This government shutdown and furlough situation is awful. I’m scared and depressed. My unit has both essential and non-essential personnel but I’m one of the unlucky non-essential people. We got a very brief email from the big boss the night the budget was supposed to be approved. It told us not to come to work if Congress didn’t get a budget through by midnight. No other information was provided. I’ve been stuck at home since October 1st, and have no clue what my agency is doing about this and what may or may not happen. When I called my immediate supervisor, he emailed me back with no information but told me to listen to the news and wait for another email from the big boss. Not an ounce of compassion! It sure would have been nice to get a call instead of an email and to have heard he cared just a little. There are only three of us non-essential personnel in my unit. Not knowing how long this will last and whether or not my pay will be restored is very scary to say the least. Do you have any advice?
Frightened furloughed federal employee
Dear Frightened furloughed federal employee:
When I worked for the federal government, we went through a similar situation back in 1996. I was in management and deemed essential but quite a few of my employees and colleagues were deemed non-essential and suffered through the same things you are dealing with. Your immediate boss could handle this situation better. Even though he may not know anything, he should keep in touch with you on a daily basis or at least every other day with an email, text or even a brief conference call, even if it is to let you know he knows nothing. It will show he cares. Keeping you and your two colleagues in the loop is so important.
I realize management has a lot to contend with during these uncertain times, but it is important for them to recognize that more likely than not, it is much more difficult for those who are furloughed. On a positive note, you obviously wrote me before the House of Representatives passed a bill granting back pay to all furloughed federal employees, and the White House indicated it strongly supports the bill. Hopefully, the Senate will follow suit. Restoring back pay to federal workers is something Congresses have always done after previous shutdowns. Hang in there! Best of luck!
How would you deal with a customer who doesn’t want the level of service you think he needs? A customer of mine is satisfied with what I consider to be subpar. My more thorough services would not cost him anymore than what I’m providing him now, but it would require more of a commitment and acceptance of change on his part, which would be to his benefit. I’ve tried talking to him but I quickly realized he wasn’t on board. I’m struggling with this because I feel like I’m failing to give him what I know he needs. Any suggestions?
Struggling with uncommitted customer
Dear Struggling with uncommitted customer:
Sadly, I have walked in your shoes and completely understand where you are coming from. I have come to the conclusion we can do but so much if our customers are unwilling to buy into our recommendations. It sounds like you have provided yours with a thorough assessment of his needs and how you can address those needs. The only additional thing you may want to consider doing is providing him with something in writing, a comparison sheet illustrating what you are doing for him now versus what you could be doing for him, along with a list showing the difference in the benefits of the two. Sometimes, seeing things in print versus hearing about them can be more impressionable. If he still refuses to make the changes, take comfort in knowing you did everything in your power to help him. Bottom line, you are giving him what he wants. Hang in there!
© 2013 Rozanne R. Worrell