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The Government Shutdown Reveals a Brutal Truth That Few People Are Willing to Admit

By Jeff Haden, Inc., Jan. 14, 2019

A friend has worked for a federal agency for more than 20 years. He likes the work. He likes the hours. And he likes–well, liked–the security. He’s had other opportunities along the way, but he liked the stability working for the government provided.

As long as he did his job, he figured, his job, and he and his family, were safe.

Until now.

Another friend works at a hospital. Generally speaking, hospital jobs are like government jobs: If he did his job, he was pretty safe.

Until now. Administrative missteps have shattered his community hospital group’s financial position. While it’s unlikely to shut down, the hospital is ripe for takeover by a larger system. And who knows what may then change: Pay rates, benefits, work schedules… a professional life that seemed highly stable may suddenly be anything but.

Most of us are largely untouched–at least directly–by the government shutdown. Maybe you can’t get into a national park. Maybe you wait longer to get through airport security.

Or maybe it affects you more directly. Possibly your rural home loan is on hold because a USDA office is closed.

And of course if you’re an affected government employee, your life has definitely been disrupted–and with seemingly no end in sight.

Unfortunately, that’s always a possibility when you work for someone else.

Take me. I walked in to work one Monday as 17-year employee with consistently outstanding evaluations and a reputation for hard work, dedication, and being the go-to person for the projects no one else wanted to take on… and later that day got fired and was escorted from the building as an ex-employee.

I never saw it coming.

And that, unfortunately, is the nature of work. No matter how well you do your job, things inevitably change. Industries shift. Cultures shift. Organizations lose funding. Companies lose customers. Stuff happens.

Stuff you can’t control.

Forget the politics of the shutdown, or who is right or wrong, for a moment. (If only because I’m not smart enough to know the solution to the current political impasse.)

When you work for someone else, your upside is always capped. Sure, you might occasionally get a raise, but in most cases, three to four percent is great.

Yet your downside is always unlimited, because getting fired or laid off can make your income disappear overnight… and with it all that time, effort, and dedication.

What you have today can be gone tomorrow.

That’s a fact–and it is a fact–that you should not only keep in mind, but act upon.

Which is why, if you work for someone else, you should always be looking.

Because you never know.

And because you may never know, if you aren’t looking, when better opportunities exist.

And you should always have a side hustle going. Even if it’s more hobby than business, that’s okay. If you lose your job, it’s a lot easier to ramp up a small venture than it is to start something new. And even if you don’t lose your job, your side hustle can help you develop skills, talents, and connections that will pay off at your full-time job.


And who knows: Your side hustle may turn into a real business. And then you’ll be your own boss.

And while your future still won’t be guaranteed, at least you’ll control it–which is the best reason of all to be an entrepreneur and start your own business.

You never know what other people may do. You can’t control what other people may do.

But you can always control what you do.

Fun day at work

So, I work in libraries, and at the main one people rotate which room they are in during the day. I was working in the children’s section, and a guy came in to ask for the code for the public toilet. He came back about a half hour later and started acting weirdly.

He started saying I was very pretty, asked for my name and how old I am, how long I’ve worked for the libraries, and then started asking if I liked him. When I didn’t answer as I was busy reading book and then the phone rang, he followed me to the desk and then asked if I was a lesbian or something.

He also asked if I wanted his number and to ring him later.

Of course, he finally left about a minute before the duty officer arrived to deal with him, so it’s left me shaken. I have an hour and a half left here, and I’ll have to fill in an incident for to get it reported as it was technically harassment

Anonymous said:  I currently work at a vets office (as a cleaner/assistant) and several of the vets I work with have an unfortunate habit of taking on too much or not realizing when they are doing something wrong. One in particular is a very slow worker, yet she will try to take every work-in appointment we get. She also doesn’t take responsibility for her mistakes, is extremely flighty, and usually blames others. How would you suggest someone handle this?

My suggestion is that it’s probably not your issue to handle if you’re a cleaner/assistant which will put you fairly low down the pecking order when it comes to approaching other staff members about what they’re doing wrong. That sort of discussion and advice should come from another vet, or the practice manager.

You should, however, be able to bring these issues up with either another vet or manager in a fairly confidential manner. It’s helpful if you’re able to list specific examples of events on specific days to illustrate a point, because a manager can’t go and say “So I heard you do this thing, generally, in a non-specific way” but they can detail events that happened and talk about them specifically.