We got the official notification Friday afternoon that our large federal agency was beginning to grind its way into a greatly reduced operating status. Now when most people hear “shutdown” they might conjure up images of tumbleweeds blowing along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capital, but what the word shutdown really means when translated into government-speak is “operate with a little more than half the total federal workforce, plus a bunch of contractors who actually got their money up front.
If you ever wonder why there’s a high level of apathy in the federal workforce, it’s not necessarily the tool-like first line supervisors, or onerous pages of archaic regulation, or even the laws passed in the 1880s that don’t quite seem to apply to the digital world. It’s the fact that we ultimately work for political masters who yank the rank and file from pillar to post with their vacillations and inability to fulfill one of their few clearly identified constitutional duties and pass a basic budget. I suppose we’re just following the example of our leaders.
Of course Congress came to the rescue in the 11th hour and agreed to short term “bridge” funding in the hopes that they might actually get a budget passed this week for the last half of fiscal 2011. Why do I get the feeling that on Thursday, we’ll be right back in the same position with our distinguished representatives trying to piss all over their own feet. As it is, we’re on the clock Monday to undo all the shutdown procedures we put in place before leaving on Friday. Who says government is inefficient?
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of previously de-published blogs appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.