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Furloughed workers take on side jobs to make ends meet during shutdown

Furloughed woman works three jobs during partial government shutdown to make ends meet (ABC7)

Almost four weeks into the partial government shutdown, the promise of back pay for impacted employees doesn't make up for the fact that bills and mortgage payments are due now.

For many of the 800,000 federal workers and contractors who are furloughed or working without pay, that means looking for other ways to earn income.

"My last paycheck was around December 28th, and my first paycheck I just missed was this past weekend," said Amy Frady, a furloughed federal employee and mother of two. "It can be frustrating, just because there's no end in sight. And we just don't know when we're going to get that next paycheck."

So Frady is now working three side jobs in order to stay afloat.

Fortunately, she says she'd been working as a part-time fitness instructor at the 24 Fitness in Fairfax, even before she was furloughed. Once the government shutdown began, Frady started picking up extra shifts teaching group classes at the gym, so that she could bring home a bit more cash.

"I am here about four days a week, on average," she said.

She's also among the nearly 400 federal employees and contractors who showed up at a recent job fair for substitute teachers at Fairfax County Public Schools.

"I was highly impressed with Fairfax County Public Schools. They did great outreach to people to be substitute teachers," said Frady. "We went through orientation, we got all the paperwork done, and we're ready to go and get to work, probably next week."

In addition, she's working part time, doing administrative work at a law firm in Fairfax.

She hopes the money brought in by those three side jobs will be enough to help her family make ends meet during the shutdown.

"The mortgage is coming, all the credit card bills are still due, and they're not going to give you any extra time. You're concerned about buying groceries and taking care of your child and also daycare," she said. "I tried to reach out to colleagues and friends for ideas of what to do. I even posted on Facebook, asking if anyone needs any babysitting. I just was eager to get working and start earning some money."

More than anything, she wants the shutdown to end.

Frady has been a federal employee for nine years, so this is not the first time she's been through a government shutdown.

"This one just feels a bit different and a little more difficult," she said. "Just because we don't see any sides agreeing on anything anytime soon."

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