I'm one of the many people in the US who is currently sitting idle at home because some members of Congress have decided that because they don't like the Affordable Care Act, and they don't like our President, that they are going to just not pass bills to fund parts of the federal government. So I've been sitting idle during the day for the last two weeks. Actually no, I really haven't been sitting idle. I was actually on vacation with CW in Seattle when the shutdown first happened, but since coming home, it has meant doing stuff around the house such as catching up on some of the projects that can and will plague a homeowner. Well, as much as we can anyway because we've also had plumbers in who are fixing the crazy and not up to code piping that the previous owner tried to hide. So yeah, waiting on that project to be done before we can really move forward. I'm in school as well and I've been doing bits and pieces of a paper that's due this week, but it's been slow going because right now, my motivation is shot.
Seriously, I'm just tired and frustrated at the whole situation and what has gone on. Really, as a federal worker I've been a punching bag for that last several years from Congress and others because somehow they've all gotten it into their heads that I do nothing while at work and that somehow my job is not essential. Really? Am I somehow now a terrible person because I went into the federal government instead of going into private industry? Yeah, okay, I know, I shouldn't be taking this situation personally because it's beyond my control and I really had nothing to do with it. However, it's a bit of a quirk with me right now that hasn't quite resolved itself, let me explain:
The week before the shutdown I was participating in an international conference of software developers in the language I regularly work with. Since our agency was one of the entities sponsoring the conference, I was involved with some of the planning and other logistics for the conference. I also presented a poster detailing some work I had been doing, namely because I thought that it wasn't quite enough for a paper unless I really wanted to stretch things out pretty thin. In summary I talked about a script that performs data verification during live entry to avoid duplicate entries. It's something that isn't a large script, but getting it to fire off at the appropriate time took some work and I decided to share that knowledge. Well ultimately a few of the other attendees saw my work and became interested, and one of them asked for a copy of my code because they had a similar requirement for data verification and were trying to figure out how to accomplish it. I was more than happy to share my code with them because I knew that it could help them out in their own work. I found out later from another attendee that the ones who wanted my code were actually rather excited about what they had seen to where they were talking about it with other programmers while they were all out at dinner. To me that kicks ass, to know that my work can also benefit other people who want to do the same things that we are doing. Besides that, I love going to this conference. It's the fourth one I've been to (would have been five if I didn't have to have my appendix yanked out three days before it started) and the second one I have made a presentation at. I know a number of the developers who attend, and we all share some great ideas and learn a lot. It just ends up being a very good time for growth of career knowledge and to do a bit of socializing and networking.
Now contrast that with what has happened now. I just did this amazing thing and people are excited about it and we are excited to try new things with the new versions of the language that are being developed...and now we can't because none of us are allowed to go to work. Not only that, but we're not allowed to go to work because some other people have decided that our work is not essential. We're nothing to them. Ugh, it just feels like a slap in the face to me and yes, I do still take it a little bit personally. I want to get back to work, I want to actually accomplish something that's worthwhile. As much as I can enjoy downtime, there's only so far that accomplishing a few new levels in Guild Wars 2 or playing through Phoenix Wright can accomplish. Hell, it actually shows in my work for school, because I've pretty much been idled, it's kind of killed my motivation. I seem to draw on being busy and having tasks to do and a large part of that has been taken away and other things that it could be filled with can't be accomplished right now.
In the end, I just would like to get back to work and to actually be appreciated for the work I do once again.