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Long weekend, and I'm ready

It's a four-day weekend for me, with the combination of my regular non-working Friday and the Monday Columbus Day holiday. I've felt rushed constantly at work: week after next is the big outreach event, and I've got to finish getting the items I want for the display to the cartography unit so they can print and laminate them, plus scrounge up whatever I can for giveaways. Didn't get any USGS pencils or other stuff ordered this year, and with the budget, I'm not sure it would have been approved anyway. There've been more requests for help with various database problems recently, requiring varying amounts of time to solve. Things are getting down to deadlines for the big national water-use workshop in November--I've got 2 presentations to give, the computer lab to run, and must quickly finish chivvying someone to finish the Web registration page. And other misc. tasks, plus... "program development". The buzz words for "find money to pay your salary.


Ed (office chief) is planning to meet weekly with the unfunded people to see how our efforts are going. My group of three met with him and our supervisor today. We each recited our efforts, Ed counted up how many pay periods we thought we had covered, and said to keep working on it. For the record, I need to come up with 26 weeks (13 pay periods) of funding, and have "probables" for 11 weeks (national-level water-use work) plus 3-1/2 weeks (software testing), with ideas for maybe 3 weeks running a training class for the Southeast Region and another 2-4 weeks of national water use that there just may not be money for. So, I'm not doing too badly, and will just keep trying as I can.

I've been checking on whether Ed did as he said he would after our last conversation, and ask the other 8 unfunded people the same questions he asked me (will you reduce your work hours, will you take a buyout). So far, it looks like the answer is no, he won't do it. Word is the buyout list contains very few of the people I think are in the group of 9, and I haven't found anyone who's been asked to cut back their hours except me. In the expected morale drop that times like this cause, rumors are that the list of 9 omits certain other unfunded people, who are not being pressured the way the rest of us are. Another unfunded hydrologist tells me she's being urged to move into admin, as she has a degree in human relations in her background. Here's hoping that my M.B.A. is a deep secret from Ed.

But it's the weekend--I'm watching the Ga. Tech football game on TV, while my father, brother, and my brother's father-in-law are at the game. I gave Daddy the remote for the garage door, and told him to let himself in. The game's likely to go until close to 11:30 and they may be midnight getting back, especially if traffic from the Braves game and the Tech game hits the streets at the same time.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_rolanni
Oct. 7th, 2005 10:55 am (UTC)
I do find this whole business of the employees having to turn up funding for their salaries to be ...more than surreal. I'm very sorry you're having to rustle for money -- and do sensitivity training with an underbred supervisor -- as well as your actual job.
nlbarber
Oct. 7th, 2005 01:27 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how many governent agencies have a variation on this problem-- I know other parts of USGS than the Water Resources area have their salary covered by direct appropriation in the budget, but we get mostly "coop funds" that require another agency to put up part of the money, and then funds that are aimed at 100% Federal projects. When the project goes away, the (generally permanent, Civil Service) employee has no salary, and thus the scramble for new projects to avoid having to RIF.

This "is your salary covered" difference makes it hard for us to work with other parts of USGS on interdisciplinary projects, a big push. They only need money for the travel, lab work, etc., while we have to cover all that and salary, too.

But in the Good Old Days, or at least the Slightly Better Old Days, project funding flowed steadily enough that we rarely ended up in this situation. Ater years of "reduce the size of government" and a de-emphasis on environmental programs, things are really tight.
allyra
Oct. 7th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
Yuck. That's a kind of stress no one should have to deal with. Good luck with it all. :(

Do try to forget all about it this weekend, so you can relax and have fun!
filkferengi
Oct. 8th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry about Ed the Egregious Excrescence, but hope you have fun with your family this weekend.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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