I’m a biologist working for one of the various branches of the NIH. The NIH, like most government agencies, is subject to shutdown if the government doesn’t decide on a goddamn budget. The ONLY thing more frustrating than the uncertainty surrounding this shutdown is the fact that * no one WILL STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.*
When shutdown was looming months ago, everyone gathered around and talked for hours every day about “What if this?” and “Who can come to work?” and “Will I get paid/have health insurance/need to stop experiments?”. The answer: we don’t know. We have been issued exactly zero guidelines.
And when there was a continuing resolution put in, and shutdown was looming again, everyone gathered around and talked for hours about the same damn thing.
And two weeks later, when the next continuing resolution was running out, everyone was gathered around for hours talking about… you guessed it.
In the past week, we have had two lab conferences, endless discussions, frantic phone calls, revised opinions, and hysterical hyperventilation, all of which add up to: we don’t know. We have been issued exactly zero guidelines.
EVERYBODY PLEASE SHUT UP ABOUT THIS. WE ARE NOT LEARNING ANYTHING NEW. THE POWERS THAT BE ARE NOT GOING TO ISSUE ANY GODDAMN GUIDELINES UNTIL MONDAY. I know that we’re all stressed and wondering what to do BUT THERE IS NO INFORMATION AND THERE WON’T BE UNTIL MONDAY.
Oh, wait! You’ve come in to announce something!
“We don’t know yet whether anyone here will be exempt from furlough.”
Oh, there’s a special announcement before the departmental meeting!
“We won’t have any information until Monday. Come in then and we’ll tell you what to do.”
Oh, the lab head is asking everyone to gather and pay attention to him!
“I just wanted to let you know that all of the previous things that I said about not knowing anything are still in effect.”
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!
I hate you all.