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I’d like to introduce myself. I am a federal employee. I have worked for our wonderful country and my agency for 23 years.

I am your neighbor, a taxpayer and a good person. I work hard and I am dedicated to my job because I believe what I do is important. I serve the public and am proud to do so.

I am not lazy, I do not call in sick when I am healthy and I gladly work overtime on a daily basis for no extra pay or compensatory time because the work needs to get done.

I treat the public and my co-workers with dignity and respect. I have never once said to anyone, “It’s not my job.”

I receive a good paycheck and benefits and I do not feel bad about this because I work hard and deserve to be compensated for my hard work and the value I bring to our organization.

I am blessed to have my job and I know how lucky I am when so many have less than I do.

I realize that many folks who do not work for a government agency feel that many public employees are lazy, take advantage of the system and are a waste of their taxpayer dollars. I get that.

In every organization, not just public service, there are people who take advantage of their circumstances. I sure don’t want my tax dollars spent on an inefficient, lazy employee. However, my co-workers and I are not those people. I work with incredible people. We are highly motivated to get our jobs done and to do them well.

We have families, contribute to our communities and live paycheck to paycheck, just like so many others. Yes, we are fortunate to have our jobs, but we are not guilty of anything. We have nothing to apologize for.

I work in an agency that has laid people off, just like private businesses do. We have amended our pay system so that raises are not a right but are based on performance, as they should be. All of us have taken on many extra duties to make sure we serve the public to the best of our ability with fewer resources. We are doing exactly what you, the taxpayer, would want us to do.

It hurts to hear so many people think that we are the cause of our country’s demise – especially during this government shutdown.

Some people say – in blogs and so on – that we should all be let go because we don’t bring anything of value to the table. That just isn’t so.

So much of what we do is not seen by the public, but if it’s not done, it will surely be felt.

I write this not to educate the world, but to let people know that most federal employees are good people and that you are getting more than your money’s worth when you pay your taxes.

I wish our politicians would not use us as a bargaining tool. The government shutdown is not good for anyone, not just the federal employees who are furloughed. Our reputation as a great nation suffers when those we elect take such irresponsible actions and try to pass it off as working for the good of our country.

But no matter what happens, I can assure you that those of us who are left after this situation is resolved will continue to do what we do best – work hard and show gratitude for our jobs and this wonderful country.