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Dear PoP – Short Term Employment Options in Case of Shutdown?

by Prince Of Petworth April 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm 132 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoP,

I, along with the rest of our neighborhood’s federal workers, am about to get furloughed – aka sent home without pay due to Congress not being able to settle on a new budget for the federal government. I am looking for full-time or part-time (anything, really) work in our neighborhood (Columbia Heights, Petworth, Mt. Pleasant, Admo) I could do temporarily until they decide to make us go back to work. The problem is that we don’t know how long we are going to be furloughed for – it could be a few days, could be a month – but regardless I need some sort of income starting next week while I’m not getting paid, otherwise I won’t be able to pay my rent on time. Does anyone know of a job that I could get quickly in our neighborhood which wouldn’t mind hiring me temporarily? Does anyone know of any place that is hiring?”

  • Instigator

    Let the political flame war…..BEGIN!

    • NotScott

      Um, I thought everyone in the district was a Democrat? I thought all the GOP folks lived in NoVa…like gang territories or something.

      Here’s what I want to know: what will happen to defense contractors in NoVa if it shuts down?

      • joker

        depends on their company.

        Since our national security agencies aren’t shutting down, and the intelligence and dod communities are by far the largest employers of contractors, I assume those contractors will be fine.

        Other contractors wouldn’t technically get their time paid for by the feds, but their individual companies may continue to pay their freight, especially if its a short shutdown. I know a handful of contractors whose companies stepped up and covered them during the shutdown last time.

        • Defense Contractor

          I support a DoD agency and they’d be shutting down. But we’re already funded so we’ll still be working (luckily a have a nice workload to keep me busy while my clients are out).

        • Jen

          Intelligence agencies ARE shutting down, except for the employees that are deemed essential. They give the official notices to government employees on Monday (making them come in to get official notice). If you’re a contractor and are funded (like me), then we just work at our home office instead of the actual agency, as long as it’s unclassified stuff.

      • Rosie

        Contractors still get paid, woo hoo! Most (including mine) are pre-funded through the end of the fiscal year, or at least the next few months. Surely the shut-down won’t last THAT long!

  • Andy (2)

    You can apply for unemployment and volunteer.
    I think Chipotle is hiring in the district.

  • Area Man

    Thank the republicans for this.

    Seriously, we should have freed the slaves, armed them, and refused to let the South back into the Union.

    This would be a much, much better country to live in had we done so.

    • Southern girl

      Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin. Wouldn’t have helped. Idiot Boehner is from Ohio. Karen Bachman–Minnesota. It has nothing to do with the South.

      • E


      • To be fair, though, without the South, they wouldn’t be in the majority and would just be irrelevant kooks.

      • Area Man

        Point taken – I’m painting with a broad brush.

        But the South is the region that gave birth to the root ideology that underlies white American Christofascism. I stand by my original comment.

        • How?

          The more you talk, the more confused I get. So this budget battle is about Christianity and fascism? I thought it was about the fact we spend almost twice as we take in annually as a country and we’re facing the largest deficit and debt in our nation’s history.

          • Area Man

            You’re either being willfully ignorant, or you’re extremely new here and have never seen a Tea Party rally on the mall.

      • Anon

        Who is Karen Bachmann?

    • How?

      Confused how the Republicans, who have put forward a CR, are responsible when they don’t hold the presidency or the Senate?

      • Don’t play a fool you know darn well who is at fault here.

        A 5th, 6th, or 7th (I have lost count.) CR is not a budget or a compromise.

        • How?

          Right, by definition a CR isn’t a budget. And the fact is we don’t have a budget for FY 11 because Democrats never passed one. So again I ask, why is this Republicans fault?

          • Anonymous

            It’s the Democrats fault because they were too chicken to even try to pass a budget last year. They were worried about losing seats in the midterms. Luckily that didn’t happen.

            It’s the Republicans fault because they refuse to compromise now when they are still a minority party and they are adding meaningless policy riders to a budget.

            Satisfied? Democrats are spineless and weak. Republicans are shifty liars. There are no winners here. I’m pretty shocked that only 16% of the population blames both parties. That’s how blindly partisan this country has become.

