Pay freeze, furloughs – what’s not to like?

With pay raises likely on hold until (at least ) 2014 and furloughs in the offing, lots of retirement-age federal and postal workers are asking themselves why they get up in the morning and battle traffic just so they can be sequestered.

Unless they have gotten a within-grade increase or a promotion in the last couple of years, most people are working at their 2010 salary level, although they are paying 2013 health insurance premiums. And for most, their taxes went up in January.

From a dollars and cents standpoint, some long-time civil servants figure they would have more spendable income in retirement (especially if they tap their TSP) than they have now, after all those deductions.

For some pondering retirement, it isn’t the money. It’s the job. Lots of people actually like their jobs. They know they are good at it. And they understand that because they are doing what they do, others are safer, healthier or more comfortable. Corny but true!


I have always been struck by the fact that when you talk to a former newspaperman (like me), or an insurance agent, farmer or electrician they say they “worked” at such-and-such for X number of years. But when you talk to feds, most automatically say they “served.” Just words and yet, maybe the difference is a big difference. We in the private sector can be very proud of our jobs and what we did. And many of us are. But when is the last time you heard somebody say he “served” the Acme Insurance Company (forgive me, Wile E. Coyote!) or “served” The Daily Bugle newspaper? Probably never. For good reason.

We private-sector wage slaves may feel as warm and fuzzy about our jobs and careers as feds do. But we just don’t feel like we “served” anybody.

So what are your thoughts about your job? Still like it? Still worth doing? Or would you be be happier if somebody else were doing it, and you could sleep late and take it easy? Let us know your thoughts. Maybe somebody on Capitol Hill will take notice. Could it be that the current work-motivator — the beatings will continue until morale improves — needs some tweaking. Let us know.

Furloughs/Buyouts/Retirement Surge

Today’s Your Turn radio show (10 a.m. EDT) is all about the likelihood of a government shutdown, furloughs, the big surge in retirement applications and buyouts. As in, when are the furloughs coming? Will they be for two days or 22 days?

Julia Ziegler, who has been tracking furloughs for will review different agency plans. Sean Reilly and Stephen Losey, senior writers for the Federal Times, will look at the ongoing effects of sequestration, the likelihood of an extended continuing resolution, the status of the pay raise/freeze and the surge in retirement.

Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.


Compiled by Jack Moore

Columbia University students have been pilfering as much as $5,000 worth of Nutella a week since the college began offering the chocolate-hazelnut spread in campus dining halls at the beginning of the year.

(Source: The New York Times)


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