Ever since the '80's I've had the sinking feeling that most Americans would be just as happy if the Federal workforce would just greet the alarm clock's piercing shriek by just rolling over and returning peacefully to sleep with a contented sigh . What else could explain the bewildering sequence of efficiency sapping measures that continue to assault our collective productivity?
Now we're confronted with a new bill in Congress that would encourage more Federal workers to spend more time outside the workplace where they can work free of the prying eyes of nosy supervisors and the distraction of annoying colleagues.
Congress is concerned that only 10% of Federal workers actually work from home. They evidently think we should work from home whether we want to or not. Or, better yet, just stay the hell out of the city and don't bother with that work part. They want every agency to have a Telework Managing Officer, surely a new low in the senseless proliferation of "officers" in the civil service. It's also viewed as a very effective way to attract new candidates, though perhaps not as effective as the mere fact that we've got lots of jobs and the economy really sucks. People are also saying that more liberal telework policies would have helped the Feds manage through last winter's blizzard better, but I don't remember people having any trouble working from home during that mess and why would you pass a law to deal with the storm of the century? Even the phone company can't handle all of the calls that get made on Mother's Day.
There's only one explanation for this nefarious piece of legislation, an explanation that I have to reach deep within the darkest, dankest depths of my paranoid soul to reveal. It's a Republican plot slash the productivity of the Federal workforce and eliminate those pesky rules, regulations, and orders that we tend to produce on our more lively days. Think about it:
1990s - Federal government shuts down amidst showdown over the Federal budget. We all get to stay home and goof off for a good long time, no work gets done, but we got paid (well, I would have gotten paid, but I was in the private sector then grousing about the Federal hacks getting paid for doing nothing). Clearly a Republican conspiracy to shuttle every train on every Federal track off into the land that time forgot.
1990s - Al Gore invents the Internet, introducing the concept of telework and creating the endless slippery slope of declining productivity. Very crafty bit of Republican gamesmanship because somehow they got us to think this was a WIN! Clearly they are masters at this game.
2000s - Wrapping himself in the friendly garb of St. Nick, President Bush grants Federal workers extra holidays around Christmas and early release for various and sundry other Federal holidays. We all loved it, but I knew in my heart that I was being manipulated. Sigh. I'm such a tool.
2000s - Faced with the storm of the century, Federal offices in the DC area are shut down. Productivity plummets but paychecks get cut. Mine too! Bonanza.
Surely the evidence leads persuasively to the conclusion that a cynical, invisible hand is steering Federal workers into the abyss of broken dreams and low expectations. When George Will argues on behalf of a productivity-busting measure and Sean Hannity sings the praises of the idle Federal employee, there can be only one explanation.
Here are some more things to Ponder:
Hello Kitty Day - Word has it that Congress is planning to honor Hello Kitty and Miley Cyrus with Federal holidays, giving Federal workers two more days off during the year and cluttering the calendar with more Federal holidays than Catholics had Holy Days during the Middle Ages.
The Day After - Congress is reportedly drafted legislation that would declare the day preceding every Federal holiday to be a holiday in its own right. And the day before that? Also a holiday. And so on. Tumbleweed will blow listlessly down the streets of the Nation's capital as the lights go out all over town and stay out year-round. A perfectly unproductive environment at full employment! Something Republicans and Democrats can both agree on!
DC After The Vote
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OK, so I'm slamming the Feds pretty hard here - but that's OK because I AM ONE and I'm JUST KIDDING! So don't get all worked up about it or anything.