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Old 04-06-2007, 08:21 PM
 
19,178 posts, read 18,950,943 times
Reputation: 3895
Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Good points made there. But my taking over the house probably would not happen for at least 5 years. So it wouldn't help supplement any salary I'd make in Washington in the near future. To put this another way, I'll SOMEDAY have my own home here in PA if I want it. In contrast, everything I've read about home ownership in the DC area makes it appear that I'd NEVER be able to afford a home there. Certainly not on a government salary it seems.
Ah, that's different. But not in a good way, as far as DC prospects go. If you really would have to take a GS-7/GS-9 salary, and that would be it, it'll be hard to make ends meet here. Are you sure you don't have experience that would qualify you at a higher level?

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Whenever I read about work and travel issues involving larger urban areas, one of the common problems/situations is that long commutes mostly result from the inability of people to afford living close to where they work. I don't have that problem here in Pennsylvania. Not in the least. In fact, I probably have what many would call a "dream" commute situation. But I have no doubt that what you say about people failing to put much thought or planning into their commutes is true, and it probably has resulted in many commutes being made substantially worse than they have to be.
Well, there isn't much you can do when a bad commute is because it's the best you can afford. It just pains me to see people who can't at all enjoy the nice place in which they have chosen to live because they spend 3-4 hours a day on the road, when there are very similar residential areas that would have required a 90-minute roundtrip commute at most. What a waste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Wow! That's even worse than I thought. Do you know if government employees in the DC area are ever given any kind of parking benefit or validation?
Not in the District, unless you're an upper-level agency official. No one wants to encourage people to drive to work. There are, however, subsidies of up to $110 per month for mass transit costs other than parking. Those are commonplace. The basic deal is you simply don't want to park downtown unless you absolutely have to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Owning my own house at some point is very important to me. I don't mind paying rent, but I'm just flabbergasted hearing the stories of people paying 15K or 20K a year for renting some small dinky apartment! I also want to make sure I can save for retirement.
Well, you've got Step-1 and Step-2 along the path to financial security covered then. Find your way to home ownership, and fund as much of your retirement as you can along the way. One day you'll be the envy of all the flashy big-spenders who thought they could stock-pick the way to their dreams. Whether a few years in DC will help with either of those is still an open question, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
One thing that has always made very little sense to me is the concentration of so many government offices/jobs in Washington DC. We are living in the age of terrorism. It seems to me it would make much better sense if government agencies built up more of a network of satellite offices around the country.
Well, they are trying. Decentralization is a significant factor in most new office planning, but it's very difficult when it comes to already existing facilities. You may have from many hundreds to many thousands of people tuned in to a particular situation. If you try to move them more than a block or two, you can expect to lose up to half of your staff. That's an awful lot of human capital cost to be willing to flush down the drain. Many decision-makers simply aren't willing to accept that cost, particualry in light of the fact that they may also face eternal bitterness and resentment from the half of the workforce that does remain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Additionaly, and from a financial compensation standpoint, it would make even MORE sense. Because although federal government jobs in high cost areas are bolstered by "locality pay" enhancement, the extra money really isn't enough to compensate for the true costs of living in places like DC.
In general, that's true, just as the so-called cost-of-living adjustments don't usually cover the actual increases in the cost of living. Every little bit helps, of course, but it's basically promotions from one grade-level to the next that keep people going. Most people who both work hard and hang around will eventually reach the GS-12 level. That range currently runs from $67K to $87K. You can live pretty well on that even here, especially if you happen to be one of two household wage-earners, as is very often the case. If you can handle some supervisory responsibility, a GS-13 starts at $79K and runs to $103K, and the string runs out when you are the recognized expert in your field, and then you'll be somewhere in the $110K to $143K range, which of course, is usually more than than enough to be quite comfortable. All that and the relative security of federal employment are what convince the GS-7's and GS-9's that it will all be worth it one day.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
885 posts, read 1,593,797 times
Reputation: 602
Default Evaluate your needs/wants

J-Man,
Like you, I currently reside in the rust belt..Cincinnati to be exact. This area is cheap (for a HUGE reason)..The job market for college-educated individuals like my husband and I SUCK..So does the pay...If anyone says otherwise they are lying or have low standards. Everyone here does not work at P&G and GE,Ford (plant manufacturing)..Most of the jobs being toted are low paying customer service jobs, sales (esp inside sales) and retail. We have few and far between Govt. jobs and competition for those is very, very tight...unless you are a scientific specialist of some type. The school districts are laying off teacher or have hiring freezes in effect. If you are a minority you can forget getting paid a decent amount of money anyplace.