          • sunsquashed

            Because the Republicans are refusing to ok a budget or CR which doesn’t include massive cuts to social programs. These cuts would hurt the economy, the environment, and the weakest, and poorest members of our society (while helping the filthy rich). All politics involves compromise. The Dems have compromised (way too much in my opinion) but the Republicans are refusing to budge from many wack-ass crazy demands of the Tea Party wing of the Republican party. If the Republicans cannot pass a budget or CR that can be signed off in good conscience by the Dems, then it is the Republicans fault for shutting down the government.

          • DC Rizz

            B/c last year, the Republicans in the Senate wouldn’t allow the Dems to pass an FY11 budget. Simple as that.

    • Anonymous

      Of course, Eleanor Holmes Norton and the Dems had the Presidency, the House and the Senate for 2 years and they didn’t feel it was a priority to get independence for the District.

      And the one time they did have a bill, they whiffed on it.

      You can’t blame your enemies, when you miss the chances you’re handed.

      • Yeah, blame the home team when every bill, no matter the subject, was voted NO by the republicans.

        They did nothing during this time except say no.

        Be ashamed if you are a republican.

    • Mr. Poon

      This makes very little sense. The Democrats were the party of slavery and the Klan. That’s not to say they’re related to modern Democrats; only that your point is somewhat nonsensical.

      And there would certainly be a party of smaller government today, irrespective of our civil war history. If our nation only consisted of northern states, you’d still have something akin to Labour vs. Tories. Civil War history or religion isn’t relevant at all. The question of federal spending and taxes exists in every democracy on the planet. Sorry guy.

      • djdc

        It infuriates me when the stumpers talk about “taking back” the country. They say it as if they want to reclaim “their” property stolen by foreign enemies. They’re talking about their fellow Americans.

      • Mr. Poon

        You might be right about all this and Poon tends to avoid the political speak on PoP. I just don’t think we’re still talking about your original point that arming slaves and becoming a nation of northern states would have prevented budget disagreements 150 years later.

        Speaking of the Civil War, next Tuesday is the 150th anniversary of Ft. Sumter. Poon’s baking a cake.

    • Anon

      You are aware that it was the republicans who freedthe slaves, correct?

      • Anonymous

        These are not your father’s Republicans. I’m sure I would have been a Republican if I lived in Georgia in 1964 but that was before the racists switched parties and the moral majority reared its ugly head.

      • steve

        AHAHAAAA! best, most ridiculous argument of the day award. pat yourself on the back, ignoramus.

    • Ben

      You realize when Congress originally should have had FY2011 budget planned the democrats were in majority? However they didn’t want to do anything controversial save they might not get re-elected.

      I blame the Dem’s just as much as I blame the republicans. Term limits in Congress would do wonders for this country.

      • MSF

        Yeah…but the Republicans were filibustering left, right, and center if it was something they didn’t agree with which was pretty much everything. So there was only so much the Dems could do when the couldn’t get 61 votes if they didn’t either capitulate or drop it entirely. Have to say, it drove my up the wall. Yet somehow, the Dems couldn’t be coordinated enough during the elections to run on the “Republicans are acting like petulant children” strategy to smack them around.

        And it didn’t help that too many Senators were hedging on reelection to come out strongly for Obama’s vision and try to sway public perception to their side. The Dems just don’t have a Palin or Glen Beck doppleganger (but not as batshite crazy) to sway the independents.

        • Ben

          Which is why exactly term limits are needed. Instead of worrying about re-elections they (and by they I mean all parties involved) should be worrying about running the damn county.

          Politics was never meant to be a career but a service to the country. I realize returning to that ideal will probably never happen……

          • NotScott

            The irony of the notion of term limits for the elected government in a thread on the permanent government (technocrats though some may be, most are lobbyists) is deliciously funny.

            Yes, indeed, let’s term limit the poor schlumps so that after they spend 10 years doing mostly fund raising and finally garner enough knowledge and power to actually effect anything, they’re gone.

            Term limits are the most insidious bit of double-speak faux-populism there is – funny how the the class of ’94 did so well with them. This is right up there with the ridiculous construct that money is the same thing as speech.

        • How?

          You can’t filibuster the budget, per the Budget Impoundment Act.

