By Justin Chermol
As the partial government shutdown spans its 18th day, furloughed federal workers like Sam Shirazi who have been placed on unpaid leave are struggling with both an immediate financial reality and a more amorphous sense of uncertainty.
"We don't know when it's going to end, and it doesn't seem like it's going to end anytime soon," Shirazi told Cheddar's J.D. Durkin on Tuesday. "That's creating frustration for everyone who works for the federal government."
About 420,000 federal employees deemed essential are working without pay while another 380,000 have been furloughed.
Beyond his paycheck, Shirazi's most pressing priority is to care for his daughter ー whose daily routine has been derailed by the shutdown. Her daycare is located in a federal building that has been temporarily shuttered, which presents a major challenge for Shirazi, who must keep her engaged and occupied all day.
"It's difficult because the Smithsonian is closed, the National Zoo is closed," he said of the federally-funded sources of amusement on which he might typically rely. "We have to figure out ways to keep her entertained."
"With small children you need a normal routine or otherwise things go a little haywire, so we're just trying to do our best," he added.
Although some of his peers are considering a shift to the private sector, Shirazi said he values his job with the federal government, but he is "concerned this will affect retention, and also hiring."
"I think people don't want to go into a situation that's so uncertain," he said.
Above all Shirazi said he simply wants to resume his life as a public servant without interruption.
"We want to work, we believe in public service, and we hope that this ends sooner rather than later so we can get back to work. I just hope that our leaders are able to resolve this."