Furloughed feds told it’s okay to work at coffee shops, retail

October 14, 2013
AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
(Ron Edmonds/AP)

With no end in sight to the government shutdown, furloughed federal workers aren’t sure when their next paychecks might arrive.

Those checks, it turns out, might not come from Uncle Sam: Some feds are picking up side gigs, and at least one agency is telling workers that it’s okay to accept jobs including “positions with coffeehouses, book shops, clothing and department stores,” as long as they clear it with counsel first.

Can you say “would you like fries with that?”

According to guidance issued by the Energy Department, though, employees must use their personal e-mail accounts to contact the department’s lawyers (provided that they’re not furloughed).

Other permissible money-making activities include teaching (like yoga, or languages), creative writing (um, yeah, because there’s a lot of money to be made there), or telemarketing. Not cool are jobs with DOE contractors or others with business before the agency.  The guidelines are the same as when there’s no shutdown at hand, though the halt in funding, in which 61 percent of the Energy Department’s workers, has certainly made the question more relevant.

Hey, there’s always bartending, like the job that one White House staffer has taken on during the furlough, and with the way things are going, we’d expect plenty of thirsty folks in town.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.
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Al Kamen · October 14, 2013