"It's so much harder not to work," she said. She has her computer and her Blackberry sitting at home, turned off. "It's like a temptation all the time," she said, comparing it to a modern-day breakup with Facebook and e-mail. "There are 100 different ways I could be doing work, but I am just not allowed to."
"I keep wondering if there are things I can do at home that no one will notice."
With a job in communications, Karp thinks one message has gotten lost: Who federal employees are and what they do. "We have just gotten such a bad rap," she said, recalling a recent dinner party with friends. "I'm a federal employee." she had to remind them.
"It's not just people taking care of cute pandas or bureaucrats pushing paper," she said. "There are a lot of federal employees who do things for taxpayers that the taxpayers don't know about."
It's like grieving. "I've mourned some of my projects," she said. "I take my job really seriously, and I feel really sad that projects were left just hanging in mid-air."
Her message to Congress is simple: "Do your job, so I can do mine."
"I have a little bit of savings, but if there is no back pay, it will get definitely tight, definitely, definitely tight," Markman said. "I live nearly paycheck to paycheck so it is a big deal."
"It's kind of hard to watch Congress and see this is your one job, it's to pass a budget, or to pass a continuing resolution, and keep the government going, that's their number one job," Keller said. "It's hard because we can't do our job when they're not doing theirs."
She said she has "savings enough for a little while," but a prolonged shutdown would mean she can't do things like pay off her car.