Fire protection engineer Dan Madrzykowski had been in the office for about half an hour, and about 800 emails had popped into his inbox, but that covered only back to Oct. 13. Still, Madrzykowski said he was pleased to be back at work. "Nothing good was coming from keeping the government closed," he said.
Workers began filing in well before dawn at the U.S. Geological Survey's campus in Reston, about 20 miles outside Washington.
"Feels kind of strange," said Kathleen Faison of Ashburn, a training specialist. "I kind of wish they would have kept us out until Monday."
Patrice Roberts, who works for the Department of Homeland Security, said she wasn't prepared for the emotional lows of the past 16 days.
"It's just frustrating having that kind of control over your life and just having it taken away from me," said Roberts, who is expecting another shutdown in January. "I'll be better prepared next time."
In Pottsville, Pa., several people waited outside the Social Security office ahead of its 9 a.m. opening. James Ulrich, an unemployed 19-year-old needed a replacement for his lost Social Security card to apply for jobs. He was told a replacement card would take another two weeks to arrive.
"I don't have a really good outlook on the government," Ulrich said.
In Cincinnati, Renee Yankey, a federal alcohol and tobacco tax specialist, was sleep-deprived after staying up late to watch news of the shutdown-ending deal, but otherwise glad to be back at work with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
"I can tell that the alcohol industry missed us," said Yankey, a federal employee for 25 years. "The first thing I hear is 'I'm so glad I got a person on the phone!'"
Crary reported from New York. Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in Reston, Va.; Ben Nuckols in Springfield, Va.; Dan Sewell in Cincinnati and Michael Rubinkam in Pottsville, Pa., contributed to this report.
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