Home alone – federal style

This column has been updated from its original version.

There are two really rough periods in government when people are stretched to their emotional and physical limits. When they are asked to endure the unendurable. When some people abandon all hope.

They are:

  • The last week in August which is, unofficially, Rocky Horror Show time. That’s when summer-weary feds (and private-sector types) lose it. They cash in their dignity chips. They toss style, taste and articles of clothing to the wind. It is a time of tank tops, spandex and other mind-numbing attire. Some ignore this period, or muddle through it. Most survive. A few crack and are never the same. (As you might imagine it is much the same if you work in radio.)
  • Then, there is the second week of horror. It is what is probably the least productive period in government (and non-retail parts of the private sector). It started today. And it will run through, at least, Jan. 1. It is the time when your workplace becomes a miniature of the Village of the Damned.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is when offices are largely staffed only by people who are either:

  1. essential to the health, safety or security of the nation,
  2. workaholics,
  3. avoiding visiting their in-laws, or
  4. those forced to work because they ran out of sick or annual leave.

Federal employees learned around lunchtime Friday that they’d have today off. And, they have off tomorrow, Christmas Day, as well. How many will be in the office for the remainder of the week is questionable.

If you are off this week, enjoy yourself, buckle up and we’ll see you in the new year.

If you are working, whatever your motives or motivation, enjoy the reduced traffic — and continue reading my column. I’ll have some new stuff for you this week.


By Julia Ziegler

People spend an average of 10 hours during Christmas week arguing with family members about holiday-related activities, according to a three-year study by the Center for Lifestyle Management. (Courtesy of The Mine of Useless Information)


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