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"Pegasus, and flying fish, and woodsmen made of tin"

Sunday, February 03, 2013

This is a tale. One I need to tell. Because I am sick and tired of so many people having the wrong idea about what we do, and what we're worth. It's a long tale, a rant, even, but I need to get it off my chest. This is not weight-loss related and it is my own opinion, seeing it as I am from ground zero. But it does affect my over-all health and welfare, and, well, it's my blog.

I work for the Government. I catalogue library books, so I neither have, nor want access to any secret government underwear. Uh, documents. Sorry, I had a What’s Up, Doc? moment there. (Funniest movie EVER!)

Any road, I’m going to have my say. I am so sick and tired of, well, everything, and I can’t take it anymore, so, since no one reads this anyway, I’m going to vent to my heart’s content!!!!

Both my husband and I work for the Department of Defense. As I said, I catalogue library books. My husband repairs vehicles. He was in the Navy, did his six, as they say, and went to school on the GI Bill getting simultaneous AA degrees in Diesel Repair and Small Engine Repair. He’s now given nearly 20 years of his life in service to his country, and I’ve given nearly nine.

No, we don’t go to combat, we don’t deal with state secrets, he no longer goes to sea, but we do serve our country in our small ways. Just like millions of other Civilian employees do. We are proud of the work we do, and we work hard.

Just to set the record straight :

Yep. We have access to health care, but it’s not free. Between the two of us we pay about $130 dollars a month. That’s not bad, I know, but that also gives us $500 deductibles each and $40 co-pays, so it’s one of those where we pay on the back end rather than the front. Kind of a pay IF we use, as opposed to pay ahead in case we need, if you get my drift. We can choose from a number of plans, but this one has worked best for us.

Yep. We have a retirement plan. It includes something that’s called a TSP, which is basically a 401k that we need to pay into. The government matches funds to a certain point. It’s very like the plan I had when I worked at Musicland. I do not get free retirement for life, or anything like. At this point, I’ll be lucky to have any retirement at all.

Yep. We get sick time and vacation time. And we can generally use it as we need it. This is the greatest benefit we get, I think, especially with Al having to have both of his hips replaced, one colon explosion, and a failed colon re-connect. We can also receive leave time from other employees who have built up enough time that they may lose it at the end of the year. A donor program that helps tens of thousands of Federal Employees per year.

Yep. We do make good money. For us. A livable wage for once in our lives.

We do not make in excess of $100,000 each.
We do not get free health care.
We do not get a living retirement paid for us.
We do not sit around drinking coffee and gossiping all day long.
We do not ‘suckle at the teat of the government,’ taking everything and giving nothing in return.

I’m not saying that there aren’t lazy and shiftless people who work for the government, because those people exist everywhere. I’m not saying that there aren’t people who are paid much more than we make for less work than we do. I’m sure there are.

But this is not the case for the majority of workers. Most of us are trying to eke out a living like everyone else in this country. We go out to eat once in a while. Maybe take in a movie or go mini-golfing. My big splurges? I get the MLB packet on Directv so I can watch my Red Sox play all summer. I pay to run in races to help me keep fit and help charities. Like you. Little things.

We serve our country. We work hard and are proud of the work we do each and every day, and we are sick and tired of being used as pawns in Congress’s inabillity to do their job. Yes, the budget needs work, and this Congress is paying for the inability of the last one to get their collective heads out of their collective butts and actually make a decision. But that’s their job!

And because of the inability of Congress to do the job it’s supposed to do, we are, once more, facing furloughs. It looks like the DoD may go with the plan instituted by the Navy, where every Civilian employee works 32 hours per week from April through September. That’s a loss of eight hours a week, sixteen for us and the many like us here in this small, rural area where both breadwinners are dependent on our Government jobs. Done the math yet? A loss of 64 hours pay a month. For six months.

Multiply that by the tens of thousands of Civilian employees across the country, and all of a sudden you see the slowly building economy start to collapse. I know I won’t be able to afford to go out to eat. I won’t be able to go to a movie or get my MLB package. I need to call the hospital and tell them I am cutting my payments by a third because I won’t be able to afford what I’ve been paying in an attempt to pay off Al’s medical bills as quickly as possible.

And Al will have his next surgery because Ostomy supplies are expensive and never-ending, and this specialist believes he can re-connect Al and be done. But that adds another medical bill, and fewer dollars with which to pay it.