  • LCM

    haaaahahaha, sorry buddy, but you’re not going to find any temporary work for the furlough.

  • steve

    I don’t believe you can apply for unemployment. you’re not unemployed.

    try a temp agency.

    • Said

      Agreed. I think a temp agency is the way to go and I’m truly sorry that you and so many others will be personally impacted by this nonsense. Here are a few temp agencies in our area:

      Kelly Services
      This employment agency helps people find temporary and permanent jobs in science, law, technology, engineering, education and many other fields. Several offices are located in the Washington, DC area.

      Telesec Corestaff
      Find long-term, short-term and temp-to-hire positions in over 100 job categories. Several offices are located in the Washington, DC area.

      AA Temps
      This staffing firm provides temporary, contract, temp-to-hire, outsourcing and subcontracting services throughout the Washington, DC area.

      Net Temps
      Recruiting center places individuals in full-time, part-time and contract positions throughout the Washington, DC area

      This is a political, legislative, and public relations staffing service for temporary and permanent positions in Washington, DC.

      • Anonymous

        I just wanted to drop in here and say this is such a kind and thoughtful response. A+.

      • C

        I’d also recommend Ruthi Postow Staffing on K Street. Most of their placements are very short term (2-7 days), and start with 24 hours. I had a good experience with them last year.

        • We glad to hear you had a positive experience working with us. If you know of anyone who needs assistance with their job search, feel free to refer them to us and we can give them a call or you can have them submit their resume through our Web site.

          • Proofreader

            Seriously? “We glad to hear. . .” You are promoting Ruthi Postow temp agency this way?

      • LisaT

        Now THAT was helpful.

    • Nic

      Actually, federal employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits. The requirements vary by state, but if the government is shutdown for a week, those affected may be able to file a claim.

      • anon

        I disagree. What we have heard here is that you have to be unemployed to get unemployment benefits. You still remain an employee of the government if furloughed, and your letter will state that.

        • Jen

          That may be what you have heard HERE, but what the government and our agency’s Director is telling everyone via email, web postings, and FAQs listed everywhere on our sites here, people CAN file for unemployment.

  • perhaps

    Sunday would be a nice day for a yard sale…

    • Anonymous

      Yeah… get creative. Offer to wash people’s cars, or clean houses, or tutor some kids.

      • E

        oh! a furloughed worker yard sale/car wash/bake sale/booze-a-thon would be a great idea. :)

        • Anonymous

          Advertise it like crazy (get the major news outlets interested) and you’ll be rolling in cash.

          • ess

            just make sure to have it at night or a weekend so those of us who are still earning money can attend!

        • 4nature


  • Dirty McPop

    you can apply for unemployment, but the paperwork and hoop-jumping would probably take longer than the shut-down will last.

    if you apply to chipotle, make sure you don’t have brown skin, or you won’t be working there for long.

    • Anonymous

      I just ate at Chipotle and there are plenty of brown skinned latinos there.

      Maybe they’re just hiring LEGAL brown skinned latinos now.

      What a concept.

      • Said

        Truly repulsive.

      • Hispanic and Proud

        Don’t like your racist remark.

        • anon

          How is the remark racist?

      • To the NON at 1:14pm

        Please go back to Ruby Ridge, they were all white up there.


      • Anonymous

        I personally know a couple of Latinos that work at Chipotle.

        • Riggs

          cool story bro

  • Anonymous

    Do you have any skills you could freelance out? If this ever happened to me I’d put up some ads on craigslist offering my photography or culinary services (of course, I’d make it clear that I’m an amateur and offer a reduced rate so there are no misconceptions).

  • Anonymous

    unemployment won’t kick in until you have been unemployed for a week. Also, if there is a shutdown, you still have to follow the government’s ethics rules, which say that you can’t work for any organization with interests that are against the government, i.e., not just anti-government I mean parties that are in a government proceeding who disagree with an agency’s policy on something. Also, we can’t recuse ourselves during the furlough to seek new employment. Bars should be full – maybe I can be a server for a little while.

    • JR

      +1 for reading all those documents you signed when you started working for the government.

      OPM has a website dedicated to the furlough. Try reading it, instead of trusting a blog.


