Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

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mstone3
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Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by mstone3 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:58 pm

I'm a furloughed federal employee in a non-pay, non-work status as a result of the current government shutdown. Fortunately, my emergency fund is healthy for at least 6 months. With no apparent end in sight to the stalemate, I'm would like to spend my newfound free time as a wise Boglehead would. I've been working on an IT certification and some technical reading for my job. Are there any other suggestions out there? I'm not yet at the point of seeking other employment due to the emergency fund and (almost) guaranteed backpay, although that will become more likely should the shutdown continue. Would appreciate your thoughts!

stan1
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by stan1 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:17 pm

Exercise.
Work on a home improvement project, or a favorite hobby (probably one that isn't too expensive).
Spend time with family.
Volunteer some time at kids or grand kids school or another charity.

What you don't want to do is sit at home worrying about something beyond your control.

buglenote
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by buglenote » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:19 pm

Can you travel cheaply? Perhaps booking a bus to a city with family and friends you could stay with. During the normal working year it can be hard to find time to travel, so this might be a great opportunity.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:53 pm

Can you file for unemployment?

arrieros81
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by arrieros81 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:58 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:53 pm
Can you file for unemployment?
He can although it will have to be paid back once the furlough is lifted and back pay is received.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by MnyGrl » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:14 pm

I am a fed contractor and while waiting to return to work, I'm trying to do home projects that I would normally have to do on the weekends - cleaning out, donating, painting, putting up curtain rods, that kind of thing.

I'm poor, but my house looks fabulous!

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aspirit
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by aspirit » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:33 pm

Hank Paulsons working resume read .gov, to GSachs, to .Gov(resolve 70s airline crisis),to GSachs, to .Gov(resolve 09s Housing crisis), so transferring can be considered. winkwink :wink: Aim high!
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fortfun
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by fortfun » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:43 pm

Road trip!

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TimeRunner
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:48 pm

Your approach sounds good. Knock off whatever mandatory online training you can, like EEO, Sexual Harassment, Supervisor, etc. Study for a PMP cert. Embrace the chaos of the moment.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious.

Bacchus01
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Bacchus01 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:05 pm

Find a job?

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:10 pm

Eclipse livesoft's post count.

bhsince87
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by bhsince87 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:17 pm

I'd say just relax and pretend you're retired. See if you really like it or not.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Nestegg_User » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:47 am

TimeRunner wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:48 pm
Your approach sounds good. Knock off whatever mandatory online training you can, like EEO, Sexual Harassment, Supervisor, etc. Study for a PMP cert. Embrace the chaos of the moment.
not quite, TimeRunner...

per requirements, if furloughed you cannot do anything related to employment- - no work e-mail, no training
nothing says you can't do certifications that you are doing on your own dime , but nothing that incurs ANY federal expense.

The problem with travel was always that you could be called back at any time (and were) and that failure to appear could be construed as "job abandonment", although most supers would allow a "reasonable" period to return if you had annual leave. Different agencies are different...I've been "essential" in one agency but furloughed when at another (well known) agency.
Now retired ...

(furloughed employees can't quite "practice" retirement since they have to be ready to return at any time....and then try to do catch-up with the tasks that stopped, which wasn't really possible at one agency...some data not taken cannot be replicated (think time sensitive samples or samples subject to degradation)...the whole study must be restarted. Requisitions can then take quite a while to get approved (since they often are competing with many others and line authority for purchase is often limited so "refilling the coffers of needed supplies can sometimes take a while) so restart can be a real undertaking

nura
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by nura » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:18 am

Great time to ride uber to replenish the emergency fund to pre-shutdown levels

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:14 am

Great idea about driving for Uber, but wonder will the government check. I don’t think you can go on travel just in case of a moment notice to be at work immediately.

Iridium
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Iridium » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:08 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:14 am
Great idea about driving for Uber, but wonder will the government check. I don’t think you can go on travel just in case of a moment notice to be at work immediately.
I think that driving for Uber (or any other job one can quit on short notice) would be perfectly permissible. That being said, if I worked for the government and got furloughed, I think certification/education/language learning is what I would do after taking care of things at home (hopefully a few weeks of extra time with family will help them be more forgiving after the furlough is over and the hours go nuts as everyone tries to get caught up).

