It’s one thing to wonder how the other half lives. But even more importantly is how do they get to work? Do they have a commuting secret or a de-stresser that might lengthen your career? And lifespan?
Uncle Sam runs a very large, worldwide, 24/7 operation. For employees, getting to work can be as simple as walking or cycling, or…
How about dodging moose or road-hog bears? Feds from Alaska to Maine to Montana factor the critters into their daily commute. Or how about about motor biking through the Balkans? Or taking high-tea on a commuter ferry or riding a cable car in San Francisco Bay?
Some feds say years of a long, miserable commute have impacted their health. And made them retire ASAP. Others made it a fun part of the day.
“When I first started with this agency, my commute was a nightmare. I would ride into work with my sister-in-law (which wasn’t bad). My commute home consisted of: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday take a bus and meet my sister-in-law. Wednesday take one ferry home. Friday take a different ferry and meet my sister-in-law. Commute home would take anywhere from one hour to two.
“Now, my commute is one of the best. I leave my house around 5am to catch the 5:30am ferry. During the hour boat ride, I can have a cup of coffee and donut, read, check the Internet, or take a nap. Once I get to the city, I could go into the ferry building and buy breakfast (anywhere from a sandwich to fresh (just out of the oven) bread; Starbucks, Blue Bottle or Peaks Coffee is available too). I then jump on a vintage trolley that stops just outside my building. My return trip is much the same (except I could go into the ferry building and get an ice cream or glass of wine), unless I ride home with my friend who drives in every day. Then I just sit back and enjoy the conversation.
“Believe it or not, there is a couple of issues for the return trip home. One, my trolley stop is right after a major tourist attraction so there are days I have to wait two to three trolleys before I can get on. The other is the cost. My costs consist of a monthly parking pass that is $20, monthly ferry pass is $290, and the monthly trolley pass is $61 (total $371). My agency does supplement our commute cost with $125 a month. — M in San Francisco
“Easy Rider, that’s me. I ride my 2012 Honda Goldwing to work on HOV from Alexandria to Foggy Bottom. An easy 20-minute glide to work and home during the height of rush hour. I also rode my bike in Greece and the Balkans last year with my black U.S. diplomatic plates.” Nick at the State
“For 3 and 1/2 months a few years ago, I used to commute daily between Helena and Missoula in Montana, 120 miles — one way. I had to go over a mountain pass, two-lane roads and some interstate, and this was in the winter! There used to be a moose who would stand in the same spot by the side of the road occasionally, like a wildlife sentry. Nowadays, I live in downtown Baltimore and breeze past all the commuters trying to get into town as I head away from downtown to my work. My commute takes less than 20 minutes. But I do miss the moose. — Kelly Garza
“My commute is probably one of the easy ones. I walk a half-mile to my neighborhood Metro station in Alexandria — for the exercise of course. The Yellow Line metro drops me off in 20 minutes at a stop two blocks from my office in downtown D.C. I pass the time on the train reading the Washington Post Express (I like the “Eye Openers” section at the beginning). — Ross at IRS
“I’m a retired Fed with 30+ years of commuting in the D.C. metro area. I live in Laurel, Md., and in my time with Defense I’ve commuted to Herndon, Reston, Merrifield, Tysons, Clarendon, the Pentagon, Joint Base Anacostia, and a few other locations. I’ve commuted alone, car-pooled, and used Metro.
“About three years ago, I was offered a plum assignment to lead a new initiative crossing multiple agencies. Lots of prestige, face-time at the top, and travel to exciting and not so exciting locations like Stuttgart and St. Louis. I retired rather than take the job. Why? The commute. It would have been from Laurel to the Springfield mixing bowl area or 2+ hours each way daily.
“I took a job at Ft. Meade, a leisurely nine miles from home. Within 30 days, I was off of three out of four blood pressure medications. The commute had literally been killing me. Yes, the change has meant altering my retirement plans, but I couldn’t be happier.” — Melissa, semi-retired Fed
OPM review cites progress on equal pay Female federal employees earn on average 87 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, according to a new review from the Office of Personnel Management. Still, the pay gap between men and women in the white-collar federal workforce has dropped significantly over the past 20 years. And across many individual occupations and grades, men and women now earn comparable levels of pay, according to OPM’s new report. OPM’s review found much of the continued pay disparity between male and female feds can be explained by their presence in different occupational categories.
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