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Old 05-17-2009, 11:22 AM
 
10,598 posts, read 12,100,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
As someone who worked as a lead salesman in the private sector for the past four years while also handling a full-time undergraduate course load I can say that the old adage that government workers are "lazy" is not always accurate. Am I "lazy" because I opted for a guaranteed 40-hour work week instead of taking a job where I'd be working 70-hour work weeks while also trying to earn my MBA, Ph.D., CPA, AND upkeep a romantic and spiritual life as well? To me it sounds like I found a good fit for a healthy work/life balance---something MANY in Greater DC do NOT have judging by the "stress, stress, stress" persona so many exude.

No you are not lazy but there will forever be that stereotype. ScranBarre, besides the 40 hour work week (which is not lazy) there really are some real non-performers in the government. It is sad. I work in an accounting area and we have people on the floor who still can't operate in Excel. The worst part is, their supervisors won't rate them poorly for not being able to function in their job. This kind of stuff is rampant, unfortunately. Until the mindset changes and the government starts hiring more people who have learned to operate in a true business environment, it is going to be the same.

I worked private sector for over 20 years and just moved to the government. I don't consider myself "lazy" either. The good thing is, if you have formed a good work ethic and are motivated, you can really do well in the government. They love people who can kick some butt!
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:42 AM
 
Location: DC
3,286 posts, read 10,572,489 times
Reputation: 1301
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Am I "lazy" because I opted for a guaranteed 40-hour work week instead of taking a job where I'd be working 70-hour work weeks while also trying to earn my MBA, Ph.D., CPA, AND upkeep a romantic and spiritual life as well? To me it sounds like I found a good fit for a healthy work/life balance---something MANY in Greater DC do NOT have judging by the "stress, stress, stress" persona so many exude.
No, you're not necessarily lazy. In many areas of government, it can be difficult to get yourself fired. That, coupled with "guaranteed" salary increases until a certain level unfortunately causes some people to take advantage. I work very hard, as do most of my coworkers, but I know of several people in my office who essentially do nothing. One sat at her desk sleeping or watching tv until the day she retired. Another is a screwup who hasn't had work in months because no one wants to deal with him. If they were in the private sector, they would have been kicked out years ago. People like that perpetuate the "lazy do-nothing" stereotype. However, they are just a few, compared to many others I know who work very hard and are definitely not lazy. Since most of my coworkers have a JD or PhD, they could easily double their salaries in the private sector (and some do), but just prefer government work to consulting.
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:14 PM
 
385 posts, read 1,109,263 times
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And could just as easily have their salaries cut by three/fourths.
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:03 PM
 
18 posts, read 60,230 times
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The best thing about working for the fed:

If you are efficient, motivated and intelligent, you can do extremely well for yourself. Most people tend to stay at the GS 7 - GS 12 grade scale for much of their fed careers.

A motivated college/masters graduate however, may enter at the GS7 - GS12, but will quickly ascend to GS14/15 and then possibly pursue Senior Executive Service (SES).

Another benefit, as a few people mentioned is the alternative work schedules (this pertains mostly to professional staff).

And last, but certainly not least is STABILITY. If you work hard in your job and follow work related policies/procedures, you will have a job, until you decide to quit or retire.
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,108 posts, read 67,227,047 times
Reputation: 15763
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
No you are not lazy but there will forever be that stereotype. ScranBarre, besides the 40 hour work week (which is not lazy) there really are some real non-performers in the government. It is sad. I work in an accounting area and we have people on the floor who still can't operate in Excel. The worst part is, their supervisors won't rate them poorly for not being able to function in their job. This kind of stuff is rampant, unfortunately. Until the mindset changes and the government starts hiring more people who have learned to operate in a true business environment, it is going to be the same.

