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Old 04-10-2007, 09:55 AM
 
68 posts, read 594,056 times
Reputation: 63

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlv311 View Post
J-Man: Based on your posts, I would encourage you to try it out in DC. Even if you start as a GS-7 or GS-9 in a professional series and the job has promotion potential to a GS-12 or GS-13, you are likely to be promoted to the next grade every year if you are performing well. And yes, there are people who work in the federal government because they believe in public service. If you work hard and are self-motivated, you will be rewarded for your performance and people will think of you when opportunities open elsewhere. Not every agency is the same and some attract higher caliber staff than others...You keep at it and you'll find the right environment for you. The salary may be low initially, but you have very good benefits and opportunities for promotion.

Obviously, you'll need to live frugally initially. If you don't want roommates and the rents are high, you can always live in a studio or junior one bedroom near a metro. If you save money and want to buy a home (condo or TH), you may qualify for first-time home buyer loan. I know from personal experience it is doable. Good luck.
Thanks very much for your advice.

Lots of good insights and advice in this thread.

One thing is for sure, I'd have no proglem living frugally. I do that right now. And perhaps that's another reason that moving to DC is not as attractive a prospect to me as it is to other people.

For instance, things such as paying $15 or $20 a day for me to "park my car" near work just seems totally insane to me. Even more so since I don't pay a penny to park my car at work now.

So I guess I also see living in DC as a situation that would "force" me not to be frugal just by the expenses involved in everyday living and functioning.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:31 AM
 
19,178 posts, read 19,943,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
Saganista, thanks very much for that additional information on the federal hiring process and pay levels. I'm wondering, you seem to know quite a bit about all of this. Are you a federal employee yourself?
Retired in 2002. Back on contract roughly three days a week. Do free-lance policy analysis on the side. Provides a lot of control and a still very adequate income.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
In reference to your earlier question about whether I have experience that would qualify me for something above the GS-7 or GS-9 level, the answer to that is no. So for the purposes of this discussion, the highest I'd probably be starting (if hired) would be at a GS-7, or possibly a GS-9.
Rats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
I've always worked my butt off in whatever job I've had, and I've been told by many, many people that I have an oustanding work ethic. I just don't see how working for the government would all of a sudden make me change how I approached work.
It wouldn't. But there are some who do readily fall for the simplicity of propaganda. All we can do is seek to correct them in their misapprehensions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
The only difference (and hopefully this will change), is that it's harder to fire the bad employees that work for the government (federal, state, or local), than it is in the private sector.
Can't speak to state or local issues, but I wouldn't tinker very much at the federal level. The rules as they are protect those who are at or near the political/career-service boundary, and those folks need that protection. They don't protect crummy workers. That's another disinformation media straw-man. It is difficult to fire people after one year, but firing is hardly the only way to disappear them. The bad apples are tolerated only by the managers who are themselves too weak to do anything more than complain about the situation.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:41 AM
 
5 posts, read 34,644 times
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I was raised in DC from the time I was 4 years old so this is home for me. I currently live in Alexandria, VA and work in DC which is 12 miles away and about a 20-30 minute commute for me daily. I can take the bus/metro to work which would take me about an hour. The government has a subsidy for this so you could save on the commuting aggravation (well gas) because commuting is aggravating...
We pay $1615 for a 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment with NO washer and Dryer. My mom had a one bedroom and a den in the same complex and her rent was $1100, just so you get a feel for the rent in Alexandria. We live in West Alexandria and it's not the ghetto-really nice area with stores and public transportation at your door. My girlfriend lives in MD (Hyattsville) and has a 2 bedroom for $850 but not the greatest area.
I agree with the others in that you will have to make some sacrifices if you make that salary and live in or around DC and even if you went South about an hour to (Fredericksburg) housing is still about $800-900 for a one bedroom apartment. That in itself is depressing.
I am considering moving to the Charlotte,NC area or even Georgia about an hour North of the city. I have 2 kids and I love the programs offered by being an Alexandria City resident but realistically with a salary of $46,000 per year I can't comfortably pay for all of my expenses alone if my husband and I split unless I've saved aggressively and even then-savings run out.
I think a single person could be comfortable in DC-proper on a salary of $50,000 per year in a decent neighborhood. Depending on what you do you could even look at private firms in the District and you could even get a higher salary by doing that and you could still move to DC, have a decent salary and try living someplace else. If you don't like it-you can always go back. Life is about change and taking some amount of risk.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:35 PM
 
2,439 posts, read 5,961,929 times
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One question for you. Do you have a long commute to your job in the DC area?

I'm not currently in the workforce, but I spend at least 2 hours every day in the car running errands and picking up/dropping off children at school and sports. When I was working, I chose to sacrifice space by living close to my job downtown, first in a tiny apartment and then in a house in Arlington that was within walking distance of the Metro. My door to door commute was about 50 minutes, but that included a brisk one mile walk (exercise) and 20 minutes on the train (reading), so it wasn't completely wasted time. My husband has a 60 mile roundtrip commute, but it is mostly on the Beltway and against traffic, so it is usually under an hour.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:54 PM
 