      • Prince Of Petworth

        God forbid someone gets info from a blog. The horror, the horror!

        I don’t understand why you can’t just give the OPM link like you did without being a jerk about it. Always amazes me.

        • The sad but true reason is that some people just enjoy being jerks, on blogs and even in real life. Some people enjoy putting others and their ideas down; others, making themselves and their ideas seem superior. Usually these people have some fairly deep-seated insecurities and/or self-loathing that deserves pity.

          • JR

            It was merely a comment on the idle speculation taking place versus going to the source of the information.

            In any case, I consider my hand smacked.

        • Marcus Aurelius

          Gotta say PoP, you might not like JR’s delivery, but his advice was spot on. And his tone is far from the snarkiest I have read in this forum.
          Nothing wrong with getting info from a blog but there are times when you should really go with an expert – or with the employment documents you signed when you got hired and the specific advice being disseminated by your employer about (and against) outside employment.

          • Ellen Ripley


  • Anonymous

    Everyone should be eligible for unemployment benefits if “unemployed through no fault of their own.”

    Your office is closed temporarily, it’s considered a “lack of work” or a temporary lay-off. No different than seasonal employees who are let go after the holidays.

    You would still have to prove that you’re available and looking for work during the shutdown.

  • Kev29

    Independent Pharmaceutical Consultant

    • 10th & Monroe

      Is that code for “deal weed”?

      • greentdc

        No, not at all. It’s code for “Get elected to Congress, don’t do your job, then screw over actual hard working govt employees while you still get paid for not working.”

        • 10th & Monroe


          I was hoping for the weed code. Either way, funny.

  • Ben

    Might want to be careful, Federal Employees are actually PROHIBITED from taking on outside work unless previously approved (see opm.gov).

  • Anonymous

    It’s tourist season– why not crash on a friend’s couch and rent out your place for a week?

    • Anonymous

      Also, is’nt trash collection being suspended during the furlough? If you have a car you could charge people to haul their trash to the dump.

      • saf

        I think the dump will be closed too.

        • Michael

          Boner’s front yard will be open though!

          • Mad as hell

            Seriously, where does that asshat live? I say we all take our recyclables to his front door and have a group sorting. Or just leave it there.

        • rooty tooty

          No, I believe that Maryland will in fact be open all week.

      • Anonymous

        Sit outside the library selling old books.

  • WDC

    Manual labor, like housecleaning and yardwork. It’s spring, so people will be looking for someone to spruce up their yards. And they’d be more willing to trust a garden-loving analyst furloughed from the federal government than a day laborer hanging out at home depot. Just hope you get paid better.

    • Anonymous

      Lots of people are moving this time of year, too. If you’re not strong enough to life heavy furniture, you could still offer to pack boxes or do move-out cleaning.

    • Anonymous

      I second this idea. Lots of jobs — mowing, mulching, raking, weeding, painting, cleaning houses, etc. don’t really require that much skill, and lots of people have a need for these. And who’s to say that maybe you don’t have some skill beyond that (handyman-type stuff)?

      I’d post yourself up on Craigslist for whatever kind of work you like to do. It smacks a little of the guys who hang out in the parking lot at Home Depot, but there’s a reason they do that — supply meets demand that way. Just don’t get greedy and expect to be paid like a full-time professional who is licensed, bonded, and insured and has some reputational interest in doing a great job (or at least refraining from stealing from people’s home). People (including me — any feds up for playing in the dirt in my yard?) would probably hire you to do odd jobs like this. But if you’re charging the same as the guy who does it full-time, I’m probably going to default to him on the basis of experience and professional credibility.

  • Cat63

    I understand that during the 1995 shutdown furloughed federal employees were paid for the shutdown time retroactively. Not a bad deal if you have a little savings to tide you over for a few weeks.

    • E

      unfortunately i bet there’s a lot of kids out there making $25k a year who don’t have any savings.

      • Anonymous

        regardless of how much you make, one should always have some savings. Its idiotic if you make 25k and spend 60% of it on rent alone to live in a group house in DC.

