That’s right, I’m talkin’ sequester time.
In answer to your question: no, I have not been immediately affected by the sequester. I don’t personally know anyone who has, actually. It appears that Commerce has been directed to make a 6% cut across the board, and this does not need to begin with furloughs and such, but with grants, travel, etc. So that’s good. For our particular office, our money doesn’t actually come from Commerce itself, or Commerce’s budget, so much as from the partner agencies who pay us to perform these surveys on their behalf. I don’t think that means we’re untouchable or something, but just that we are perhaps on less shaky ground than others.
I am more worried about the end of March when the continuing resolutions run out, and the possibility of a government shutdown is real. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time – my boss told us about how in the 90s during the Clinton era, he was furloughed for three weeks. And he and the rest of the government survived, of course. So we will see what happens. But this is all very strange – I have never really had to wonder about job security before (though that’s only partially true; back in my country club days they had to cut our hours when the recession first hit, but that wasn’t a career or anything, of course). It’s frustrating because I feel this all could have been avoided. Why did the Obama administration create and enforce the sequester in the first place? Was there really no other way to deal with the debt other than his tried-and-true method of government by freakout? Evidently not.