WASHINGTON—As cuts from the sequester start to kick in, federal employees are finding themselves working longer hours than ever.
Marge Milotta, a senior office management specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs, used to get every Friday off. But on March 1 she received 30-day advance notice that she will be furloughed only one Friday per two-week pay period.
“Friday’s when I catch up on my soaps,” said Milotta. “Now I’m gonna have to cram two days’ worth of watching into one.” Although Milotta does keep a television at her desk, it doesn’t have TiVo.
Like Milotta, many other civil servants are struggling to come to grips with the realization that they are now going to have to work nine weekdays out of every ten.
“That’s just cold,” said a nameless, faceless bureaucrat. “I would complain to my congressman if I understood the Hatch Act well enough to know whether that’s allowed.”
Federal workers will also face greater competition for shelf space in the fridge. Said Milotta, “Oh, I’ll find a way, even if I have to move Kevin’s sandwich to the freezer to make room for my cobb salad.”
The White House was quick to condemn legislators for putting politics ahead of what’s best for the country. A press release noted, “If Congress persists in cutting federal spending, agencies could be forced to become more efficient. That could mean the loss thousands of clock watching public sector jobs.”
Another major cost of the sequester is wear and tear on the furniture. Furloughs of one day per pay period will mean a 12.5% increase in the time many civil servants spend sitting in their office chairs.
Though some staffers do have standing desks, that just makes things worse for the carpeting.