Incidentally, if you are locked out of the government's online training portal, both the Computer Society and ACM offer access to similar online training as a benefit to their members. The cost of membership is ~$100. Udemy can be hit or miss but I am enjoying a Security+ class I am taking from them (with specials, it pretty much always costs $10-20). Coursera specializations are also a pretty good deal for you right now, as you can probably work through the classes at 4-6x the rate you otherwise could (they are $50/month in all the specializations I checked); it wouldn't surprise me if you could knock out a class in a couple of days. Of course, books can be had from the library for free. Not that you asked about foreign language, but I like Mango which is offered free by most libraries, especially since you have an indeterminate but hopefully not very long time to study (with all the repetition, you'll retain some of what you learn even if you drop study for a while).

MichDad
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by MichDad » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:19 am

I'm a retired federal employee who lived through several government shutdowns. My former agency had a rule that prohibited any outside employment unless it was pre-approved, in writing, by both the employee's supervisor and by the agency's ethics officer. I believe this rule included all methods for earning income, such as driving for Uber or even renting rooms in the employee's home. So, before any furloughed federal employees start earning income from non-federal sources, please check your agency's rules on this topic.

MichDad

Theseus
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Theseus » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:23 am

How about learning to meditate - if you were ever interested in it. People say it changes you for better.

pdavi21
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by pdavi21 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:34 am

Polish up your resume and look for other jobs...not because I think the gov't would stay closed, but because you have plenty of time, and it's always a good idea.
"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity." -Stephen Hawking

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by samsdad » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:54 am

Get your resume together and look for jobs in the private sector.

You’re basically betting that you know how long the shutdown will last. You're betting that you’ll get 100% of your backpay. You’re betting that you’ll be eating off our emergency fund at a predictable rate. Life could get “lifey” real quick and deplete your emergency fund faster than you anticipated.

What if the rules change and your job isn’t there once the gov opens up again? [OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

Other gov workers may not have such a substantial EF and will have to start looking for work in the private sector (if they haven’t already). They’ll already be interviewing and securing employment before you’re off the couch. I’m reading that some have resorted to pawning off their personal belongings already. Why would you bet that there will be jobs to be had once you decide to get your resume together?

I mean, seriously, why is this something you’re willing to risk?

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by JoMoney » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:57 am

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:10 pm
Eclipse livesoft's post count.
Only if you can do so without diluting quality.
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by fru-gal » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:32 am

nura wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:18 am
Great time to ride uber to replenish the emergency fund to pre-shutdown levels
One article said they were not allowed to take outside jobs including uber. There seems to be a lot of nastiness built into these rules, or they were designed by rich people with no clue.

I'd say if you can get your hands of course materials, nothing to stop you from studying them and then aceing the course later.

Myself, I would be polishing my resume and going on job interviews. I think this is not a normal shutdown, when it's in the hands of the party that wants to reduce government.

gtd98765
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by gtd98765 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:49 am

Thank you for your service!

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Watty
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Watty » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:18 am

MnyGrl wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:14 pm
I am a fed contractor and while waiting to return to work, I'm trying to do home projects that I would normally have to do on the weekends - cleaning out, donating, painting, putting up curtain rods, that kind of thing.

I'm poor, but my house looks fabulous!
+1

A few more suggestions;

Organize any boxes of family photos and slides.

Research your family tree if that interests you.

You can also spend a full day detailing a car and you may be surprised how much difference that could make.

You can also do a lot of cooking to fill up the freezer with prepared food. Learn new healthy recipes.

If you are not particularly handy don't forget that you can see videos on Youtube on how to do most home projects.

The prior comment about doing exercise was also a good suggestion.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by fru-gal » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:23 am

Watty wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:18 am
MnyGrl wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:14 pm
I am a fed contractor and while waiting to return to work, I'm trying to do home projects that I would normally have to do on the weekends - cleaning out, donating, painting, putting up curtain rods, that kind of thing.

I'm poor, but my house looks fabulous!
Organize any boxes of family photos and slides.
This would be a huge accomplishment, if you have as many as I do, and they will never get done otherwise. You can also make a list of ones you want digitized.

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SagaciousTraveler
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:31 am

There have been plenty of great suggestions. I just wanted to say I'm sorry and that I hope you are back on the job soon (with pay).

Cheyenne
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Cheyenne » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:39 am

Call, write, email, text, fax and visit your Senators.

