Last Word

Sequester Talk?

March 5, 2013 by Anna M. Clausen in Last Word
It seems like everywhere you turn right now someone is talking about the “sequester” and what sort of impact it might have on the economy. Maybe it seems more severe “in here” than it actually is “out there” for most people because we’re getting to witness the first hand effects from up close and personal. As plans are being made and notices are being sent out the anxiety is beginning to mount. Mandatory “furloughs” for all FBOP employees are scheduled to take effect the first week of April and inevitably that loss of work/wages is going to have a dramatic effect on the employees and their families.

Most Americans these days are living beyond their means, and that obviously includes a large percentage of federal workers as well. We have become a nation sustained on credit and the average household now carries a substantial amount of debt. If this sequester isn’t resolved soon furloughed federal employees will stand to lose an entire month’s pay over the course of the next year. Many of them could end up losing their current homes or cars if they’re unable to keep up with the monthly payments. Stop to consider for a moment how that will not only affect them personally but about how it will also affect their spouses and children. Try to keep that in mind should their mounting anxiety and frustration happen to become apparent during your daily interactions with any one of them.

The “sequester” is not the only recent event responsible for raising the anxiety level among all federal employees. Last week two FBOP officers were killed during two separate incidents, and although neither event was highly publicized by the national media, both were felt Bureau wide by every employee. Undoubtedly, there will be certain security measures implemented in response to those events but how much the atmosphere in each facility actually changes will ultimately be determined by each individual’s response, on a more personal level.

We live in an atmosphere that heightens our awareness to everything that happens around us. I would ask you to remember that no matter what transpires within this environment (or any other), we ALWAYS retain the ability to consciously choose our response to every situation. Even when we are confronted with hostility, and immediately feel the need to become defensive, it’s beneficial to stop and consider our response before merely “reacting” to the situation. Emotions may be an essential part of life but they should not be able to dictate the direction of our lives. We must acknowledge our ability to either add to the existing level of anxiety or to instead try and defuse it.

We do in fact have a choice about how we respond to stressed and agitated FBOP employees. Something we should all consider right now is how a little compassion could go a long way toward mending and building relationships with those persons you have to encounter each day. This could be an opportunity for you to positively impact your environment by choosing to live a certain way each day, and by doing so you’d be setting an example that might inspire others to do the same.

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  • Anna Marie Clausen: It certainly would be a great opportunity. And it would actually benefit the priison staff and guards as well.
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