Defining the Line between the Job and the Person

Over the past few days an interesting question has been posed to many federal employees. In the OPM shutdown furlough guidance it is stated that a federal employee can not volunteer to do their job. So where is that boundary between who I am as a professional and my job?

This week this was my new motto on boundaries:

Skeletor Affirmations

From Skeletor Affirmations

For all those that think I’m exaggerating… “Unless otherwise authorized by law, an agency may not accept the voluntary services of an employee.” ( 31 U.S.C. 1342.)  This perspective is easy to understand for a position with duties such as collecting fees, writing a NEPA document, or writing a press briefing. But in a position where you just work with software to create  products makes for a fuzzier line. Can you offer software advice? Process steps advice? Is your knowledge tied to your job or you?

Over the years I’ve had what I’ve deemed an eclectic career and many inquiries I receive are due to the totality of my experience, not my current employer. Many times the Rolodex in my head is my most important asset.

Previously, I have lived the existence where when people ask who I am I described my employment. My free time, my focus, my interests all reflected back to my employment and position description. My current position is very prescribed and defined by the hours I am at the office. This  allowed me to draw positive boundaries this week.  I can honestly talk as me without concern.

I am learning  that branding me independent of my position or agency is an important concept to explore. Especially when furloughed.


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