Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Training day

I spent 7 hours in a classroom today learning how to effectively telework. I'm not sure just how useful the training was, or if our branch is ever going to implement telework as a routine option so I'll have a chance to apply some of what I learned today, but the networking at trainings is always interesting. Trainings are one of the few places where people from the different branches at Large Nameless Agency get to interact and swap agency gossip.

Not that there was much gossip of interest today--the only thing that came out was that the Director is a workaholic who assumes that if you're an employee who's been unlucky enough to be put on an electronic tether (aka the Crackberry) you're prepared to answer that thing 24/7. I got the distinct impression he thinks people shower with their smart phones so they can respond instantly to texts, e-mails, you name it. Once again I found myself thinking there are times when it pays to be low in the food chain.  I like my job, at least most of the time, but it's not my life.

The other hot topic was the impending government shutdown. The overall feeling is that it will happen, it will be followed by passage of a spending bill that includes massive funding cuts, those cuts will affect LNA, and there are going to be significant problems down the road. It's hard to say just where those hits will occur, although my personal preference would be for LNA to start jettisoning some of the contractors we use. I've never been able to figure out how any agency can justify paying contractors more per hour than a direct employee would receive for doing that same job, but I see it happening all the time at LNA -- so much for the ideology of the marketplace that claims the private sector can do everything and anything cheaper and more efficiently than federal employees.

As for teleworking, I would love to have the chance to try it. Our manager is not a fan -- she's turned down numerous requests in the past -- but she may no longer have a choice. It used to be a case of the employee having to justify why he or she should be allowed to telework; the new policy (effective any day now) will be that the managers will have to justify why not. It's a notable shift in perspective, and should increase the numbers of people working from home considerably.


  1. The other hot topic was the impending government shutdown.

    Just don't put a date on when it will happen, that's made a lot of monkeys look foolish in the past.

    Just assume that it may happen and get as ready for it as you can. And I wouldn't assume that you will be getting much of a retirement if it happens on your shift.

    If the government goes down and whole lot of stuff is going to go down.

  2. I'd get nada in retirement if the government shut down for an extended period of -- there'd be no one in HR to process the paperwork for my exit, no one to process the application for the pension, no one to process the application for Social Security, and no one to hit the buttons that "mail" the checks to the bank -- at least in theory. It's possible the person who hits the button that gets the computer to keep sending out checks is considered "essential" personnel so won't be furloughed.

    The last time the government shut down, it lasted one day before Gingrich caved -- people freaked out over National Parks being closed, among other things. This time the work stoppage might last longer because it will hit on a weekend (the current continuing budget resolution expires next Friday, March 4) so it won't be quite as immediately noticeable.

    I wonder how the states are going to react to having whole hordes of furloughed federal employees showing up at the unemployment offices on Monday, March 7?

  3. What are they suggesting is the value of having employees telecommute? Are they reducing office space?

  4. Susan, right now many government agencies are in leased space. They've figured out they can save significant money by having people work from home. There's also the green aspect -- fewer people commuting means cleaner air.

  5. I've had a telework agreement for about 5 years now. It's very useful when my daughter has to stay home sick from pre-school; I just have my wireless card and laptop plugged in and I operate from home the same way I do at work. My coworkers know to call me whenever they need me, and it all works fine.

    It's really useful for "continuity of operations." (I don't know if LNA is big into that like we are.) So if we get 12 inches of snow, those of us with telework agreements don't take annual leave or try to battle our way in to work--we just sit at home with our mobile office stuff and do business as usual.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.