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If you're a government worker and want to collaborate — or commiserate — with your peers online, there's a good chance you're logged onto GovLoop, a social network for federal employees that now has almost 70,000 members. Metro Connection's Jonathan Wilson caught up with GovLoop's founder and CEO, Steve Ressler, a former government employee himself, for some perspective on how the shutdown is affecting worker morale, and what it's lasting impacts could be.
Excerpts from the conversation:
On whether the shutdown came as a surprise to his users:
"I think there was some sort of hope that, 'Hey, this will be solved in time, just like how we solved the last kind of issues. So when it actually happened, people were pretty shocked, and really, on the site, people [were] really hoping right away that this will just last a day, day or two -- shouldn't be a big deal. And now we're in week two, wondering, 'When is this going to end?' And this is the first time for a lot of government employees for this to happen since the last time this happened was 17 years ago."
The new perception of government employment:
"I think that trust... that you can trust your agency to take care of you for 40 years isn't there. Plus, I think this generation doesn't necessarily want that — that's not the expectation. They know companies aren't that way anymore; the idea that you sign up for GE or Ford to take care of you for 40 years isn't there as well, so why would it be there in government?"
On remaining positive despite all the uncertainty:
"I do think, in the end, that there's a bunch of creative, innovative folks that want to improve service — I see them every day on GovLoop. I'm inspired by them, and I do think that when they come back they'll help kind of solve these gigantic problems despite all the issues with shutdown, and the impact on morale."
[Music: "Worker" by Rubblebucket from Omega La La]