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dm200
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:01 am

- Exercise

- Volunteer - schools, religious organization outreach, community

- Do some travel - must be short term, since you may be called back at any time.

eob616
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by eob616 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:10 am

+1 for volunteer. Also, consider pursuing this offer from Rosetta Stone:

https://support.rosettastone.com/en/lan ... ffer-Terms

I'm in the same boat; have also moved up some dental work I was going to do later in the year, taken care of a lot of estate planning tasks that I've been putting off, rolled over my HSA, cleaned out files for shredding, made many pots of cheap soup...

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dm200
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:17 am

At least Federal employees will, eventually, get paid in full.

But, since a great many Federal agencies use a lot of contractors, I believe most of such contractor employees will not get paid.

Businesses that deal with Federal employees and contractors may also be hurt - and will not catch up.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by BarbaricYawp » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:32 am

dm200 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:17 am
At least Federal employees will, eventually, get paid in full.

But, since a great many Federal agencies use a lot of contractors, I believe most of such contractor employees will not get paid.

Businesses that deal with Federal employees and contractors may also be hurt - and will not catch up.
This is correct. It will also impact hiring at contractor organizations, which will in turn affect ability to assist the government in 'catching up' when they return. At a minimum, private sector will have to jack their prices to the government to get back on financial track, so this shutdown is going to have long-term negative effects on budget and repercussions into the entire 'ecosystem' that surrounds the Feds. Eg many of the 'cool' small business that ring the government offices are likely to fold. Very few organizations can hold out for months on end with such a large decrease in revenue. WTOP was interviewing small business owners a week or so ago and they were already laying off employees. WashPo has an article this morning about the expected 'brain drain' as Federal employees bail due to the uncertainty. Given the slowness of the hiring process into the government this will also have a long recovery time.

The only possible bright side is that we are unlikely to see this type of shutdown again next year, given the election cycle.
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:17 am

As a retired Federal employee I am deeply frustrated with the predicament of my former colleagues, and particularly the contractors. My advice for you is:
1. Exercise
2. Read books
3. Do NOT violate any rules of the furlough, i.e., do not take other jobs or travel because you may be called back any day.

Victoria
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by jpelder » Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:52 am

Exercise is good.
It's the time of year for planting trees (if you live in DC or south of there)
You could binge watch Game of Thrones in preparation for the final season in April
Pick up The Wheel of Time or another similarly-enormous book series.

Source: I'm a teacher, so I'm "furloughed" every summer

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by bhsince87 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:25 pm

Give kindle unlimited on amazon a trial run.

There are quite a few decent financial/retirement books on there. Plus a gazillion other topics and genres. Some are hit or miss, but if you don't like a book, ditch it and try another.

It's free for 30 days.
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regularguy455
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by regularguy455 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:06 pm

Could look into churning credit cards or bank accounts for extra $$$. May be a way to generate extra money without violating ethics (IANAL!).

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:07 pm

Iridium wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:08 am
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:14 am
Great idea about driving for Uber, but wonder will the government check. I don’t think you can go on travel just in case of a moment notice to be at work immediately.
I think that driving for Uber (or any other job one can quit on short notice) would be perfectly permissible. That being said, if I worked for the government and got furloughed, I think certification/education/language learning is what I would do after taking care of things at home (hopefully a few weeks of extra time with family will help them be more forgiving after the furlough is over and the hours go nuts as everyone tries to get caught up).

Incidentally, if you are locked out of the government's online training portal, both the Computer Society and ACM offer access to similar online training as a benefit to their members. The cost of membership is ~$100. Udemy can be hit or miss but I am enjoying a Security+ class I am taking from them (with specials, it pretty much always costs $10-20). Coursera specializations are also a pretty good deal for you right now, as you can probably work through the classes at 4-6x the rate you otherwise could (they are $50/month in all the specializations I checked); it wouldn't surprise me if you could knock out a class in a couple of days. Of course, books can be had from the library for free. Not that you asked about foreign language, but I like Mango which is offered free by most libraries, especially since you have an indeterminate but hopefully not very long time to study (with all the repetition, you'll retain some of what you learn even if you drop study for a while).
You are forbid from training even, It counts as work.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:26 pm

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by dh » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:31 pm

SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:31 am
There have been plenty of great suggestions. I just wanted to say I'm sorry and that I hope you are back on the job soon (with pay).
+1 Thank you for your service!

