10 tips for the next government shutdown
Well, the longest government shutdown in history is over for now after House Speaker Pelosi schooled President Trump in the real art of the deal.
But whatever happens next, shutdowns over partisan squabbles sadly are becoming the new normal. Learning from this last go-around, here’s how federal workers might make the most of the next:
1. KonMari declutter your home.
Does that last box of expired Premium Saltines in the pantry bring you joy? Either way, keep it. You might need it.
2. Watch Fox News all day.
Learn from well-paid commentators and multimillionaire Trump administration officials how you should be grateful for the time off, with or without pay, or “volunteering” to work without pay.
They don’t live paycheck-to-paycheck like many hard-working Americans, so it’s inexplicable that not getting paid for a month is hard and you’re lining up at charity food pantries to feed the family instead of borrowing from rich dad.
Most of all, watching Fox will make you proud to sacrifice for The Wall. Your kids may miss a few meals or a health clinic visit for an excruciating ear infection, but they’ll thank you someday for protecting them from the criminal drug-muling immigrant hoards of refugee women and children.
3. While spending more time with the kids, use the shutdown as a teaching opportunity.
For example, “Sometimes, children, really mean dumbass people get to run the country.”
4. Find out why, when Fortune 500 executives leave their companies to “spend more time with their families,” they’re lying.
Nobody wants to spend more time with family. Family also doesn’t want it. The current president of the United States knows from this.
5. Create and post hilarious YouTube videos of you pranking bill collectors when they call.
Try out a fake German accent. “Vat? Vass ees dees? Du willst Geld? Ich habe kein Geld! Trumpf ist ein Idiot! Auf Wiedersehen!”
6. Eat cake.
7. Get in touch with God.
Ask Him, why in hell did I choose a career in federal government? The president hates me. The president’s loyal base thinks I’m just a lazy stupid bureaucrat sleeping at my desk, dictating ridiculous liberal Democrat regulations and living on the taxpayer dole until my fat retirement checks roll in. The Trump base doesn’t care about shutdowns — they’re happy about them. The longer the better.
Also, please God, help me understand: Why do Republicans hate government saying it doesn’t work, cut funding, and then complain government doesn’t work? And why do I get blamed for trying to carry out regulations enacted by Congress, including Republicans, that make no sense and pile new regs on old ones?
And why oh why, given my education and experience, is my compensation lower than in the private sector? Is it because I took a federal job out of a sense of citizen duty and public service? Did JFK’s “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” mean too much to me?
Why, God, did you make me this patriotic way, as the Founders of our democratic republic, with government of, by and for the people, hoped we would all be? Not just patriotic by waving flags or guns or Facebook memes snarking on liberals, but by sacrificing to serve the nation and public?
8. While you’re connecting with God, thank Him you’re not designated as “essential personnel.”
Bless Him you don’t have to go to work every day without pay or else lose your job and career.
Also ponder the meaning of not being “essential.” You’ve always wanted to read Kafka, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Nietzsche, etc. Now you have time.
Explore that Nietzsche said God is dead and then God said Nietzsche is dead. But don’t think too much or it’ll drive you crazy. Play Super Mario Party for 12 hours straight to reboot your cerebrum.
9. Indulge your lifelong passion for winter gardening.
Enjoy turning the rock-hard soil with a titanium trowel while freezing your numchucks.
As Mother Earth News advises, “Don’t limit your harvests to summer! No matter your region, you can grow cold-hardy winter crops that have proved they can take biting temps.”
For example, “Of the European kales (Brassica oleracea), ‘Winterbor’ is exceptionally vigorous and more cold-resistant — though less tasty — than the deep blue-green Tuscan kales, such as ‘Lacinato’.”
Come up with your own snarky rejoinder about “winter garden European less tasty kale.” You have the time and mental bandwidth.
10. Explore your options.
Learn to use LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed and other websites to get a non-government job that pays a lot better and is not subject to the regular Republican shutdowns. Trump and his base respect “real” private sector jobs more than government jobs.
Ironically, many states that voted for Trump are more dependent on government workers and programs than states that voted for Hillary. Many red states receive more in federal services, subsidies and breaks than they pay in taxes. They’re known as “takers.”
Many Trump fans are strict Bibleists but ignore the Bible’s advice about not biting the hand that feeds.
Most of all, while it can’t be easy sometimes, federal workers should remember that their public service to the nation is a noble one.
Politicians and the public who sneer at government and bureaucrats are taking an ignorant, hateful cheap shot at hard-working women and men. Public servants are classic everyday heroes. They are making America greater every day. Sensible Americans know this. And salute their public servants.
But if the next government shutdown and furlough goes on too long, learning to dominate at Super Mario Party can be time well invested.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer