What federal employees should do during their furloughs

In September, 2009, I sent an email to syndicated columnist Jim Pawlak, author of the Career Moves column, titled “What I did on my furlough day.”
I myself was not furloughed, but many employees of the city of Dallas, Texas began a series of mandatory furlough days during the city fiscal year that began September 1, 2009. It was the Labor Day holiday weekend, and I thought about where I was in my work life and what the future might hold.
So, I wrote a list of things that I would do if I really were on furlough or lost my job. Mr. Pawlak polished it up a bit, and it was published in newspapers around the country on October 4, 2009.
It was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on page 5D.

I found it again in a Palm Beach, Florida newspaper.
This is a URL link to it:


I would move number 19, about calling my wife, to the top of the list.


This URL is not working on July 20, 2016, and the online edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram available through Access World News does not include this page.   I am trying to find copies of the text of his column of that day, but have not been successful.

Some of the things in my list were 1. updating my resume 2.  looking at my investments in my retirement fund and making decisions about retaining or changing investments.  3.  Reviewing my presence on social media to see what potential employers, or my current employer supervisors, to find out about me.    4.  Going to the library to find the periodicals and newspapers that were relevant to my career, including those that I could read online through the library’s subscription to a database 5. Signing up for RSS (really simple syndication) newsfeeds that would send me a list of articles each week based on keywords of my choice 6.  Meeting the librarians and staff at the library 7.  Visiting an unemployed friend to review their resume, offer suggestions for improvement and recommendations about books at the library that I thought were good for resume writing and job search methods 8.  Finding professional groups that met in my local area or at the state level whose meetings and conferences I could attend as a guest or member 9.  Participating in public speaking training programs, such as Toastmasters International 10.  Reviewing my job description, and deciding how it fit into the work and goals that my leadership wanted to accomplish.  Start a plan to change what I do to be a better fit what leadership wanted.  11.  Decide what parts of the work that I do could be eliminated or reduced, so that I have time to develop experience in higher priority work.    12. Practicing use of presentation programs such as PowerPoint, which I rarely used, or spreadsheet programs.   Locating copyright free, public domain sources to use to populate my practice guides.  The Government Publishing Office Catalog of Government Publications website,  the USA.gov  website, the  Fedstats web site, with thousands of statistical tables in .html, .xls, .xlsx  formats,  the website of Congress, which now has a URL of congress.gov, and other federal government websites, such as the ones with royalty free photographs. 13.  Finding copies of the cover letters and resumes of recently interviewed candidates for jobs, attempting to glean information about what made them more attractive than the rest of the applicants.  Comparing myself to them.  Where do I need to improve my skills, or learn new knowledge, to keep working here, and perhaps elsewhere if my job “evaporates”.   14.  Looking for jobs and responsibilities that other employees did not want to take on.  These might be “unglamorous, grunt work jobs”  These could be opportunities for me to learn new skills.  I might meet other people doing the same work at other units of my employer. I might  even become the leader of a task force or committee that takes responsibility for getting the unglamorous work completed.  I might be a committee of one, but I could take pride that “it” was getting done because I took it on.  15.  Keeping a log of my pocket money expenses and my cash expenses.  Start really looking at the credit card statements beyond the balance, my last payment amount, and what I have to pay this month to reduce the balances.  16. Start an automatic transfer from checking into a savings account, even if it pays almost no interest.

I do not recall all the 19 things, and I may have added some new ones.  But this is a good attempt to recall what was in the column.


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