Relief. At least for now.
After 35 days of enormous stress, I feel a bit like a mack truck has run over me. It has been an incredible amount of stress to endure, sitting, waiting, watching, counting every penny to try to make it last.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me catch you up.
For the last 35 days, the Federal Government was shut down (or at least half of it shut down, including my department.)
35 days 800,000 federal employees were furloughed. And at least that many contractors.
35 days we did not receive a paycheck. In fact, we missed 2 paychecks. And that includes those who had to work without pay.
35 days that affected many more than those 800,000 furloughed employees (and the nth number of contractors), such as small businesses, social programs, even tourists.
And no, these 35 days have not been a “free vacation” for those of us furloughed. These 35 days have been full of stress, tears, frustration, anger.
Everyone has their own shutdown story.
I have grieved over some of the shutdown stories. And I have been horrified by the way some of these folks have been treated by their neighbors, their friends, and even their family. People who should have been supporting these furloughed employees instead harshly judged them and felt what was happening was well deserved.
No one deserved to be in this situation. A situation of uncertainty and extreme stress.
But these 35 days have also brought numerous stories of communities coming together. Of business giving back. Of people sharing what they have.
Even in the midst of darkness, you can still find light.
But sadly, it’s not over yet.
Yes, we will all go back to work on Monday. But this is just a temporary reprieve. Congress only funded the impacted departments for 3 weeks.
That’s right. 3 weeks. A temporary funding stopgap until February 15. So on February 16, these 800,000 dedicated public servants could be back to the same situation.
While there is relief that this shutdown is over, that relief is tempered with uncertainty. But also hope that our elected leaders will do everything they can in the next 3 weeks to prevent this horrible situation from reoccurring. (Help keep the government open by voicing your opinion to your Representative and your Senators.)
In the meantime, I will focus on the now. I will celebrate, for the first time in a long time, actually having to go to work on Monday. And moving forward, I will try not to take for granted Monday mornings.
Share your shutdown story below. If you were impacted, let us know how you survived the shutdown.