Some California state workers live it up on furlough days

From the painful pay cuts to extra minutes in the DMV queue, the toxic side effects of "Furlough Fridays" on California state employees have been thoroughly quantified.

But furloughs on three Fridays each month are a net positive for a certain subset of state workers — the type that lives in midtown Sacramento and isn't burdened by mortgages or their children's school tuition.

They enjoy the reconfigured weekend so much that they've given it a new name: "Funlough Fridays."

"I'll take the 15 percent pay cut," said 27 year-old Dustin Davis, an analyst at the California Energy Commission. "Because free time, it's priceless."

For Davis and other young analysts at the Energy Commission, Funlough Friday starts on Thursday, around noon. One of them sends out an e-mail blast, the subject line reading along the lines of, "WHAT ARE WE DOING TONIGHT?!?!"

E-mails ping back and forth, plotting the evening's lineup.

At 5 p.m. sharp, "I start walking around the office and getting people to go to happy hour," Davis said. "It's kind of like being back in college, when we would walk around the dorms and round people up for parties."

On a recent Thursday evening, Davis and his friends started at Zocalo, a midtown restaurant. The sidewalk patio was jammed and the interior abuzz with post-work revelry.

Davis' co-worker Jesse Gage said Furlough Fridays have revolutionized his social life.

"I only started drinking after we started furloughs," he said.