Survivor Island: 2013

If you want to have six-pack abs, a beach-ready bikini body and have great hair, there are five foods — depending on the guru du jour — you should never eat.

By the same token, there are seven habits people who want to be successful, or liked, should cultivate.

There are sets of rules-to-live by for children that want to be happy, and for spouses who want to keep the spark alive, etc. Advice is not hard to come by.

Some people swear by the various self-help do’s-and-don’ts guidelines. Others say they don’t work, or are impossible to sustain. For instance, the trick to losing weight is to eat less, exercise more.


So what about federal workers who — now in their third year of a pay freeze — are being told that the worst is yet to come. The government may shut down, meaning nonemergency employees (which is most people) would be sent home immediately without pay. Or Uncle Sam may sequester, meaning agencies would start to implement plans that include a freeze on hiring, elimination of travel and training, reduced contracts and furloughs (up to 22 days) and maybe even layoffs. Are there things they can do to ensure they will still be in their jobs and on the payroll four years from now at the next inauguration?

Also, in this second term, odds are you will get a series of new political bosses, just when you had learned to love (or at least live with) the current one. So how do you meet-greet-please a new temporary leader in this second term?

The last four years have been mostly dominated by an impasse between the GOP-dominated House, and the Democratic-controlled White House. They have been unable and unwilling to compromise on any long-term solution to keep the government running. Taxes and entitlements are the issue. Politics (as in making the other side look bad) is the driving force.

Now that the president has easily won reelection, experts predict he will be bolder in pushing certain programs that were soft-pedaled in the first term so he could win a second term. The second time around, pundits tell us, is when presidents craft their place in history. The idea is to make sure you rank well in future “Ten Best Presidents” issues of Time magazine and the History Channel.

So what are the things career civil servants should do in dealing with a new political boss? Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, provides this helpful list:

  • In preparing briefing materials, make them as comprehensive as necessary, but not overwhelming. Remember, the appointee will have a lot of paper to plow through.
  • Be sure to alert them to any hot-button issues or major decisions awaiting their attention, so they’re not blindsided.
  • Make an effort to learn the appointee’s style and preferences early on; it doesn’t hurt to ask.
  • Recognize that they have a political agenda, with a short time to accomplish it, while you most likely have a longer term view.
  • When you bring unpleasant news or advice regarding restrictions, be prepared to be seen as less than helpful.
  • Remember that, no matter how hard you try or how well you do, you and your new boss may not mesh and it may be wise to accept a reassignment in the end.

Bonosaro was our guest yesterday on our Your Turn radio show. To listen to the entire show, click here.


Compiled by Jack Moore

From Mental Floss:

“Quack, in the sense of a medical impostor, is a shortening of the old Dutch quacksalver (spelled kwakzalver in the modern Dutch), which originally meant a person who cures with home remedies, and then came to mean one using false cures or knowledge.”


House votes to defuse debt limit crisis
The House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday to permit the government to borrow enough money to avoid a first-time default for at least four months, defusing a looming crisis setting up a springtime debate over taxes, spending and the deficit.

Amid widespread decline, fed membership in unions down slightly
The number of American workers who are union members declined to the lowest level since the 1930s, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And federal employees didn’t didn’t buck the trend. Overall, of the more than 3.5 million workers employed by the federal government in 2012, about 956,000 – or 26.9 percent – were members of unions, according to the BLS data.