I changed my job about 6 months ago. It was a needed switch-up in order to pursue some personal goals. One of the main reasons was I was aiming for a stable environment with time to dedicate to adventures outside the office. I re-joined the federal government as the sequester hit and experienced the first government shutdown in seventeen years. How’s that working for me?
I accepted my job during the last couple of days before the sequestration hiring freeze. I snuck in as one of the last ones hired before the great pause. I was onboarded during a hiring freeze. I did a double take as the agency adjusted, the belts were tightened (yet again), and the new normal took over. Sequestration was just part of my new reality.
For those who don’t know me well- I’m a serial government employee. I’ve worked for the government directly for over 13 years and the years I worked in the private sector my clients were primarily government. Heck, when I’m in the government many times my customers are other government agencies or employees.
I settled into the new job, got to know my new colleagues, re-engaged with old colleagues, joined committees, and started feeling like things were coming together. Projects started getting handed to me and things started into a groove. <sigh> I should have known better.
Up to the Friday before the government shutdown of 2013 I was being reassured by many people with very lengthy careers that it wasn’t going to happen. The day before the furlough the tone changed and people started talking about taking plants home.
Now, please don’t get me wrong….While stressful and disorienting, the furlough does not make my top 5 most challenging events I’ve encountered in my career. I’m not sure it even would make the top 20. We had a strong community of federal employees who supported each other and informed each other during this event.
Through all of its challenges, it’s good to be back in my federal family. I have an amazing job. I am enjoying this opportunity immensely. On a daily basis, I am among wonderful professionals supporting the field. With this said, it is noticeable that these times are different. The atmosphere with the sequestration and shutdown is unlike what I’d seen from the seasons of 1993-1997, the years from 1998-2006, or 2009-2010 in the federal government.
2013 has been different. It wasn’t what I expected as I searched for stability. Luckily, I am where I need to be. It’s working out just fine.