In addition to this blog, you may not know that I have been a Federal employee for 23 years. As a public servant, I have dutifully and responsibly fulfilled my obligations and done my job to the best of my ability. But during this government shutdown, I am not getting paid. Not having to go to work is all fun and games until your bank account misses that money and you are no longer able to pay your bills.
This government shutdown has been humbling.
I have worked hard to achieve the position I hold and never in my life did I think I would be in need of assistance. But here I am. And it’s hard, y’all. Asking for help seems so simple, but it’s the hardest thing I have done since Hurricane Katrina. Federal employees are a proud people! We work everyday to serve the American public so asking for help from those same people is not an easy task. Especially when some requests are met with statements like, “you’re still going to get paid eventually” or “why didn’t you save more?”
So, I wanted to suggest ways you may be able to help your furloughed Federal employee friends during the government shutdown who may be reluctant to ask for assistance. They may not be willing to step up and ask for help, but I guarantee that an offer of help will not be rejected.
- Invite them over for dinner. One hot meal means one less meal they have to worry about and can use that money for other bills.
- Support their side hustles. Does your friend sell T-shirts on the side? Or perhaps babysit, do hair or walk dogs? Book an appointment with them!
- Take them out for a cup of coffee. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have passed up my local coffee shop everyday in an effort to save money. I know, this is a total first world problem, but what I wouldn’t give for a Starbucks right now!
- Drop off dinner at their home or invite them to grab a bite to eat. (See #1)
- Drop by and visit! No need to bring anything at all, just entertain them!
- Offer to take the kids to do something fun. We have spent every weekend at home since the shutdown and to say that the kids are restless is an understatement.
- Send a random gift card in the mail. We could all use some cheering up these days!
- Clip coupons. Have any coupons you’re not using? I’m sure a furloughed friend would take them off your hands!
- Drop off a goodie box. Grocery bills are expensive so donations of toiletries, food, or paper products can go a long way in stretching the budget.
- Just send a card or offer support privately. Many Federal employees are shying away from social media during this time to avoid stress. They may not be shouting from the rooftop that they need help. But a kind word or offer of support is always welcome!
With any luck, we will be back to the jobs we love sooner rather than later. If you have other suggestions or know of places willing to help Federal employees affected by the government shutdown, please leave them in the comments.