        • steve

          it’s so easy to say that one should always have savings, and yes, they should. but you can’t live off of 25k in dc, and you can’t get a job somewhere that you can live off 25k, so cut this person some slack. we also have no idea what they’re dealing with… it could be bad spending, but it could be student loans, medical expenses, lack of trust fund (oooh), or the fact that housing and food costs are insane.

          that said, does this person have a credit card? they should be mostly for emergencies and building up good credit when you’re young so taking a few hundred dollars out on the card to cover rent is reasonable. as long as you have an immediate plan to pay it back when the furlough is lifted.

        • joker


          I am constantly amazed that people who claim not to make much money, spend half their income on the trendy address and the other half at the bars every month. There is a severe lack of financial planning skills out there.

          Doesn’t anyone put away a rainy day fund anymore? Jesus…even putting away $20 bucks a week totals more than a thousand a year.

      • I had a $1000 in savings making $19K during the last furlough. I think my housing was 50% of my take home.
        I’d like to think that the federal workforce is filled with smart/educated persons who had enough sense to figure out the KSAs to get a job will have enough sense to weather this, which I’m betting will last a few days, no more than a week.

        • steve

          oh my god. how is it possible to be a gov’t worker and only make 19k? are you part time?

          • steve

            I don’t want the tone to sound bad on that comment… I’m mostly in shock that the gov’t wouldn’t pay all salaried employees a living wage.

          • LCM

            She said it was in the LAST furlough… so that would be the mid-90’s. I can imagine $19K would have been on the low side of average for a federal worker then.

          • It was back in 1995-96 when I made that (see http://www.opm.gov/oca/95tables/html/dcb.asp ). I was a GS-5. Now GS-5s make $34K and up. I haven’t encountered too many fellow feds in DC who are less than a GS-5.
            I also lived in a roommate situation and had student loans from under grad and grad school. I had a credit card and made sure that my monthly obligation to it didn’t go above $50.
            Saving is like excerising, it isn’t that hard if you’re already in the habit of it.

          • Anonymous

            If you have a college degree and a halfway decent GPA (mine was a 2.9) you’ll qualify as a GS-7. I don’t know what they pay a GS-7 now but when I started in 2005 it was $57k.

        • hired as a GS-11 in 2005

          Anon from 2:46 p.m., did you have a typo in there?

          I entered the federal workforce as a GS-11 in 2005 and was making (if I remember correctly) $54K.

          The current locality pay table at http://www.opm.gov/oca/11tables/pdf/DCB.pdf shows D.C.-area GS-7s as making $42K.

          • Anonymous

            No typo… and that salary was in line with what a typical entry-level engineer was making in 2005. They wouldn’t be able to get anyone to fill that position if they paid them less.

            Was working for the USPTO if that makes a difference.

          • Annie

            Certain job positions carry a premium… engineer would be one of those but yes, most GS 7’s start off in the $40k’s.

    • Clarissa

      A scenario that’s quite unlikely to happen again. I first heard that we are absolutely NOT being paid, then later heard that it would be decided after the budget is passed.

      It’s a lousy way for me to spend the money I otherwise would have put towards my 1st vacation in years. And I’m lucky… many people don’t have that small cushion to fall back on.

    • Annie

      The political climate of this shutdown is very different from the ’95 shutdown (ahem, Tea Partiers) and most speculation is that we won’t be backpaid so it’s really not something that should be counted. on.

      • Anonymous

        Yep. And basically half the states in the country have furloughed state govt workers without pay. There is not going to be a lot of popular support to pay federal workers retroactively for an unplanned vacation when state workers nationwide have not been treated with such a light touch.

  • Anonymous

    I have some gardening you can do.

    Also, can you swing a hammer?

  • eb

    I’ve actually heard ideas out there that ENCOURAGE “laid off” feds to pursue unemployment, at least as a way to get states involved in pressing for a payment of back wages after we reopen. The argument is that if a state has a large number of federal employees, and enough of them file, it could really effect that state’s budget.

    I’m not informed enough to advocate this position my self, and would only be effective if there were a shutdown over a week or two.

    Any thoughts?

    • Andy (2)

      That is why they have done it in the past. This would be a big deal for DC, MD and VA with a huge proportion of their workforces employed by the U.S. Government.
      It is your right to claim unemployment and you should do it.
      Start to file on day one – its online for DC.