I worked private sector for over 20 years and just moved to the government. I don't consider myself "lazy" either. The good thing is, if you have formed a good work ethic and are motivated, you can really do well in the government. They love people who can kick some butt!
Quote:
Originally Posted by juniperbleu View Post
No, you're not necessarily lazy. In many areas of government, it can be difficult to get yourself fired. That, coupled with "guaranteed" salary increases until a certain level unfortunately causes some people to take advantage. I work very hard, as do most of my coworkers, but I know of several people in my office who essentially do nothing. One sat at her desk sleeping or watching tv until the day she retired. Another is a screwup who hasn't had work in months because no one wants to deal with him. If they were in the private sector, they would have been kicked out years ago. People like that perpetuate the "lazy do-nothing" stereotype. However, they are just a few, compared to many others I know who work very hard and are definitely not lazy. Since most of my coworkers have a JD or PhD, they could easily double their salaries in the private sector (and some do), but just prefer government work to consulting.
It's a bloody shame to hear about these "horror stories" of some of your colleagues and professional peers who have nearly no ambition or motivation to succeed in the workforce and are just permitted to "slug it out" in their government roles, but at least this is comforting to me to know that with my own driven personality and strong work ethic that I'll always have job security if and when the "dead weight" is ever cut! I'm already studying my agency's online manual, and I don't start for another three weeks! I feel very fortunate to have landed this position, and I'm not taking it for granted for one second. My only apprehension is having to fly to Memphis in July for initial training, but perhaps if I'm really nice to them they'll let me drive out there?!
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:55 PM
 
1,604 posts, read 3,496,935 times
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Funny I ran into this thread, considering that due to the awful economy (and the necessity for "connections" to even get an internship) in the private sector and my graduation from college with my Bachelors degree in Economics, the Federal Government seems to be the best chance of landing a (competent and dignified) job. I'm actually applying to quite a few jobs and already finished two interviews so far. The question I have particularly is the hiring process for these government jobs. Is it as competitive as many people make it to be, even for the FCIP programs that I'm mostly concentrating on? And considering the so-called "lazy attitude" that a notable amount of government workers display, how are they able to get through the "competitive" nature of the hiring process? I would hate it that I was overlooked by someone who wasn't as half self-motivated as I am due to internal connections. And as for transferring to new departments and concentrations, would I be able to eventually switch from an economics concentration to an accounting or finance field? I'm currently finishing up the last full semester in college (I'm actually graduating at the end of the summer semester), but if I were to apply right now, would many of these departments look at my credentials or would they write me off until I get my degree?
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
884 posts, read 2,361,923 times
Reputation: 630
Government or Corporate.
I have done both and prefer Govt for the stability. I would say that Corporate is quicker to make changes--ex. Telecommuting. Govt. it takes so much time to get changes like this approved and sometimes takes so kind of congressional vote. Corp will not keep deadweight for long-Govt.--Lord. At my agency there are people that watch tv, sleep, go shopping during the day--not all but it IS the CSRS people that need to walk on down to HR and retire already.

I think now is an INCREDIBLE time to get into Federal service because 40% of the workforce can retire any day. Even with the recession, I have heard a great deal of near retirees talking about how the mortgages are paid off and many of them have nice pensions. We FERS people are not going to be as lucky BUT we do at least have something to look forward to. I worked in Corporate and really got tired of layoffs, mergers and just utter b.s., that goes on --all the time. Also not all agencies are equal as far as advancement goes. I am trying to move to another agency (for a shorter commute) and I am finding it difficult to change, but I am hanging in there.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Centreville, VA
154 posts, read 328,883 times
Reputation: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by VRE332 View Post
IMO I think 95% of the government employees would not last 2 seconds in the private sector.
Amen to that. I work very closely with several large government agencies and can readily attest that almost without any exception every employee I have dealt with from management to lowest levels has the work ethic of a slug. The level of incompetence and poor quality of work that is accepted as a matter of course is really pathetic. Most of the people that we work with wouldn't last a month at our company at the equivalent position. And yet 15 years later these very same lazy incompetent buffoons are still on the job mucking things up.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:14 AM
 