However, with all this said. Back in the 90's we had some friends from college move to ATL/DC...yes it was sticker shock for them but now they earn VERY comfortable wages, have been promoted and are doing extremely well. Well my fate hasn't been so well, so I am out of here. No, I don't look forward to the traffic headaches or the astronomical cost of living but I need a REAL change in my life. Something that will have me on the road to a career with benefits and the chance of retiring BEFORE I need Depends and a scooter.

Like you, my mom is elderly and I will be inheriting a property when she is no longer with us...OR if she decides to sell me the property..I plan on renting it out. There are many homes here that are cheap and make good rentals....Why not look at investing and having that extra income to support your move? Get a side "hustle" --legal of course! Something you can do on the side to boost your income/savings? Before you leave Philly get a extra certification in something/anything...With experience you can apply for a higher rank like GS9/GS11..Also Don't narrow your choice to just Govt. most people work in the higher paying private sector.

It ultimately comes down to you and your values, wants and needs. I NEED to make more (and currently working on a MBA), I NEED a real career, I NEED to be in a area where I can SEE accomplished individuals of ALL races. I WANT to live in a bustling, busy area with attractions, tourism and a hop, skip and a jump to NYC...I WANT to live in a area with good schools, I WANT to live in a safe area, I want to live near some water and scenery...
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
885 posts, read 1,593,797 times
Reputation: 602
Smile Q? Sagan

How does one qualify for the higher level govt. jobs? A friend said it is best to get in the door first...However, if I can come in with a MBA and experience (mainly cust serv/sales) what can I expect level wise?

How do most people job hunt when coming in from other states?

Trust me...after being laid off I learned how to get my on very little..I KNOW I could live on 40k if I HAD to.
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Old 04-07-2007, 04:08 PM
 
19,178 posts, read 18,950,943 times
Reputation: 3895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbluelandrover View Post
How does one qualify for the higher level govt. jobs? A friend said it is best to get in the door first...However, if I can come in with a MBA and experience (mainly cust serv/sales) what can I expect level wise?
The requirements are reasonably clearly stated in the vacancy announcemnt for a position. Typically, a Masters will get you a GS-9 ($46,041), and experience will also be a factor, so long as it is experience that is directly related to the position that you will fill. Supervisory experience is a definite plus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbluelandrover View Post
How do most people job hunt when coming in from other states?
Most people simply submit a resume in response to a vacancy announcement. Most agencies have an HR office that then screens all the resumes received into a top ten or twelve or so, and then those go off to the hiring offiical (usually the person who would be your first- or second-line supervisor) and then that person picks and chooses who he wants to take up with and select from. There are rules for all that, some of which can be waived if you have a particularly strong academic record, but that's the gist of it.
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Old 04-08-2007, 08:32 PM
 
68 posts, read 579,401 times
Reputation: 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbluelandrover View Post
J-Man,
Like you, I currently reside in the rust belt..Cincinnati to be exact. This area is cheap (for a HUGE reason)..The job market for college-educated individuals like my husband and I SUCK..So does the pay...If anyone says otherwise they are lying or have low standards. Everyone here does not work at P&G and GE,Ford (plant manufacturing)..Most of the jobs being toted are low paying customer service jobs, sales (esp inside sales) and retail. We have few and far between Govt. jobs and competition for those is very, very tight...unless you are a scientific specialist of some type. The school districts are laying off teacher or have hiring freezes in effect. If you are a minority you can forget getting paid a decent amount of money anyplace.

However, with all this said. Back in the 90's we had some friends from college move to ATL/DC...yes it was sticker shock for them but now they earn VERY comfortable wages, have been promoted and are doing extremely well. Well my fate hasn't been so well, so I am out of here. No, I don't look forward to the traffic headaches or the astronomical cost of living but I need a REAL change in my life. Something that will have me on the road to a career with benefits and the chance of retiring BEFORE I need Depends and a scooter.

Like you, my mom is elderly and I will be inheriting a property when she is no longer with us...OR if she decides to sell me the property..I plan on renting it out. There are many homes here that are cheap and make good rentals....Why not look at investing and having that extra income to support your move? Get a side "hustle" --legal of course! Something you can do on the side to boost your income/savings? Before you leave Philly get a extra certification in something/anything...With experience you can apply for a higher rank like GS9/GS11..Also Don't narrow your choice to just Govt. most people work in the higher paying private sector.

