Ten tips for surviving the shutdown

October 8, 2013

Earlier this week, we asked federal workers for strategies for getting through the shutdown. Many of you wrote in with advice for your fellow feds. Below are the top tips for surviving the shutdown if you’re a federal worker on furlough.

Got an idea for a tip of your own? Submit here.

1. Talk to co-workers; don’t keep your worries bottled up. And go do things with your co-workers. It helps since you can commiserate, and you can help each other feel a little better. (via Patricia Irwin, Social Security Administration and April Conway, Peace Corps)

2. Set up a budget and see what you can do without. If you are fine financially, consider giving to organizations that help other federal employees. Consider directly helping the co-workers you can in whatever small ways you can. (via Judith Pelowski, Internal Revenue Service)

3. Try to volunteer some of your furlough time. You can’t volunteer for the federal  government, but you can in your local community. (via Benjamin Richards, NOAA)

4. Get good, hard exercise! Generate some dopamines, sweat a lot, and work out the anxiety! (via Victoria Friedensen, NASA)

5. Be mentally and physically prepared to seek short-term employment elsewhere (to lessen the full impact of the furlough). (via William Calvo, U.S. Air Force)

6. Be vocal with your elected representatives. (via Barbara Petersen, Department of Defense)

7. Get out of bed at the same time every day, Monday through Friday, like you are going to work. Have a routine. (via Rod Dickson, Department of Housing and Urban Development)

8. Take this opportunity to further your career. Study something new, deepen your knowledge of some critical skill, enhance your professional reputation through volunteer work. Learn what you need to know for that next step up the career ladder. (via Nicholas Ritchie, National Institute of Standards and Technology)

9. Stay positive. Don’t whine, at least not in public. There are many envious of our situation and rightly so! This is temporary. (via Dan Mertz, U.S. Department of Agriculture)

10. Apply for unemployment. If you don’t get paid for a long time, the unemployment will help with some bills. Even if we get back pay and need to repay the unemployment, it is still good to have the cash flow during the shutdown. (via Joe Ramsey, Internal Revenue Service)

Bonus: David McDaniel of the Department of Defense recommended this Facebook group on “How I spent my furlough day” to help “stick together.”

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