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Top 10 signs you’re operating under a continuing resolution

December 22, 2010

Getting Congress to pass a balanced budget is harder than convincing Santa Claus to participate in the biggest loser. So it’s no surprise that once again the 111th Congress has managed to pass a number of bloated bills but not the Omnibus, providing funding for our federal government. With no new appropriations bill, federal offices are operated at or below the previous year’s budget levels and for the most part, not taking part in new hiring or purchasing. As a formal federal government employee who went through the continuing resolution  process a time or two I wanted to pass along the top 10 ways to tell that your office is operating under a CR.

1. The EPA visits your office and discusses methods for decreasing the amount of toilet paper used in your office. Which is shocking considering your office hand-washing habits are already a huge boon to water conservation efforts.

2. While a few months ago your head of resource management purchased $20,000 worth of office chairs in order to spend end of fiscal year 2010 dollars, your stapler has since disappeared and you’re forced to bring in your own post-it notes.

3. Bake sale profits raised to support the office Christmas party are diverted to cover your boss’ TDY (work travel).

4. Training funds have been cancelled until further notice. Which is fine because you were worried that ethics training refresher was going to bring about a lot of unneccessary guilt anyway.

5. Your team lost two workers this spring. After a six month interview process your boss finally informs you that they don’t have the funds to hire those positions – but you can go ahead and keep doing their work, without compensation, right?

6. Your biggest office gossip is recruited to supplement the heating system. But despite the supplemental hot air, your office is rocking a North Pole chill – you’ve resorted to keeping a snuggie at your desk.

7. In response to rampant abuse your office actually assigns an intern to guard the communal coffee pot. Anyone attempting to sneak a cup of Folgers without paying reaps the consequences.

8. Using the copier now costs 5 cents per page, which is a real hassle because at those rates you won’t be able to print your family Christmas letters at work like you did last year.

9. You walk into work one day to find Abasi, a nice young man from Kenya, sleeping in your cubicle. He’s a part of a new government hosteling program. For just $30 a night, you, too can sleep at the Department of Interior.

10. Santa Claus came to the office Christmas party. But all he brought you was your stapler.

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