      • Tres

        Yes. File online. You don’t even have to go into the DOES offices. It literally takes 5 minutes.

        Do that and volunteer. Take a couple days off, spend another couple helping out some worthy causes.

        Of course, the next question is whether or not DOES is even staffed during this time. You should still file regardless, as the money will be paid out to you eventually. And as the above folks mentioned, claims online can be tallied easily, sending a political message.

  • Anonymous

    Stop panicing so much, it shouldnt be more than a day or two, maybe a week.

    Dont you all have any savings or spend it all at Wonderland Ballroom?

  • Anonymous

    Get stuff from Freecycle, spruce it up, and sell it on Craigslist. I know a guy who made some good money doing it.

  • J Street

    I for one will be hanging outside of Home Depot waiting to jump into the first contractor’s pick up truck that would have me. I hope that the locals don’t get mad!!

  • If you’re a fed, you’re a fed whether or not on furlough. Which, as effed up as it sounds, means you’re bound by executive branch ethics rules when it comes to outside employement.

    • Jessica

      The rules don’t say you are not able to work a second job. The rules largely limit how much money you can earn in that second job. That’s the biggest issue. I had two jobs when I worked on capitol hill. Good thing I never made any significant money on the Hill so I didn’t have to worry about that rule!

      • Jobs on the Hill are usually within the legislative, not executive, branch of the federal gov’t.

  • pop-up owner

    Pay-Day loan? Oh wait, that option is gone, but would have been very applicable here.

    Oh well, have funny servicing folks in that alley and off of OPM’s radar screen.

  • Allyson

    Federal employees are eligable for unemployment. From OPM’s website:

    Q: Are employees entitled to unemployment compensation while on furlough?
    A. It is possible that furloughed employees may become eligible for unemployment compensation. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Some States require a 1-week waiting period before an individual qualifies for payments. Agencies or employees should submit questions to the appropriate State (or District of Columbia) office. In general, the law of the State in which an employee’s last official duty station in Federal civilian service was located will be the State law that determines eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. (See the Department of Labor website “Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees” at http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/unemcomp.asp.)

  • pumpkin

    I would pay a federal worker $100 to clean up the leaves and weeds in my front and back yards. Especially if they have a clearance! Also, if they know how to lay tile or do drywall we can work something out. This should be a Craigslist posting.I’m all about helping out my fellow Fed

  • ag

    You’re an idiot.

    There’s no getting around the fact that living in DC is expensive. It costs more here than other parts of the country. Surely you’re at least smart enough to know that?

    How much govt workers are fresh out of college/grad school? Some of these people haven’t even been working one year. And yet you’re saying they’re irresponsible because they don’t have enough saved up to last for an unknown amount of time without a paycheck? When you’re not making a lot of money (and a lot of govt workers aren’t), it takes awhile to save up enough money to cover your rent/loans/bills in DC for an extended time period without an incoming paycheck.

    I’m SO glad for you that your job allowed you to instantly save up thousands of dollars. Not all of us are that lucky.

    • ag

      And I’m the idito because I didn’t even properly reply to the person. The idiot I was referring to was not POP or the OP, but anyone who acts as if govt workers who don’t have a ton of savings are irresponsible.

      • 10th & Monroe

        I kind of agree, I guess. Then again, I’ve been at my job just over six months and have saved $2500 in savings and something like $5K in my TSP.

        Living alone is great, but I do think a lot of folks shell out an absurd amount of money for the rent. Group houses are so much cheaper, and the social capital you earn by living with a few roommates when you’re young is invaluable.

        That being said, I didn’t have student loans to repay, and I started at a GS-9. I know not everyone it that lucky, and I totally sympathize with anyone who’s left in a pinch thanks to the shutdown.

    • Nice Try

      It’s a little hard to listen to the financial complaints of people who recently spent time in the comments section of this blog bitching that they can’t find a one-bedroom apartment in an appropriately trendy neighborhood for under $1600 a month, so they’d just have to suck it up and pay for it. Srsly?

      Especially when numerous people just kept telling them to “up the amount they were willing to spend.”

