whole mess.
More than anything I learned a ton about our legislative process, of which I was mostly ignorant. It amazes and frightens me how complex the process is. What is frightening is how easy it is for a small group of people to completely sabotage and submarine how laws are created thus giving them power to cripple a nation. It is amazing, given the ugly fighting that exists between political parties, that any law is ever passed.
So now it is over. Tomorrow I get up, go to work, and start putting the pieces back together. For the hundreds of thousands of employees who were furloughed there will be no apology. For those who have suffered financially, health wise, and in other ways, they will receive no compensation save pay for the time furloughed. In a week the world will have moved on and CNN and other news sites will focus on something else. In a year folks will be hazy on the details of just what happened, when, and why.
We are now expected to shore up our pride and head back to work, our heads held high. But for some of us going back is not that simple. I am forever changed by this incident. I no longer feel that as a civil servant I have some golden security card keeping me employed. I feel like I am less than a pawn to the political powers. I am simply something that is bargaining chip when the fight gets heated.
Regardless I still love my job. I missed my job, my work, my site while on furlough. I was antsy to get back to work and move forward on stuff. Thus I am excited to be going back. I just have to remember a simple mantra. I don’t work for them or the money. I work for me and my love of what I do.