In U.S. shutdown drama, dismay and anxiety for one 'nonessential'

Fri Oct 4, 2013 4:12pm EDT
 
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By Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Statistician Steve Hanway had expected to spend Tuesday reviewing a tally of far-flung childhood injuries in his job at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, a federal agency that identifies household perils.

Instead, Hanway spent the day sidelined in his home in Gaithersburg, Maryland, one of about 800,000 federal workers furloughed in the first U.S. government shutdown in 17 years.

Hanway, who says he takes pride in his agency's recent work on child deaths and injuries from swallowing magnetic toys, was deemed "non-essential" and sent home for an indefinite unpaid stay.

Luckily, Hanway, 40, has company in his suburban community of spacious family homes. His wife, Jonaki Bose, 41, a statistician for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was also deemed non-essential and shut out of her office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Hanway joined the federal workforce two years ago after a long stint at the Gallup polling organization, hoping the change to a 9-to-5 federal job would cut down on the road trips and long hours that consumed his family time. A father of two, he worried that without a job shift "I'd be a stranger to my kids."

In the four days since the federal furlough began, he's had plenty of time at home.

The first day of the shutdown, Hanway and his wife puttered in the yard, rearranged the store room and played tennis. Another day they visited the American Red Cross blood bank and donated platelets, trying to feel useful.

Keeping busy relieves anxiety, which Hanley acknowledges is building as the stress of no paychecks settles in.   Continued...

 
U.S. government statistician Steve Hanway, who normally leads a team of statisticians tallying injuries of consumers for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, spends some of the time he cannot be working because of the U.S. government shutdown weeding a long neglected garden outside his home in Gaithersburg, Maryland October 4, 2013. Hanway is spending his days sidelined in his home in Gaithersburg, Maryland, one of about 800,000 federal workers furloughed in the first U.S. government shutdown in 17 years. REUTERS/Jim Bourg