Archive for the ‘Federal Pay Freeze 2010’ Category

Happy Holidays – signed Your Federal Govt

November 30, 2010

Hello, Friends!

I am going somewhat off topic today and I hope you will forgive me.  All of us who are Federal employees received an early Holiday present from the top…we are having our wages frozen.  You know what…that is okay, it really is.  Things are tough everywhere and for the most part I am just really happy to have a job.

The thing that really disturbs me is what the public and our government thinks about us.  I have been reading comments or listening to things on the news about how we Federal employees are way over paid and we are way under worked.  How the tax payers just have to support our lazy butts like we are on some sort of special welfare program.  To this end…I would like to set the record straight.

I make $35,489 dollar a year – before taxes.  I can’t put much away for retirement right now because I am trying very hard to keep three kids in shoes!  My health benefits aren’t all that great – but my husband gets really good state benefits…so we use his instead.  I get a little bit of child support but it doesn’t even cover what I spend in grocercies per month.  I was making really good money in the Army – but the powers that be took that away from me.  I get a small disability check every month that almost makes up for what I was getting in the Army.  However, I have a constant fear that the Government will decide that I shouldn’t be getting that and just up and reduce my benefits there.  What better way to save money than to get rid of all that “welfare” money we pay people who were “wounded” during their time in the military.  Damn Veterans are nothing but a Damn Burden!

I have been at my current job for four-years.  For three of those years I was the only person qualified to do my job in my office.  I should mention that I also do clerical duties.  I am a lab tech, EKG tech and a clerical person.  When necessary, I also assist the nurses with their duties.  In three years, I had one week of straight vacation..because I had an OVARY removed!  I’m saving the other ovary for a Cruise, maybe to Puerto Rico or Alaska.  However, I came back to normal duty too soon and I now have a small abdominal hernia that I don’t want to take time off to have repaired – because between my family medical needs and my therapy – I don’t have a lot of sick time to burn!

I am always at work early.  I never leave early and occasionally I do stay past the end of my day because I am assisting a Veteran or a provider.  I carpool…so I can’t do that very often.  I do everything that I am asked to do and then some.  If I see a need I fill it.  If I see something a Veteran needs I do everything in my limited powers to see it happen.  I have spent time telling my brother and sister Vets how to get the benefits they EARNED.  Who to talk to…where to go.  I maintain running lists of people in their counties that might be able to help them.  I point out things like…”Hey…you have heart problems?  Are you service connected for those?  Did you have boots on the ground in Viet Nam?  Okay…this is what you need to do!”  I’m not the only one who does this.  I see healthcare providers who work 12-14 hr days trying to meet the needs of all of their patients.  There is no overtime…they just do it because it is the right thing to do.  They care…some of them really, really care. 

So I have some questions for the Federal Government. 

1 – Why is it that a person serves one term in Congress and gets lifetime Health Benefits…at no charge…but a person serves 4 years in the military and gets no health benefits?  If they believe that they were injured they have to PROVE it…Yup – you serve in Iraq or Afghanistan and the VA only gives you 5 years of benefits..after that you either have to be service-connected or broke.  Or, you can pay up.  So much for Abe Lincoln and his desire to “Care for them that have borne the battle.”

2 – Why do people in Congress see lifetime pay and benefits but a person discharged from the military after 16+ years for being a “whistleblower” gets nothing?  (Oops..what am I saying..that’s not “why” I was discharged…they have another story for that)

3 – Why does our Government sell us the myth about Veteran’s Preference in hiring practices.  It isn’t really true.  Sure..your Vet Pref might help you get a job in the housekeeping division, but if you have any skills and education it really doesn’t help you at all.  This frustrates me to no end, because there are some people who really don’t care about Veterans that work for the Federal Govt.

No, I know from first hand experience that not every VA is a good place to be…for staff or patients.  However, I will say again that I feel pretty lucky to be at the one I am at.  My boss does allow me time to make things the best they can be for the Veteran.  I have the few extra minutes to refer Veterans to county offices and to decorate my lab for the holidays.  I have time to chat with a Veteran – just so they know that I really do care for them – and some of them I love like family!  I am given the opportunity to talk to these Veterans like the “kids” that they used to be.  It may not look professional to the “world” but I get to call them, “Airborne” or “Marine” and I get to give them a hug.

Somedays – I am greeted by an email or a phone call or a family member that tells me that one of my patients has passed away.  I’m not ashamed to say that I cry with them..or that I wait until I am alone and I cry.  In a lot of ways it is like losing a close friend or a family member.  These aren’t faceless numbers to me…they are precious, precious people.  I lost one about 18 months ago and I haven’t been able to eat a Hershey Kiss without thinking of him, he loved them and I would stash some in my drawer for when he came in.  Another patient I make sure I keep his wife in my prayers and I light a candle for her in church on a regular basis.  These people that I care for are my Brothers and my Sisters – they are Veterans and whether anyone likes it or not…WE owe them a debt.  What is freedom worth?

I do feel blessed – to be allowed to do what I do and for whom I do it.  I’m just sick and tired of people looking at me like I am some kind of a slug who sucks off the back of the taxpayer.  I’m not the only one, either.  There are a lot of us scum sucking bottom feeders who are doing this job because we love our patients…not because we are getting paid the big bucks.

Freedom isn’t free…I see the cost of it everyday.  God bless all who have served and continue to do so.  You are always in my prayers.