It ultimately comes down to you and your values, wants and needs. I NEED to make more (and currently working on a MBA), I NEED a real career, I NEED to be in a area where I can SEE accomplished individuals of ALL races. I WANT to live in a bustling, busy area with attractions, tourism and a hop, skip and a jump to NYC...I WANT to live in a area with good schools, I WANT to live in a safe area, I want to live near some water and scenery...

We obviously have some things in common, Bigbluelover. Both Pennsylvania (where I live), and your area are in formerly prosperous areas that are now declining due to manufacturing job losses and other problems. Although the winter weather can be a real drag where I live, I'd probably never even think of leaving this area if the jobs situation and regional economy was somewhat better. That's why so many of our younger people are leaving in droves in what's known as a "brain drain". We actually have several decent colleges in my area. Yet, most of the graduates have to leave after they graduate since the only real "growth" in jobs here is in low-paying service sector positions.

That's why I'm looking at federal employment options in Washington, DC. I just wish the cost-of-living in DC was a little lower. Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm looking at federal employment in a few specific areas, I'd never even consider moving to DC, Northern Virginia, or Maryland due to the high expense of those areas.

The thing that worries me is this. Let's say I go to DC and and get a federal job with good benefits. Now, that sure sounds good, right? But if the massive expenses of that area eat up so much of my after tax income that I'm WORSE off than I could be in Pennsylvania, than what have I gained in the long term? See what I mean? So I'm trying to plan and look into things the best I can, and hopefully I'll make the right decisions.

With the house I'll eventually be inheriting, I'll probably rent it out in the short term to some graduate students or college students. Of course, if I eventually decided to live there, I can do that too. As for the renting, we have a town ordinance where a house cannot be rented out to more than three unrelated people at once.

I'm sure I could easily find a group of three graduate students or college students who would take advantage of the three bedroom rental this house has. This would provide me with a nice rental income. The house is so close to a local college that it would make it an ideal choice for renting to students or perhaps even a professor or administrator at the college.

I'm not sure why you thought I lived in Philly, but I actually live in the other corner of the state (Northwestern, Pennsylvania). It's a nice, beautiful area I live in. It's very scenic, is near water(Lake Erie), and we have some nice local attractions and good schools. It's also quite a pretty safe area, and our geographic location places us fairly close to Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh. I just wish it had lots of good jobs to go with it. *sigh*

You wrote that you're working on an MBA. Do you mind if I ask the concentration of your studies? Is it just a general MBA? Or is your MBA program geared more towards a specific area such as finance, accounting, management, human resources, etc?

I don't mean to discourage you from ever applying for government work (if that's something you'll do) but I don't believe an MBA would be as appreciated by a government recruiter as it would a private business or company. And have you ever thought about starting your OWN business at some point with the skills you've picked up in your MBA program? Or perhaps even buy some existing business?

Also, both the DC and Atlanta areas may have lots of good jobs, but if I were you I wouldn't think of them as the ONLY place where you can or should end up. Unless of course you have some kind of personal connection to DC, or unless you have a connection there to someone who can help you get your foot in the door at a place.

Because there are other places around the country that ALSO have opportunity but which don't have the correlating high costs of living. It might help you to research some of those as well. My point (and one I'm trying to make myself adhere to also) is that the two choices shouldn't be WHERE I AM NOW OR DOWN IN DC. None of us can really afford to leave ourselves with only two options like that.

And do you mind if I provide you with a link? Here is a website which I've found has some good articles on career development, jobs, etc.

Some of the articles have a bit of a political bent, but please don't get turned off by that. Because the other articles (which deal simply with job issues) are really good and high quality. I've learned some good things from this site that I've tried to apply to my own career and job search effort.

I hope this site can help you too.

Here is the homepage. Go click the "articles" part to see all the different ones that you can read.

http://www.martynemko.com/
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Old 04-08-2007, 08:34 PM
 
68 posts, read 579,401 times
Reputation: 62
[quote=saganista;549439]The requirements are reasonably clearly stated in the vacancy announcemnt for a position. Typically, a Masters will get you a GS-9 ($46,041), and experience will also be a factor, so long as it is experience that is directly related to the position that you will fill. Supervisory experience is a definite plus.


Saganista, it really does seem a shame that a Masters such as an MBA would only get someone a GS-9 pay level, doesn't it?

I just saw a news story tonight talking about how in demand MBA's are right now in the private sector. You'd think government would at least offer an MBA more than a GS-9 level.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:29 AM
 
8 posts, read 32,108 times
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And why one earth does the federal govt need MBAs???? Is it B for Bureaucrat?

