Are You Expendable?

The government thinks it knows who's essential-but the government hasn't met me

Illustration by Tomasz Walenta for TIME; Getty Images (3)

Though I have never been anyone's boss, from what I gather from those motivational posters, management is all about teamwork, attitude and wishing you were outside. So it can't be great for your organization when the government shutdown forces you to declare some employees nonessential and others essential. When the shutdown is over and everyone has to work together again, not a lot of employees are going to want to pair up with nonessentials when they do those trust-building exercises where you fall backward into one another's arms.

It's so awkward at government agencies right now that many are ditching the...

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