It's not a huge number, depending on what it references. In this case, it's the number of my approved overtime hours I have yet to work. Government jobs are not like public sector jobs in that overtime is not driven by the amount of work that needs to be done. Overtime in a government job is purely budget driven, at least that is the case in Texas where a balanced budget is a requirement of the state constitution.
In the last half of the fiscal year, the state legislature examines the amount of revenue remaining in the current year budget and doles out overtime allotments according to the needs of the various state agencies. It's then up to the individual agencies to dole out the hours to each office according to specific needs projects proposed by their managers. I'm not sure if it works this way with all state agencies, but in the branch I work for, a total number of overtime hours are alloted to each office and workers who are at all interested in working overtime sign up for the hours. Some workers sign up for a limited number of hours and others, like myself, sign up for as many as they will give me. After all the 'limited hours' requests are subtracted, the remaining hours are divided among the 'as many as you'll give me' group. I was initially authorized for 55 hours to be worked between June 6th and August 19th. You could work up to 12-1/2 hours of overtime per week and up to 6 hours on certain Saturdays but you had to complete whatever hours you signed up for by August 19th. If you took any sick leave or vacation time or there was a holiday in any week, you could not earn overtime that week. So you had to pay attention to how many hours you committed to and you had to be serious about that commitment or risk not being allowed to work overtime the next year.
Two weeks ago, a few workers dropped out and reneged on their overtime commitments and the hours they reneged on were up for grabs. Again, some of my co-workers opted for a limited number of the newly available hours and some of us opted for as many as they would give us. I ended up with 12 more hours. So instead of winding down and looking forward to a regular 40-hour week beginning in August, I had to step up the pace a bit to insure I got all my hours worked by the August 19th deadline. I worked 10-1/2 hours last week, which leaves me a balance of 23 hours yet to be worked and four weeks in which to work them. I could push hard for the next two weeks and have only a few hours to work the third week but I'm tired. I'm tired physically from the extra hours, I'm drained mentally from the long days and I'm worn out emotionally from seeing everything else in my life falling off schedule, either slightly or drastically.
I could relax a little, back my schedule down to just six hours of overtime per week and take the whole four weeks to finish. But if something came up during one of those weeks ...like missing a day due to illness or a personal emergency of some kind causing me to take a day of leave ...I would lose the opportunity to work overtime that week and might not be able to finish all my hours. I'm a procrastinator about some things, but never about work so I will probably keep up the current pace and just get it done as soon as possible.
Yeoldfurt has been a good sport through all this. He is patient and uncomplaining about whatever falls off schedule at home and has pitched in more than once to take up the slack on some chores that are usually mine to take care of. In appreciation, the one thing I make sure doesn't fall off schedule is meals. Neither he nor the critters have missed any and we've only been out to eat three times since I started the overtime. He'll come home from work this evening to a clean house, a cold Frappacino on ice and a dinner of barbecued pork ribs, potato pancakes and green beans. I even managed to catch up the laundry. It's been a productive day.