It's a pretty sad thing to aspire to -- a career in the federal government. Stay in PA and do something productive with your life instead of aspiring to come to DC and stick your nose in the trough.

But I guess this is the indictment of this warped economic system. The only expanding sectors are those that benefit from reckless growth in government spending and the associated growth in the money supply. Obviously, your best bet is in finance before the thing blows up. Head north, young man, to Wall Street.

Hopefully the cycle will turn and federal spending will be curtailed. I am not sure how it will. Maybe a moderate Democrat president and a republican congress, but I don't see it happening. At least the Democrats might curtail the military waste, but the horror of them controlling the executive and congress in unfathomable.

The people who have earn better around here work for defense contractors like SAIC, Lockheed Martin, etc. Or the likes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Just ask Frankie Ranies about how lucrative that is and being a GSE protects you from going BK like their bretheren in New Century. Not filing your 10-k for umpteen years? Billions in fictious earnings? Delisting from the NYSE? Not a problem. But that's probably even more repugnant than working for the Leviathan directly.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:54 AM
 
19,178 posts, read 18,950,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Saganista, it really does seem a shame that a Masters such as an MBA would only get someone a GS-9 pay level, doesn't it? I just saw a news story tonight talking about how in demand MBA's are right now in the private sector. You'd think government would at least offer an MBA more than a GS-9 level.
Well, generous pay is not exactly something that the government is noted for, particularly at the upper and lower levels. In between isn't as bad, but federal pay consistently lags behind the private sector, at nearly every level and in nearly every type of position. The tradeoffs are the supposed satifaction of being involved in public service, and relative job security, the government not really being involved in such thigs as downsizings, buyouts, or takeovers, and unlikely to see dwindling market share or shrinking profitability force it to close its doors. Some steps have been taken with regard to salary-inequality, such as in authorizing recruitment or retention bonuses for particularly desirable individuals, but those remain rather rarely used tools, in part because you still have to find the money for them somewhere else in your budget. As noted earlier, experience can be used as a supplement to, or even as a replacement for, education. While not being a guaranty that you'll get it, a Masters in anything will at least make one eligible for a GS-9, but it would be specialized experience that one would need to have in order to get any higher up than that at entry. If you have had significant private sector experience that would be equivalent to what a GS-12 would do, you can start as a GS-13, but most agencies are able to fill the majority of those positions from within. All this applies to generally advertised, competitive positions, which is the majority of them. There are certainly some positons to be filled where the function is known, a pool of invividuals is known, and the position is then defined and advertised with respect to the particular individual that the agency has in mind. This could occur as low as the GS-14 or GS-15 level, but would be more likely with respect to a Senior Executuve Service position. These are primarily Agency and Office directors and a few of their immediate underlings. Above them come the so-called Schedule-C types. These are political appointees rather than career service positions, and would include probably all of the federal people you've ever heard of (Valerie Plame would be an exception, but you weren't supposed to have heard of her). Anyway, probably the best way to get yourself into one of those positions is to have worked somewhere reasonably high up on the campaigns of whoever is or becomes President.
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Old 04-09-2007, 06:20 AM
 
19,178 posts, read 18,950,943 times
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Originally Posted by livefreeordie View Post
And why one earth does the federal govt need MBAs???? Is it B for Bureaucrat? It's a pretty sad thing to aspire to -- a career in the federal government. Stay in PA and do something productive with your life instead of aspiring to come to DC and stick your nose in the trough.
Wow! That's like a flashback to some Young Americans for Freedom propaganda from the 1970's. Most people have moved along...
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:40 PM
 
8 posts, read 32,108 times
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Originally Posted by saganista View Post
Wow! That's like a flashback to some Young Americans for Freedom propaganda from the 1970's. Most people have moved along...
Well, you need some productive members of society or parasites like yourself don't have anyone to feed off.

Tell me, honestly. What's better for America. A young enterprising man who starts a business in central PA or bureaucrat zombies who shuffle paper in DC?

I suppose that you aspire to the Scandinavian model where 60% of the population live off government handouts or work for the government. That guarantees that the socialists have a stranglehold over society. I guess that in DC proper it is more like 90%, which reflects the % that vote (Social) Democrat. A proud coalition of the underclass and government workers!

And sadly the alternative that now holds the executive branch is just as bad and has an insatiable lust for military spending that enriches LMCO, SAIC, et al. and brings the country further into debt.
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