Young federal workers, just starting careers, hurt by the government shutdown

SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- We know that federal workers with families and mortgages and no paychecks are getting hammered by the partial government shutdown. But, what about those new hires, fresh-out-of-college?

A lawyer who had been with the government all of three months found herself furloughed. Nche Onyima, 26, of Sacramento, will take the California bar next month which is one of the toughest in the nation.

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"It is what I try to keep my focus on," she says.

A whiteboard in Onyima living room has written reminders of which subjects she has to study. Because passing the bar is a requirement for her job with the federal government, her first job out of law school, one she started last September and was furloughed from at the end of December.

"I'm good for this month, but if it goes into February, I'll have to start making some phone calls, moving things around, calling my parents and stuff like that."

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Nche is not supposed to say which federal agency she works for, but here's a hint. It becomes very important to all of us every April.

Nche's okay on food for now, but facing $200,000 in student loans without a paycheck is a problem.

"I missed my first payment, and I got a text that said call us if you need help extending to another due date," she said.

Nche has been making quite a few phone calls, trying to make payment arrangements, partially because her employer checks her tax returns and credit history once a year for issues that could make her susceptible to blackmail. In her line of work, bad credit can be a career killer.

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Nche said, "I'm trying not to think about that for now, but if it goes into February, I don't know if I'll be evicted, my credit will probably plummet-- I don't know."

Nche is remarkably upbeat during this stressful time, probably because this is all very new to her. But if the shutdown goes into next month, she says there will be more tears than smiles.

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