Government Shutdown

Are You an "Essential" Federal Worker? Survey Sez: Nope!

|

feet on desk
starmanseries / photo on flickr

With the shutdown looming, and "non-essential" personnel facing furlough, The Washington Post asked a bunch of federal workers whether they thought of their jobs as "essential." The whole feature is hilarious and worth a read, but here are some highlights:

National Gallery of Art museum specialist:

"There are no art historical emergencies!"

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered species biologist:

"Wildlife habitat will remain intact; as no permits for development will be issued. Wild flora and fuana [sic] can feed themselves."

State Department employee:

"I wouldn't mind some days off."

Workers at the EPA in particular seems to have a healthy sense of perspective:

Environmental Protection Agency scientist:

"My work can wait."

Environmental Protection Agency employee:

"I'm not working on anything that is life threatening."

Others had a grander sense of their job functions: 

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission environmental engineer:

"Do you like electricity, cooked food, a warm shower, a heated home, and the ability to comment on major projects affecting the lives of all Americans?"

U.S. Marshals Service investigative research specialist:

"I am the power behind the throne…my job supplies the deputies with the facts, figures, and forms to go out and remove dangerous fugitives from off the streets. Deputies call me far more often than I call them for information relating to the apprehension of some of America's most wanted criminals."

Interviewees were also asked whose jobs are essential: 

Bureau of Land Management Deputy Division Chief:

Who is essential?

"Law enforcement rangers, fire fighters, caretakers for off-range wild horses and burros."

Are you a federal worker? Go add your own two cents.

NEXT: Does Enforcing the Fourth Amendment Increase Gun Violence?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Can I be an essential government worker too?

  2. I am the power behind the throne

    Brilliant. I also like:

    Meat & Poultry Inspectors are classified as essential. Private wholesale meat businesses cannot operate without inspection.”

    “I’m essential, because the people I harass will go to jail if they try to work without my harassment.”

  3. I’m a scientist. Not federal, but a contractor who would also lose their income and their ability to support my family. Is science essential for America to advance? We also support students. Is education essential?

    DELICIOUS

    1. Is education essential?

      Internet of the year.

      1. i have laerned most of my knowledge from books, website, forums, wikipedia, and other sources so i would argue internet and other sources are far better information than school.

    2. Yes, there are a number of people who can’t separate the idea ihat the job is essential to their livelihood from whether the Union can survive in good repair without them for a month.

    3. Is science essential for America to advance? We also support students. Is education essential?

      “We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education … And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
      – Frederic Bastiat, The Law

  4. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission environmental engineer:

    “Do you like electricity, cooked food, a warm shower, a heated home, and the ability to comment on major projects affecting the lives of all Americans?”

    Sure do. And I’m thankful for all the (semi)private firms who provide those things. Also it’s pretty clear that you’re stretching on that last one.

    1. No comments tomorrow – that will change your anti-government tune.

    2. I might have gone to school with her.

      1. Would have been a good catch, she makes six figures.

        1. Yeah, but she doesn’t understand where electricity, food, water, homes or heat come from.

  5. “Cemeteries are filled with indispensable men.”

    -Samuel Clemens

    1. I’ll be damned if I don’t love that quote.

  6. Of course, any Federal agent involved in inspecting/licensing/stamping the papers of any business subject to Federal regulation is essential because without them, any action taken by those businesses is uninspected/unlicensed/unstamped, and therefore, illegal.

    Regulate everything, and when the regulators are unavailable, it all crashes down. Not because things become impossible, but because they become illegal. It is the ultimate exercise.in question-begging circular logic.

  7. “I am the power behind the throne

    Wait, I thought it was water pressure that enabled the flush?

    1. And who do you think is there to provide that pressure hmmmm?

      1. A douchebag? Large, of course.

    2. I AM THE PUBLIC TOILET MAINTENACE WORKER… LOOK ON MY WORKS AND DESPIR

  8. Environmental Protection Agency employee:
    “I’m not working on anything that is life threatening.”

    I beg to differ.

    1. The residents of Chicken, Alaska probably agree with you.

  9. Of course only Dear Leader is essential.

  10. Here’s a guy the revolution won’t be kind to:

    Drug Enforcement Administration intelligence analyst:

    “Because this is my job. They hired me to a do a job and they should honor that contract. You shouldn’t deem one person in a group of 5 non-essential bc that person is “the newest to the unit”, you are now punishing people for mobility and diversity.”

    Who else is essential?
    “I don’t think any of us are more essential than the next.”

    Oh my.

    1. I can’t be the only guy who read that in Cyril Figgis’ voice.

      1. I’m sorry, did you say Faggis?

  11. A list I saw on another site.

    NBC’s Pete Williams has a post today listing the government shutdowns of the past, unfortunately the list is largely unreadable thanks to two huge floating ads. So, here it is (all starting times are midnight on the date given):
    September 30 to October 11, 1976 (10 days)
    September 30 to October 13, 1977 (12 days)
    October 31 to November 9, 1977 (8 days)
    November 30 to December 9, 1977 (8 days)
    September 30 to October 18, 1978 (18 days
    September 30 to October 12, 1979 (11 days)
    November 20 to November 23, 1981 (2 days)
    September 30 to October 2, 1982 (1 day)
    December 17 to December 21, 1982 (3 days)
    November 10 to November 14, 1983 (3 days)
    September 30 to October 3, 1984 (2 days)
    October 3 to October 5, 1984 (1 day)
    October 16 to October 18, 1986 (1 day)
    December 18 to December 20, 1987 (1 day)
    October 5 to October 9, 1990 (3 days)
    November 13 to November 19, 1995 (5 days)
    December 5, 1995 to January 6, 1996 (21 days)

    1. And they were ALL caused by obstreperous Republicans!

    2. 110 days where the debt wasn’t increasing. Not many for the past 37 years.

  12. I’m paid out of a revolving account. So I am still going to be at work the rest of the week.

    Though I did get clarification that I can take PTO next week.

  13. A friend of mine at the Library of Congress posted a picture taken outside of it, stating that as a result of the shutdown, all LOC websites will be inaccessible.

    There must be someone there, whose job it is to press the button, which keeps the websites up, every 108 minutes.

    1. It probably has to do with electricity that is being used to power the servers.

    2. You need better friends.

    3. There must be someone there, whose job it is to press the button, which keeps the websites up, every 108 minutes.

      And if they don’t, the entire island will blow up.

  14. DOD 2nd Grade Teacher? Nope.
    Any civil lawyer? Nope.
    *.analyst? Nope.

    The firefighter, okay. NOAA should be entirely privatized, but since it isn’t, okay.

  15. Essential over what time period? There are jobs where if no one does them for a week, it’s not a problem, but if no one does them for a year, it becomes a big problem.

  16. “There are no art historical emergencies!”

    Oh, I wouldn’t say there are none.

  17. DNC isn’t any better at managing it’s own budget than it is at managing the country’s:

    The DNC is nearly broke

    Obviously rich Democrats need to start donating their fair share.

  18. Forest Service GIS specialist:

    “While most of the time I analyze natural resource data, I occasionally make maps for emergency situations. The resource planning can wait. But if a fire pops up (or some other emergency, i.e. the floods in Colorado), maps are needed.”

    This person is totally non-essential, forever.

  19. “Who is essential? … caretakers for off-range wild horses and burros.”

    Because, OMG what will happen to those wild horses without their caretakers.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.