A friend asked last week why, in the absence of a salary, I continued going to work. The federal government had been partially shut down for over four weeks by then. He kidded that the private sector would love to figure that out.
It was difficult to put into words why I and my fellow Feds returned to work each day. We expected to be paid when it was over, sure; those still woking were designed “excepted” and would be made whole eventually, whenever that was. The president reminded us near-daily that our non-pay status could go on for months.
Hundreds of thousands more were furloughed with no guarantee of back pay, until late in the shutdown.
This article in The Hill explains our rationale. It’s not something Feds think much about. It’s what we do. Clearly, pay and benefits are important. Just as clearly, service is equally imperative. This quote of National Air Traffic Controllers Association executive VP Trish Gilbert is succinct:
As an official for the Air Traffic Controllers Association told the New York Times: “We have taken an oath. We know we’re important to the United States economy, and we are going to work. We’re just not getting paid. So even if this drags on, people will come to work.”
I’m also thankful to Ryan Trapani for The Hill’s article encapsulating the ineffable reality of federal service, a quality that cannot be duplicated in the private sector. They have the profit motive. We’ve sworn an oath to something higher.
#NATCA #service #feds