Turn the government shutdown into a vacation

Perhaps most current government workers and many, many retirees have been through at least one or two government shutdowns. Some even more than that.

In addition, thousands of current and former feds also endured furloughs most recently in 2013, which forced them to take a 20 percent pay cut. Now furloughs are back on the table with a possible start date of Oct. 1.

Because that’s a Monday, it could be an even more costly hassle if the issued wasn’t settled beforehand. Tens of thousands of employees would have to come to work first so they could then shut down, go home and wait for word to return. Depending on the length of the shutdown, paychecks could be days or even weeks late.

Earlier we asked people to revisit the ghosts of shutdowns past and remember how they handled the financial and emotional strain. While shutdowns can be traumatic financially, some feds say they turned them into a vacation.

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Here are some survivor comments, with more to come:

“It is unfortunate that in recent years our government has decided to thwart the federal operating budget with shutdowns and threats of shutdowns. I have been through three shutdowns. Although I weathered them OK, some of my co-workers did not. Gosh, way back in the 70’s when I worked for [the Defense Department], we had to take a two week ‘vacation’ in December and we couldn’t take leave. We lost two weeks pay on that one.

“I can also remember when the entire [U.S. Forest Service] had to go on unemployment in the [1990s]. It is absolutely unnecessary for this to happen. Our representatives should all be ashamed of themselves. I would say, If you have the funds, enjoy the time off!

“Slogan for federal employees: ‘Government shutdowns are now the norm, so save those dollars to weather the storm.'” — Paula at the Agriculture Department in California

“I’ve been a [Treasury Department] employee since 1987 and have endured several shut-downs before this year. The long shutdown [from Oct. 1-16, 2013] was particularly enjoyable.

“Being an outdoorsman and landscape photographer in my spare time I was able to spend time in the Adirondacks. The weather was also exceptionally nice that year during that time. Normally by October I have used up my allotment of annual leave and besides, it starts to get really busy so taking time off is difficult. I knew it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!” — Mike D., IRS, from Boston

“The disaster in a proposed shutdown [comes] more from ramping up to shutdown, then a [continuing resolution] — again, and again and again. Travel canceled and rescheduled, appointments canceled and rescheduled, etc. The cost is huge in employee time, not just the costs of employees getting paid not to work.

“I am a DINK (double income no kids), and live below my means, so I just enjoy the time off.” — Linda

Nearly Useless Factoid

By: Amelia Brust

The Pontifical Swiss Guard, the de facto military of Vatican City and bodyguards of the Pope, originated in the 15th Century during the Italian Wars, when the Holy See made a pact with the Swiss Confederacy to use that country’s mercenaries against enemies. Today, Swiss Guards must be unmarried Swiss Catholic males between the ages of 19-30 who have completed basic training in the Swiss Armed Services.

Source: Wikipedia