I was busy feeling sorry for a person related to us who works for the federal government when I decided to look him/her up on a database that lists federal government pay. $105,000 for someone with a basic college degree (maybe a Masters, but not in anything important). A go-getter, to be sure, but we're not talking intimate knowledge in the sciences, anti-terrorist languages, economics, or anything that would warrant near $100,000 from any other employer. Oh, and this person, as of last year, worked from home around 50% of the time. Sweet job
As a former teacher, I know that we wanted to feel like we were real professionals with degrees that could make us big money elsewhere. Of course, that's not really true for teachers. It's also not true for many federal government employees, I assume. There are simply more levels in the hierarchy. My next step in teaching was "turning to the dark side" to become a principal or superintendent. I am sure government agencies have far more "highest levels of incompetence." In fact, that job description now goes all the way to the top.
I totally feel sorry for everyone doing government work who has not bragged to every acquaintance about their cushy jobs. Even if you didn't brag, however, you did tend to earn about 80% more than a comparable private sector worker (pay and benefits) for the same job, so I think the rest of us are going to assume you've saved a lot of money for the occasional government shutdown. Good thinking, especially considering that your salary and benefits are my tax dollars at work. Or on furlough.