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:12 pm

Get healthy
Read the 5 book Game of Thrones book series
Start a blog
Paint rooms in the house that need a refresh
Write your IPS (Investing Policy Statement)
Binge watch Wind River (movie) and then Longmire (TV Series)
Read "The Art of Stoic Joy" book

Hopefully the shutdown will end in a reasonable amount of time. Which side will bend. I thought we were all on the same side. :wink:
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by dm200 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:14 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:12 pm
Get healthy
Read the 5 book Game of Thrones book series
Start a blog
Paint rooms in the house that need a refresh
Write your IPS (Investing Policy Statement)
Binge watch Wind River (movie) and then Longmire (TV Series)
Read "The Art of Stoic Joy" book

Hopefully the shutdown will end in a reasonable amount of time. Which side will bend. I thought we were all on the same side. :wink:
Yes - and plan/schedule how you will get caught up after returning to work.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by StealthRabbit » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:28 am

Do something you CANNOT do while working (Worthwhile - study investing / home repairs) (Memorable - Econo spontaneous vacation) (service related - Volunteer) (Time OFF - (I Travel... VERY cheap... Guest homes Free to $20 / night world wide, free fuel (cooking oil)), eat using grocery store reject fresh produce (Culls). Staying with local people enhances my learnings, and I often stay and help. especially on farms and ranches.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by Bammerman » Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:30 am

I spent one very long government shutdown down in our half-finished basement, stripping bright royal blue paint from the knotty pine paneling, and then refinishing the paneling. It was hard work but I was proud of the results. Maybe you can find something similar to do around your house.

I also spent more time with my children, who were young then. I recall sledding around and over little hills in our tiny yard with them. Lots of fun! Maybe you could spend more time with your children and/or other family members. (Nobody on their deathbed ever said, "Gosh, I wish I'd spent more time at the office!"

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by SquawkIdent » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:23 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:17 am
As a retired Federal employee I am deeply frustrated with the predicament of my former colleagues, and particularly the contractors. My advice for you is:
1. Exercise
2. Read books
3. Do NOT violate any rules of the furlough, i.e., do not take other jobs or travel because you may be called back any day.

Victoria
That was a question I had about "non essential" folks returning to work after the furlough is over. In general, how much time are you given to start working again? The next business day, later than that, etc.?

Thanks.

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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:24 pm

SquawkIdent wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:23 am
VictoriaF wrote:
Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:17 am
As a retired Federal employee I am deeply frustrated with the predicament of my former colleagues, and particularly the contractors. My advice for you is:
1. Exercise
2. Read books
3. Do NOT violate any rules of the furlough, i.e., do not take other jobs or travel because you may be called back any day.

Victoria
That was a question I had about "non essential" folks returning to work after the furlough is over. In general, how much time are you given to start working again? The next business day, later than that, etc.?

Thanks.
When I was in furlough in 2013, we had to report to our Agency every day that we were available for work. When the furlough was lifted we came to work the next day. This may vary by Department and Agency. Above all, if you have a security clearance, do not jeopardize it by breaking any rules.

Victoria
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by riptide » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:18 pm

I hope you as a Federal Employee hang in there and know it will end soon. The back pay for furloughed Feds passed and was signed, so you will be payed. I am also a FED, but an 'essential' (law enforcement) employee. So, I am working without pay for 3 weeks, but having hope things will end. I've had to sell a small amount of bonds to substitute my last check that we did not get...hoping for resolution or will sell a payday substitute in 2 weeks again...
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Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by JediMisty » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:22 pm

MnyGrl wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:14 pm
I am a fed contractor and while waiting to return to work, I'm trying to do home projects that I would normally have to do on the weekends - cleaning out, donating, painting, putting up curtain rods, that kind of thing.

I'm poor, but my house looks fabulous!
Also work on a federal contract. I've been doing home projects and getting maintenance done on my car. The living room really needed painting.

zhy0916
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by zhy0916 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:40 pm

Start a side hustle, if you like to generate some extra income.

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dm200
Posts: 22959
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by dm200 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:42 pm

Catch up on medical and dental appointments.

Visit your children's schools

Read a book

deskjockey
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:15 am

Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by deskjockey » Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:47 pm

SquawkIdent wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:23 am

That was a question I had about "non essential" folks returning to work after the furlough is over. In general, how much time are you given to start working again? The next business day, later than that, etc.?

Thanks.
Yes, next business day for the vast majority of feds.

InvisibleAerobar
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Furloughed Fed Employee - How to make best use of time

Post by InvisibleAerobar » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:13 pm

zhy0916 wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:40 pm
Start a side hustle, if you like to generate some extra income.
that may or may not require prior approval, depending on the agency

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