Back to Normal? Not Really…

This morning some 500,000 federal employees are finally heading back to work, as are hundreds of thousands of federal contractors. Those who had been working without being paid are still on the job but breathing a sigh of relief because they’ll now at least be paid for their efforts.

For three weeks. Three short weeks, most likely, before they may be put back in the same situation.

And if that happens, what next? Where does it end?

The president has already said that if he doesn’t get his way during this time, “it’s off to the races!” What an awful thing to say! Obviously, he fairly well knows he’s not going to get everything he wants, and he’s threatening the American people he’ll do this again. And reports from the White House have said they’re once again prepared to play the same horrible game with hundreds of thousands of federal employees being at risk again.

Why? The president wants what he wants, no matter what he has to do to get it. He wants to fulfill a campaign promise. Half of it, at least, because Mexico isn’t paying for his wall; the American people will, IF he gets his way.

And the federal employees are already in limbo over what the next month will bring, even before they get back to their offices this morning.

Employees shouldn’t have to put up with that from their boss. Working under threats does not cause increased productivity. It creates a hostile work environment. It creates stress. And causes mistakes to be made, some of which could have dire consequences.

These employees have enough facing them right now. Not only the stress of wondering how soon their back paychecks will come, and how many of their bills they’ll be able to pay with them, but trying to figure out what they’ll do if it happens again.

Save some of the money they get? I’m sure some will try, but it depends on how far in debt they already are because of the past five weeks.

How in the world will they be able to concentrate on doing their jobs to the best of their ability under those circumstances? Could you? I know I couldn’t.

Plus, after being away from their desks for five weeks, can you imagine the enormous backlog of work they’re facing? It’ll probably take all day just to prioritize what needs to be handled first.

Yes, they’re back to work for now, but it’s not going to be as simple as it was when they left their offices on that last day before the shutdown started.

Many are probably already looking for new jobs, and may continue doing it while they’re at work. And I really cannot blame them. Many may be close to retirement age and have already decided to leave now, while they can. And when they do, who’s going to be there to adequately train the new hires for their particular position? If any one even wants to work for the federal government right now, that is!

It’s not really a simple problem. It’s a complex situation for which there’s no easy solution.

Three weeks isn’t a long time to solve this. And there shouldn’t be a time limit on people’s livelihoods.

And if it does happen again, it’s going to be worse than before. Because it could make the longest government shutdown in the history of our nation, the one that just ended, look like a walk in the park!

And don’t try to tell me it’s all worth it, and it’s all for the greater good, and as one of the president’s family members said, “future generations will thank us!”

Nothing good will come out of this if it happens again. Too many people will be hurt in the end.

Please, BOTH SIDES, please sit down and negotiate in good faith. No walking out if things aren’t going well. No starting out by saying “I either get what I want or I’m not talking any more.” Negotiating is give and take. A good negotiator knows how and when to compromise. And a good negotiator doesn’t constantly belittle the other side, especially in the national news or social media.

Everyone needs to ALL work together before our federal employees, and our country, have to go through this mess again!

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