[Discussion] Dealing with Shutdown Anxiety

Support those affected by the shutdown, and share your shutdown stories. There should be no scapegoating of Federal employees.

I don't believe I've ever posted in D&D before, but feel that I need to get my worries out somewhere, and hopefully find others who are in the same situation.

My wife's been a federal employee for 10 years now. We've had shutdown situations before, pay has come retroactively, it's been alright. I find it atrocious that the people who do their job, 400,000 +, have to suffer with uncertainty because those we've elected to do their job refuse to do so.

We kept a nice buffer in savings, about 2 mortgages worth, in case this happened. Well, a couple months ago, our dog needed knee surgery. She's got a lot of life left in her, it was the first big expenditure we've had to do for her, but it knocked our savings down a bit....

So, I'm in worst-case scenario thought mode now. People make choices in life to establish themselves in careers that provide long-term, predictable stability. Nothing feels predictable anymore. The whole system isn't functioning, and I don't see people stepping up to right this whole clustertruck. If I lose my house because a wannabe dictator didn't get his wall, the house that my wife and I worked hard to purchase, that we chose specifically to give our children a positive life.... I don't know.

Shutdowns have become a commonly used weapon now, and the victims are regular-ass people like you and me.

Shutdowns should be dramatic, impactful, but not to people just getting by. We "get by" well enough. But we can't make it two pay periods of this.

As a Canadian Federal Public Servant, I feel your pain. With the introduction of our Phoenix Pay System in 2016, it became a crapshoot as to whether you would get paid the right amount, or at all in some cases.

Zoso1701 - I am very sorry for the anxiety is causes you and your family. It feels like a case of the extremely wealthy playing games with the lives of the rest. I am sorry you are a game piece.

Zoso that really sucks. Hopefully this shutdown will end in a couple weeks. Has your wife possibly considered going state or local? Depending on where you live, working in local government is preferable to the craziness of working at the federal level.

I’m hoping the constant shutdowns motivate independents to jump ship and the average Democratic voter to actually show up. I’ve been trying for some time now to get other independents to see that there is officially only one sane and adult party left. Unfortunately, I think a lot of conservatives are either blasé or actually happy about the shutdown. I had an acquaintance at church actually get giddy about it because he owns a laundromat and the worse the local economy is the better he does.

@Zoso - I don't want to minimize your fears, but you probably don't have much to worry about. First thing you should do is contact your creditors, most importantly your bank and holders of any mortgage or car loans. Explain to them the situation and ask for a deferral based on the situation. Most major banks and creditors will have zero problem doing this. My bank actually pays me my salary (I'm a fed in DC as well) as a temporary loan because I'm a federal employee and they know they are going to get their money. Second, I believe Congress already passed legislation that ensures back pay for the duration of the shutdown, furloughed or not. If they haven't they will when the Dems take over next month.

Article: https://m.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2...

Zoso - I hear you, and the whole situation really sucks. I'm a fed employee as well (also in DC), and these needless shutdowns are just unnecessarily stressful for everyone.

I do think that SpyNavy is right. The banks and creditors are about getting their money, but your wife has a stable job, and they know they're going to be paid. I'll bet that you will have to call them first and let them know what's happening, but that's it.

It's natural to go to worst-case mode, but remember that this has happened before, and all signs point to the fact that your wife will be paid eventually. Hang in there. You guys will make it.

SpyNavy wrote:

@Zoso - I don't want to minimize your fears, but you probably don't have much to worry about.

Having my fears minimized is awesome!

Thanks for the words of support and solidarity.

My wife is over 10 years into this job, her salary, retirement... unless I end up making enough money to cover it, a career change now is not really a possibility! I'd LOVE for her to move to a space where I feel her talents are utilized and appreciated. One day, maybe that will be a possibility. But, for now, with two kids, house, all that jazz... we need what we've got!

I had never considered that the Mortgage companies might actually work with you in situations like these. Glad to hear. I won't panic any further about that, and will reach out if this goes beyond the pay schedule.

I’m not sure if this helps but I spent 5 years in residential mortgage lending. It’ll be a PITA and a bunch of paperwork and added interest expense on the backend but I can confirm many banks will be willing to work with you on skipping a payment or two.

Don’t forget the power of social media either. It’s a hammer so don’t use it if a feather will get the job done, but a public “this mortgage company is threatening a furloughed federal employee” will scramble whatever department handles negative PR. Trust me. It works.

Also - and I should’ve said this first - I am very sorry to hear about this. This type of anxiety sucks. I hope you get through this unscathed. Please never resent the dog for this. You made the right choice to take care of her.

We had friends visit us on the 21st to celebrate my wife’s bday and they found out that evening that they were furloughed both. Such a ridiculous situation and the glee from Trump and his supporters are depressing and predictable. Trump labeling all the furloughed employees as “mostly democratic" was clearly a dog whistle to his base to label and dehumanize the real people struggling to survive.

And they said over and over that Obama was the most divisive President.

The Grugq posts a helpful response to OPM's tone deaf tweet about gov't employees without pay consulting their personal attourneys:

Links to the Russian and Chinese Embassies in DC.

My wife has worked for the VA Hospital system for 8+ years- luckily that organization is exempt from this shutdown, but we’ve gotten landlords and banks to agree to work with us during the previous one that threatened to be lengthy. It ended up resolving before we actually needed the concessions but it was reassuring knowing that normally predatory agencies were willing to help.

Luckily unemployment will cover rent for me but if this one lasts much past the 3rd I'm going to have to dig into my savings. Unfortunately as a contractor I don't get backpay even if congress authorizes it for Federal Employees.