      No, housing in this town is not commensurate with salaries. If we stopped being retarded and insisting on location, location, location, this might not be such an INCREDIBLY HUGE DEAL OMGOMGOMG to so many people.

      • ag

        You have no way of knowing how much those people are making. I agree with you that people shouldn’t live beyond their means, and if you can’t pay 1600 for a one bedroom, then you probably can’t live in the “trendy areas.” But it’s not “cheap” to live ANYWHERE here. And I don’t think it’s that easy to save a lot of money on a government/public interest salary. You’re just assuming that the people without savings are blowing all their money on rent without considering other possibilities.

        • Nice Try

          Actually, it’s exactly what I’m reading and hearing. This very blog had a long slew of people saying that it’s totally impossible to find a one-bedroom for under $1400 a month and one should totally be prepared to pay more than that.

          Also? There have been a disproportionately large amount of spazz outs because people won’t be able to pay next month’s rent in comparison to the number of employees that are newly hired and fresh out of school.

          So yes, I am assuming, and that’s why.

          For the record, it is absolutely possible to find less expensive rents within a reasonable commute to most federal offices. There may not, however, be the perfect dive bar and coffee shop on the corner.

          • Ben

            Ehh I have to chime in here – I posted the “sub 1400 rent” question because I’m in a comfortable position (don’t need to move etc) and I have seen decent places rented for that price where I want to live (although rare).

            Because I’m in no hurry to move I was willing to wait it out until I I found what I was looking for, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I could afford more – but I’m hesitant to spend more then 33% of my income on student loan payments and rent. Then again I also have about a several months of living expenses in savings (with more in stock), so maybe I’m not the person you are attacking?

          • Nice Try

            No, I am not attacking you because you’re clearly handling it in a manner that is responsible (33% of your income, etc).

            I’m attacking those that told you to add a grand to your budget because you were clearly being unrealistic.

    • Anonymous

      I saved $10k my first year out of college, working for the federal government. My rent was $950 and I had loans but I still had that college student sense of frugality.

      • Anonymous

        Oh and I also had about $5500 or so in my TSP.

  • S_M_R_T

    Shoot. I just started my fed job (yet to get paid)and ran out of unemployment at the beginning of last month.
    Instead of fretting, I bought myself a motorcycle. Because I’m smart. That’s what I’ll be doing if we shut down…. enjoying a mascera and heels free day (or three) by cleaning carbs and eating leftover rap snacks from the wrappers in my yard.
    OP-nobody knows for sure, but this looks like it’ll be a couple of days to a week. Tighten up your food budget, suspend your gym membership, and make a few other cuts here and there and you’ll be able to make up that loss. You can do it. If not, I’ll share my rap snacks.

  • DC Dirty Jobs

    Spittoonier? Here are a couple suggestions–courtesy of Brian Weaver and his run for DC Council At Large:


  • Charlie
  • Rosie

    Jailbreak I-phones! apparently you can make $50k a year doing that according to the article in the wapo express today.

  • CG

    I’m a little surprised at the sarcastic responses in this thread. I graduated from a good school last year, spent a while on campaigns and just recently took a job here at a political consulting firm getting paid 30k. I could easily see myself in the same position as OP; especially being newly employed. I think some posters here are somewhat far removed from the recent grad lifestyle. Entry level jobs these days are not glamorous and not well paid. It’s not easy making it on $2,500 a month pretax with little savings, high rent (even in a group house), and loans. Now take all of that income away; good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Do not sign a year long lease if you are living month to month. That is just bad planning

  • Me

    Promotion gigs.

    You can sign up through companies such as Encore Nationwide, Fusion, or GC Marketing. A couple years ago, I lost my job on a Monday, signed up for a Wii Fit gig at a carnival in Arlington or Alexandria (can’t remember) that following weekend and made $1000 working Thurs-Sunday. They usually pay $16-20/hr and you are treated as a contractor so taxes aren’t deducted from your paycheck (allows wiggle room that you will have to pay back when you file). One downside, takes about 4 weeks for paychecks to arrive. Hopefully, you have at least a month of expenses saved (if you don’t get on that ASAP!) so you should be ok.

    No furlough, but keep that bit of advice in your back pocket just in case.


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