There were a few times in recent weeks when Sophia Casey found herself mindlessly walking toward her laptop, ready to scan for new work messages as she’s always done at nights and on weekends. Then she would see the computer — powered down, closed and unplugged. And she’d remember: furlough. The Pavlovian twitch to constantly check e-mail had begun to ease just when Congress voted Wednesday to send Casey and her colleagues in the federal government back to work. Back to the office — and whatever mountain of messages lie waiting in the inbox after 16 days away. It took a minute for it to sink in,” said Casey, a federal analyst for an agency that she requested not be named. “But then once I got a message that said, ‘Hey, it’s really illegal if you work when you’re not supposed to’ — well, that’s all I needed to read.”She put all 1,563 e-mails in a folder and reminded herself that “nothing’s going to break if I don’t answer them right now.” She worked from home Thursday to ease herself back into the grind. As soon as she logged on, she fired off an e-mail of her own. Her most pressing order of business: a request for vacation time.
Sophia Casey winner of the Extra Mile Award.