Zona wrote:

Unfortunately as a contractor I don't get backpay even if congress authorizes it for Federal Employees.

Good to hear that unemployment will cover the lapse of a shutdown. I've allowed the impact this has on so many normal people workers to anger me so, that it's probably not been helpful or healthy.

Here's to you, and all, getting back to normalcy soon.

Zoso, just wanted to check in -- how are you guys holding up?

Thanks for asking. I’m definitely a little wary that this is going to go on beyond the pay schedule. We are fortunate to have her family able to float, but this unknown is ridiculous and I ache for those who don’t have such good fortune.

Clearly a compromise needs to be reached, but the obstructionist cult in congress has already said they will bring nothing to a vote.

I’m more angry than anything right now. This isn’t normal, and what this fight is over - it just adds nothing of cultural or societal value to our nation.

I’m angry at his supporters who think this is okay! Who think that it’s alright to now have us pay for this “city wall” (South Park yeaaaah) and to sacrifice (potentially) the stability of many, many lives.

I will never understand this period of our history. I do not recognize the country I was born in. Perhaps now, I am simply old enough to recognize how sh*tty it is, but damn it feels bad.

I must work on the anger I have allowed to seep in to my mind.

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Having seen how govt shutdowns work in other public arenas (state/local) you may qualify for zero interest short-term loans from local credit unions, particularly those that service public employees.

In a reddit thread on the subject some people were saying that in previous shutdowns they had had success with calling their bank and getting a couple mortgage payments waived/delayed with no penalty.

Hope everyone dealing with the shutdown is hanging in there. It looks like Congress has approved back-pay for furloughed by a veto-proof majority -- McConnell let a vote come to the floor after Trump's assurance that he'll sign it. There's also legislation pending to pay at least some federal contractors.

The article I linked above does not make this clear, but the back-pay bill is remarkable in that it guarantees payments to furloughed workers in the event of future shutdowns.

McConnell is aware that Congress can overrule a veto, right? Someone just has to convince Trump that signing a veto and being overruled by congress is a sign of strength for him and obstruction by Democrats, and we can get lots of good things accomplished.

Unfortunately, it’s not good enough in this situation for him to look tough. He has to look like a winner. No wall makes him a loser forever.

Thanks, LastSurprise, for being on top of the news and providing links.

Today feels like the first day where the news just.... kinda stopped covering the shutdown. I'm hearing from my family who are going in to their offices (unpaid, obviously, but considered essential), that mechanisms are starting to break, odd smells are filling the old rooms of these buildings...

We're staring at the $0 paycheck coming in a week and a half. I'm not worrying so much, as I've accepted our safety net. Concern is shifting from the immediate to the long term. That this is the far right's manner of shutting the government permanently. Bare bones it enough to get people to not feel the effects (seriously, IRS, we should NOT be bringing people in), and just keep it closed for good. All of us out of work, well so what. They don't care...

Their lordships who already have moats will gladly make sure no one has shovels.

Just stop mailing out social security checks and this will end quickly.

Sorry about everything, Zoso.

Not to belittle the struggle of those you that are going unpaid, but with the FAA out of work, all of a sudden my hot deadlines ain't so hot anymore.

*puts feet up on desk*

Jonman wrote:

Not to belittle the struggle of those you that are going unpaid, but with the FAA out of work, all of a sudden my hot deadlines ain't so hot anymore.

*puts feet up on desk*

As one of those FAA people*, I've been practicing bread making. Shame about the 200 trainees the facility I work at just got recently, none of whom are getting any training. Or pay. I think MOST of them didn't have to move across country to work at the NY TRACON.

*Contractor

Zoso1701 wrote:

That this is the far right's manner of shutting the government permanently. Bare bones it enough to get people to not feel the effects (seriously, IRS, we should NOT be bringing people in), and just keep it closed for good. All of us out of work, well so what. They don't care...

If so, it's a pretty stupid strategy. It doesn't change the law, so instead of easing the various economic and social strangleholds the government has implemented, it tightens them down completely. The answer to FDA control of drug approval is not to stop all drugs from being approved.

Add in the churlish pettiness of suddenly putting a lot of people out of work, and it's pretty much the worst possible strategy for reducing the impact of government on society.

Aetius wrote:
Zoso1701 wrote:

That this is the far right's manner of shutting the government permanently. Bare bones it enough to get people to not feel the effects (seriously, IRS, we should NOT be bringing people in), and just keep it closed for good. All of us out of work, well so what. They don't care...

If so, it's a pretty stupid strategy. It doesn't change the law, so instead of easing the various economic and social strangleholds the government has implemented, it tightens them down completely. The answer to FDA control of drug approval is not to stop all drugs from being approved.

Add in the churlish pettiness of suddenly putting a lot of people out of work, and it's pretty much the worst possible strategy for reducing the impact of government on society.

Except like pretty much all Republican strategies these days, it's not based on proving that the concept is actually sound, it's based on being able to control the public opinion of their supporters to think that the concept makes sense. Given that this has been so successfully because the largest "news" network is ready and willing to cherry pick examples and ignore larger ramifications it may actually work out.

All they have to do is keep the immediate effects below the level that most of their supporters are able to willfully ignore or deflect the blame to the Democrats. It's still a tough call, and it's not really working (Trump support has fallen 1.5% for example) but you can see why they thought they may be able to pull it off. Keep social security checks moving, promise that your tax return will be ready for you, and then spin spin spin on everything else.

What's a TRACON? I feel like a dummy.