Friday, August 16, 2013

Furlough Fun

Today is the last day of furloughs for Department of the Army civilians.  We were going to suffer through 11 days of non-pay status but the Chief of Staff argued it down to only six days.  I've been essentially laid off every Friday for the last month and a half but now the torture is over.  Of course, since it was time spent out of the office, I had set my email to respond for me.  I'd like to share some of the Out of Office Auto Replies I used.
I'm currently out of office on furlough.  Since I'm not being paid, please contact someone who is.
Funny thing was we lost most of our contractor support during this time as well while their contracts were being renegotiated so there were a lot of employees not being paid to work.
Hello, I'm currently out of the office on furlough.  I would ask you to contact my supervisor but he is also out on furlough.
And he was, too.  We had the same furlough day.  The office was split so that half were furloughed on Mondays and the other half were furloughed on Fridays.  The idea was that we'd still be able to work always having at least half the office present.  The reality was that we effectively had a three day work week because, inevitably, the person you needed to speak with was on furlough.  By the time you spoke to that person, the person you needed to follow up with next was on furlough.
I am currently out of the office on furlough.  It is forced time off without pay.  Please contact the US Congress for assistance.  They are actually not working but still getting paid for it.
And its follow on,
I am currently out of the office on furlough.  Please contact your preferred 24-hour news channel.  They are standing by to spoon-feed you the answer which fits most comfortably into your worldview.  
Never missing a chance to take potshots at the easy targets.  I really don't like playing pin the blame on the donkey and a complex mechanism like finance isn't helped by soundbites but sometimes that's all the audience can handle. 

Actually, the Out of Office Auto Reply I used most was the chorus from "Sixteen Tons", first recorded in 1946 by American country musician Merle Travis.  Tennessee Ernie Ford's 1955 version, which topped the Billboard charts, is probably the most recognizable.
You load sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store.

See Wikipedia's file page regarding the embedded audio clip for concerns on this sample's copyright status.