Government shutdown 2019

Coming back to work after the shutdown

Sean McHenry Feb 6, 2019
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"Financially and emotionally, I can't shoulder another month, another 8 percent income reduction, for the government to get their act together," Sunny Blaylock says. Courtesy of Sunny Blaylock
Government shutdown 2019

Coming back to work after the shutdown

Sean McHenry Feb 6, 2019
"Financially and emotionally, I can't shoulder another month, another 8 percent income reduction, for the government to get their act together," Sunny Blaylock says. Courtesy of Sunny Blaylock
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My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.


The partial government shutdown may be over, but people going back to work are still feeling its effects. This may be especially true for government contractors, who, unlike federal employees, are not guaranteed back pay. Sunny Blaylock is a contractor who designs e-learning for the U.S. Department of State. She described what it was like to go back to work after being laid off for several weeks. 

My name’s Sunny Blaylock. I’m an instructional designer and a government contractor. I make e-learning for diplomats and other people who work at the embassies and for the Department of State.

I actually started off in film and realized that long nights on film sets didn’t bring me any joy and took my producing skills in film and moved over into web and e-learning. My husband and I moved to the D.C. area in 2004, and that’s when I started getting into government contracting.

Being a contractor always has more risk than being a federal employee, but the contract was a solid contract for another year. And I knew that it wasn’t up for a rebid for a while. So, I mean, I didn’t consider a shutdown as a possibility.

So we were able to go back to work on the 22nd [of January]. Our plants were all dead. Fortunately, there wasn’t too many explosions in the refrigerators, but there was the sense of everyone had gone through a great tragedy, on their own, separately, and now we were all together. So there was that sense of closeness and camaraderie among all of us.

But then there was also the sense that, like, we don’t know how long this is going to last. I think all of us, you know, we ended up polishing our resumes and getting our LinkedIn to a point that it looked better, but I didn’t go as far as to start interviewing. But if there is another one, I don’t think I can have that same restraint. I just, financially and emotionally, I can’t shoulder another month, another 8 percent income reduction, for the government to get their act together.

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