Location: DC
3,286 posts, read 10,572,489 times
Reputation: 1301
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fairfaxian View Post
Funny I ran into this thread, considering that due to the awful economy (and the necessity for "connections" to even get an internship) in the private sector and my graduation from college with my Bachelors degree in Economics, the Federal Government seems to be the best chance of landing a (competent and dignified) job. I'm actually applying to quite a few jobs and already finished two interviews so far. The question I have particularly is the hiring process for these government jobs. Is it as competitive as many people make it to be, even for the FCIP programs that I'm mostly concentrating on? And considering the so-called "lazy attitude" that a notable amount of government workers display, how are they able to get through the "competitive" nature of the hiring process? I would hate it that I was overlooked by someone who wasn't as half self-motivated as I am due to internal connections. And as for transferring to new departments and concentrations, would I be able to eventually switch from an economics concentration to an accounting or finance field? I'm currently finishing up the last full semester in college (I'm actually graduating at the end of the summer semester), but if I were to apply right now, would many of these departments look at my credentials or would they write me off until I get my degree?
The one "screwup" I mentioned got in because he was coming off of an economist's recommendation (hopefully they won't make that mistake again). He also did go to a decent school, and I'm sure is intelligent in the academic arena. He just lacks any sort of "common" sense and has failed to pick up what the rest of us consider to be obvious professional behavior. Honestly, the most people that I have seen who are lazy tend to be more in the support staff area, and were often hired out of high school or just "fell" into the job at some point. All of the new hires I've seen here are very motivated. Most go on to graduate school, either in economics, business, finance, or a completely different field (one is going on to architecture school).

As far as applying now, look at the dates of the job announcement. Typically, you have to have the qualifications required for the position by the announcement's closing date. So, if they require a college degree and the announcement closes in June, then you'll probably be kicked out of the applicant pool. However, some positions are a little different. I know for our FCIP program you send in your information and they hold it until they're ready to hire again. You can indicate your level of motivation during an interview or cover letter (desire to go to graduate school, external activities, ask about career paths, etc). For the online applications (i.e. USAJobs), read the announcement description for any "keywords" and integrate them into your resume. That'll help you get past the software that scans your application before an actual human being ever looks at it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:16 AM
 
1,623 posts, read 4,326,029 times
Reputation: 1292
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Fairfaxian View Post
And considering the so-called "lazy attitude" that a notable amount of government workers display, how are they able to get through the "competitive" nature of the hiring process?
First, government hiring wasn't always desirable or competitive. In the dot.com era, the quality of applicants that I saw were terrible for an accounting position my former agency had. Out of 100 or so applicants, I had trouble bringing in 3 people that marginally met our criteria. Back then, everyone in business wanted to become dot.com millionaires and working for the government wasn't popular. My agency would go to schools to interview, and have maybe 2 students scheduled out of 25 possible interviewing slots.

Generally when the private job market is good and competitive, the applicant pool for government jobs is worse. And it's compounded when governments in good times get flush budgets, new mandates, new programs, etc., and have to hire a lot of people when finding quality candidates was difficult.

Second, the government attracts many people who want a less hectic and demanding lifestyle. This often means accepting less pay for less hours. Nothing wrong with that, it is especially ideal for people wanting to start or expand their families. It's just the pool of people wanting to work 40+ hours and demanding projects is much lower than in private practice.

Third, there is often no negative consequences for average or poor work. Similarly, some agencies have real flat structures and compensation systems, so their isn't any strong incentive to do good work. This system rewards poor and average performers and has a troubling tendacy to convert formerly decent employees into deadweight over time. It could be simply getting a new supervisor that is a real jerk and then deciding to only do the minimal amount of work possible for that guy or gal. In private practice, you'd get fired for doing that.

Fourth, managers have to fight pretty powerful unions and EEO claims/ accusations anytime they want to discipline or fire an employee. It's a huge logistical nightware and takes up a huge amount of their time. So they prefer to let the deadweight be off in their little corner and hope that they transfer somewhere else. So many of your deadweight is people tranferred from elsewhere where the supervisor did not mention any problems because they wanted to get rid of that person. Unfortunately, this happens a lot.
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