But I can’t complain, can I? I’m lucky to have any job at all. Especially one where all I do all day is sit around and drink coffee and gossip.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I hope the government acts soon. Putting workers in this limbo is just not right. I did not view your blog as a complaint at all. Stating facts and wanting congress to work in a timely fashion...whats wrong with that? Shame on the person who commented she couldn't finish your blog...unless she has walked in your shoes, she has no idea how frustrating or hard things can get. My husband works for the State Government. In the past 5 years, because of furlough days, higher health premiums, higher medical deductibles, he has lost $6000 every year. We have cut to the bone everything we can. So I understand how the uncertainty of your future affects you. It's very scary. You are a trooper! You have proven how strong you are so many times. I hope the furloughs don't happen and I hope you find out soon. Thinking of you! emoticon
    1905 days ago
    Oh and I just read your eloquent rebuttal! Two thumbs way way up!
    1906 days ago
    You vent any time you wish. I read your blog! :) I luv ya chicky.

    The threat of loss of wages looming is always scary. I just went thru a BIG wage loss too. I lost 4 customers in 3 weeks time. It was half my income for the month. Sucks. I have figured out a way to wiggle around it and BARELY squeak by. You guys will figure it out too. Stinks that you have to though.

    And for the woman who "couldn't finish" your blog. She sucks too. What a crappy thing to say. This is YOUR blog, you can vent about whatever you want even it is trivial. Which this isn't. I hex her with sodium weight gain for 3 days

    Besides all that, from what I read, this seems to be more a rant about our government and the perceptions of government employees than a complaint from you anyway. Seems to me, from what I read, that you are THANKFUL for your job and benefits. Considering this is a basically free country and you work hard for a living you are allowed to complain. Anyone who contributes to society earns that privilege.

    Big Hugs

    Voodoo Maker- out! lol
    1906 days ago
    Like all of us, I am a selfish creature. As I said at the beginning, this is my tale, and as such, I was telling the part that was upsetting me right now. Do we have it better than many? Absolutely. Just the fact that Al didn't die when his colon burst makes me feel pretty dang lucky. He came close.

    I guess this blog makes me seem shallow and thoughtless. Funny, the point, the main point of all this was that I was tired of being judged by people who didn't have a clue.

    HOW DARE I complain because I have a good job but will have to face hard times?

    I'll tell you how I dare. Because I've done my time. Yep. The past ten years have been, job-wise, and money-wise, the most secure of my 35 years of marriage. I've done the years of rice and beans. Hell, the weeks of eating nothing but turkey dogs and stale doughnuts and thanking all the gods that places SOLD stale doughnuts so we could afford them. And moldy cheese. I'm not talking bleu cheese, either, but cheddar and Jack. The Albertsons used to sell moldy cheese and that's what we bought and cut off the the mold as best we could. I've eaten my share of vegetables out of dumpsters and not because it was some groovy 'freegan' bull ship. Because if I wanted vegetables that's the only way I could afford them.

    When my daughter nearly cut off her toe on a piece of roofing, I scrubbed it out and cut the torn bit of tendon and poked the rest back in. I poured an entire bottle of Apinol on it. I taped it up and shook for days worried that it would become infected and I didn't have a dime to pay a doctor.

    Oh, and then there was the time we were evicted because we complained about the landlord re-roofing the garage without giving us the requisite 24 hour notice, and nearly ruining Al's motorcycle. Our only means of transportation at the time.

    And through it all we worked at whatever jobs we could find. Midnights at the plastic factory? Been there, done that. We worked and worked and companies failed and we were homeless again.

    So I'm really sorry if my worrying about losing the cushion we've worked so hard to build for ourselfs offends people. But ya know what? Too barking bad.

    1906 days ago
    I couldn't finish your blog. You have it so much better than so many people, and yet you are complaining.....
    1906 days ago
    I know exactly where you are coming from. I was in public schools for 25 years and heard people talk about teachers make too much money...well not my state as it ran neck and neck with lowest paid states in the USA..we live rural also and it is hard at that hubby and I are both retired we make even less but am so thankful for what we have and I certainly feel your pain of loss of makes it so much harder and Congress gets paid to do nothing and they get free medical and pay for the rest of their lives..they should be the ones to be cut not the true workers..but they still keep saying we are out of recession and unemployment numbers are better but they aren't in the real world and see the ones who have just given up and not looking for work any I will agree with you 100% here. emoticon
    1906 days ago
    I can FEEL your frustration. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to constantly hear about a few bloated, unnecessary abberations all the time as thought they were the norm. I hear the same thing about the clients I assist (in the mental health field) almost daily--they are a drain on the system, they are bilking taxpayers out of their hard earned money, they are living high on the hog while everyone else foots the bill--and it makes me want to tear hair out in frustration. And I absolutely agree with your assessment--we are digging ourselves further into the hole and need real solutions that work for those--like you and the husband--who are working their behinds off on a daily basis.

    I'm thinking of you in this difficult time and sending you tons of care, concern, and support.
    1906 days ago
    Yes you can. Not all of us hold government workers in low esteem. I'm sorry you and Al are having such a rough time. Blessings for his successful surgery and for you more support. emoticon
    1906 days ago
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