Author Archive for Alan Zilberman

The Shutdown Diaries: It’s Almost Over (Probably)

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
It looks like the furlough is almost over. This afternoon, my Twitter feed is as frenzied as it was in the day leading up to the shutdown; journalists and news outlets all reported how the Senate introduced a deal to fund the government and extend the [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: Possible Rage

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
About a week ago I was out with a journalist friend of mine, and I asked him for advice about what direction these diaries should go. His reply was basically, "I want to see you in full-on rant mode. You're nearly there anyway." It would certainly [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: Disengaged

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
Today is a federal holiday. It's Columbus Day, which means no federal workers are in the office anyway. This is one of two weird holidays—Veteran's Day is the other—where few others beyond federal employees enjoy time off. Many private companies fold this holiday time into different [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: Worse than Congress

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
If there is anything people hate more than Congress, it's a heckler at a stand-up comedy show. Last night I went to the opening night of the Bentzen Ball, the start of a four-day comedy festival that's at venues all around the city (full disclosure: I'm [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: A Trio of Firsts

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
Yesterday I attempted my first furlough nap. This somehow seems significant: Last week, I did my best to take advantage of my free time, whereas now I'm eager for it to pass quickly. I couldn't get a wink, of course. I've never been good at naps, [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: Now Accepting Pity Food

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
It was kind of inevitable, but now my friends are making me food out of pity. Yesterday I biked from Columbia Heights to U Street to meet my friend who made me (delicious) gluten-free macaroni and cheese, as well as beef stew that I'll probably have [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: Misanthropic Indulgence

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
When I'm not furloughed, Tuesday is the day when I work from home. It's ironic: the Office of Personnel Management pushes hard so that many federal employees have the option to work remotely, yet the technology for my agency is woefully out of date. I cannot [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: An Unchanged Weekend

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
Some good news arrived early on Saturday. The House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of giving federal employees back pay after the shutdown is over, and the president supports the measure. I'm of two minds on this development. On one hand, I'm glad I'm going [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: Deathfest and Dying Experiments

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
I was enjoying the all-day happy hour at Del Campo, a Peruvian/Mexican restaurant in Chinatown, when news first broke about gunfire at the Capitol Building. Like everyone who tried to follow the story as unconfirmed reports flooded news networks and twitter, part of me wondered whether [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: No One Wants to Talk (Yet)

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
My alarm wasn't set for this morning, but I wake up at the usual time. It turns out my internal clock is indifferent to the ongoing negotiations between Congress and the president. As the shutdown continues, I find I'm learning things about myself. For one thing, [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: A Comfortable Cushion

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
I forgot to turn my alarm off this morning. When it comes to my alarm, I'm usually a little masochistic: I set it to a blaring ring at 6:45 a.m. with the intention of slamming the snooze button at least six times. This is my way [...]

The Shutdown Diaries: The Sunny Snowpocalypse

I am a nonessential federal employee. This is my shutdown.
The federal government has no dress code policy. I learned this when I attended mandatory sexual harassment training earlier this year—or was it last year?—and the equal employment opportunity officer explained we could wear whatever we want. The only rule is that we don't violate the [...]

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