1,227 posts, read 4,189,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J-Man View Post
For instance, things such as paying $15 or $20 a day for me to "park my car" near work just seems totally insane to me. Even more so since I don't pay a penny to park my car at work now.
You want to avoid driving if you work in DC. Many employers will provide a transportation subsidy if you use public transportation to commute to work. The subway system is pretty reliable and clean so if you choose to relocate here, you should try to find a place to live that is metro accessible.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
885 posts, read 1,679,625 times
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JMan,
Yes, I do have connections. That same connection tried to get me out of Ohio almost 10 years ago but we didn't leave. Well now I have former classmates that are doing great and in careers/getting promotions etc...
I am open to private employers --I would not turn down a great opportunity. I am working on a general MBA-since it is not from a Tier 1 program it isn't one that is going to have signing bonuses and great offers coming my way. I honestly wasn't the MBA type. I wanted to teach so I did not have my heart set on a income above what teachers earn.. Well the place I work for provides the education for free and I work there also. I could not pass that up at all. Like Sagan said a Masters Degree is a GS-9 unless you can document some extensive KSA's. Did I mention that I have connections in DC that run farther and deeper than any here where I am.
The other issue I have is somewhat personal. I am the female half and my husband has a small business (in addition to working). I carry benefits, I want to have STABLE employment. I have been through 3 mergers/layoffs and I am entirely TIRED of corporate America. It seems like a daily ritual where some company is laying off thousands of people!. Someday I want to retire (((Hopefully before I need Depends and a wheelchair))) with some benefits. I also want some of the benefits that come with govt sector. No, i am not lazy and I can't stand it. It kills me though how people only associate Govt with lazy workers. I have worked around lazy people my whole life!. They are in every sector!.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
885 posts, read 1,679,625 times
Reputation: 603
Meso,
Unless you are a nurse or you work in banking scratch Charlotte off the list. Check out the NC board...there are waaaaaayyyy more people moving there than there are jobs.. Even the banks are laying off. It is a nice place to visit but send resumes and see if you get any bites.
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:41 PM
 
68 posts, read 594,056 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by saganista View Post
Retired in 2002. Back on contract roughly three days a week. Do free-lance policy analysis on the side. Provides a lot of control and a still very adequate income.


Rats.


It wouldn't. But there are some who do readily fall for the simplicity of propaganda. All we can do is seek to correct them in their misapprehensions.


Can't speak to state or local issues, but I wouldn't tinker very much at the federal level. The rules as they are protect those who are at or near the political/career-service boundary, and those folks need that protection. They don't protect crummy workers. That's another disinformation media straw-man. It is difficult to fire people after one year, but firing is hardly the only way to disappear them. The bad apples are tolerated only by the managers who are themselves too weak to do anything more than complain about the situation.
Thanks for your reply, Saganista. I'm wondering if you would consider something that I've been thinking about (based on your years working in DC).

Like I mentioned before, the actual jobs I'm interested in pursuing have to do with homeland security and anti-terrorism (jobs related to intelligence, security, etc).

After September 11th, the government started spending a tremendous amount of money on creating and funding these types of positions. This spending, of course, continues thru the Iraqi war. So not only were many more homeland security and anti-terrorism government jobs created, but a lot of this type of work was also "outsourced" to private contractors in the DC area (Booz Allen, others, etc).

Here is where I get to my specific question related to this that I was hoping to hear your comments on.

What happens when all the funding for these types of jobs starts to dry up? Because although there will always be anti-terrorism/homeland security jobs, the massive amounts of government spending funding them after 9/11 won't be around forever.

At some point, there will be both a reduction in spending, and a "contraction" in the amount of jobs related to this work. It's probably inevitable.

Think of the space program in the 1960s and 1970s. For years the government viewed the space race as a huge priority and threw billions at it. This of course, provided many jobs to scientists, engineers, etc.

But eventually, the government changed priorities. And although the space program was still funded, it received significantly less funding and priority than it had enjoyed previously.

With homeland security/anti-terrorism jobs, they certainly are the "hot" field right now, but do you think that will last forever? What are your thoughts on all this? Thanks! : )
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:59 PM
 
68 posts, read 594,056 times
Reputation: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesogirly View Post
I was raised in DC from the time I was 4 years old so this is home for me. I currently live in Alexandria, VA and work in DC which is 12 miles away and about a 20-30 minute commute for me daily. I can take the bus/metro to work which would take me about an hour. The government has a subsidy for this so you could save on the commuting aggravation (well gas) because commuting is aggravating...
We pay $1615 for a 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment with NO washer and Dryer. My mom had a one bedroom and a den in the same complex and her rent was $1100, just so you get a feel for the rent in Alexandria. We live in West Alexandria and it's not the ghetto-really nice area with stores and public transportation at your door. My girlfriend lives in MD (Hyattsville) and has a 2 bedroom for $850 but not the greatest area.
I agree with the others in that you will have to make some sacrifices if you make that salary and live in or around DC and even if you went South about an hour to (Fredericksburg) housing is still about $800-900 for a one bedroom apartment. That in itself is depressing.
I am considering moving to the Charlotte,NC area or even Georgia about an hour North of the city. I have 2 kids and I love the programs offered by being an Alexandria City resident but realistically with a salary of $46,000 per year I can't comfortably pay for all of my expenses alone if my husband and I split unless I've saved aggressively and even then-savings run out.
I think a single person could be comfortable in DC-proper on a salary of $50,000 per year in a decent neighborhood. Depending on what you do you could even look at private firms in the District and you could even get a higher salary by doing that and you could still move to DC, have a decent salary and try living someplace else. If you don't like it-you can always go back. Life is about change and taking some amount of risk.
Thanks for your reply, information, and advice Mesogirly. And good luck with your future endevours.
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Old 04-14-2007, 01:03 PM
 
68 posts, read 594,056 times
Reputation: 63
Thanks for the replies ClareMarie and mlv311.
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