With the U.S. government seemingly unable to find an alternative to the deep spending cuts due to kick in at midnight tonight, several federal agencies have already begun issuing dreaded furlough notices to their employees, meaning those workers will have some forced unpaid leave on their horizon. Defense workers are likely to be hurt the most, with the Pentagon saying 800,000 civilian employees around the world could be affected.
Some agencies and employees are handling the news better than others. Whispers hears that the Army Corps of Engineers just sent some of its employees a "Furlough Friday" rap song from YouTube to try to ease the tension.
"I hit up poolside or chill at the beach... at times like this I search for clarity," goes one lyric, set to the music of rapper J-Kwon's "Tipsy." The Army Corps employs some 38,000 civilian and military personnel and maintains environmental resources and public works for the country.
The U.S. Army at large, meanwhile, sought to reassure its employees during an online chat Thursday, noting that 30 days notice would be given to any employee before a furlough and sharing resources that answered questions such as how long furloughs last (generally less than 22 days) and whether employees will be paid retroactively (don't count on it).
The Environmental Protection Agency appears to be handling the furlough with a bit more angst. Reuters reports that Bob Perciasepe, acting administrator of the EPA, sent an E-mail to employees that said despite the agency's best efforts, furloughs would happen because of the "arbitrary nature" of budget cuts. According to Politico, furloughs at the EPA are likely to last 13 days.
Government workers, meanwhile, have taken to social networks to express frustration over the coming furloughs. "I'm wondering how long it will be before I get my furlough notice," Scott Harding, a human resources specialist at Defense Finance and Accounting Services, wrote on Twitter Friday. "Being a political pawn sure is great."
A meme now spreading on social news site Reddit reads: "Oh man I have a great [Department of Defense] career I should buy a house and lay roots.... Annnnnnnnd it's gone."