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Old 01-27-2012, 03:05 PM
 
414 posts, read 236,303 times
Reputation: 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOEM1226 View Post
I enjoyed the private sector but left it to take a goverment job 5 years ago. I am still a federal employee. I have tried 2 different positions within the government (soon to be a 3rd). I have never been so miserable. Yes, I am grateful to have a job period but what good is a great retirment package if you have to spend decades doing something you can't stand? I don't see myself staying.

Also note- the government (in this location) pays much better than the private sector, this is why I came here. I do have more job security but never again will I make a decision based on money alone. My goverment health insurance costs me as much out of pocket as the plans I had in the private sector. So the great benefits are simply about the same in my experience.

Government pay is tied to an areas cost of living. In many areas, gov't pay does not equal private sector pay. this is most clear when you are looking at GS-7 through 12 work. Lower (3-5) and higher (13-15 and up) can be quite competitive with private sector pay.

Again, area of the country is a hug factor. Working in the midwest, cornbelt, deep south...fed gov't pay would place in the top earning categories.

job security?

have to ask for whom do you work? all fed employees are subject to Riff's and work at the will of the Prez's budget proposal and congress funding our agency. all you need to be right now is a DOD employee to understand that the proposed Pentagon cuts are going to lead to massive federal employee layoffs. continued fighting over the 13-15% of the non SSA-DOD-interest on the debt portion of the budget will place even more jobs at risk.


to much to say....
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:07 PM
 
414 posts, read 236,303 times
Reputation: 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchemist80 View Post
I'd jump at a GS-7 position (40k). But yea it is crazy I have 230 applications and they ask crap on the aplication package like
Have you used an Aglient 1200 HPLC system hooked up to an ABI 3000 Mass Spec to characterize water samples from the Gulf of Mexico?
A. Never done it
B. Done it under Supervision
C. Done it independently
D. Am a recognized expert at it.



Have you applied and interpreted the Federal Estuary act of 1989 and made recommendations to other regulatory authorities?
A. Never done it
B. Done it under Supervision
C. Done it independently
D. Am a recognized expert at it.

Not to mention have HS dropout Federal HR people declare you unqualified to be an entry level chemist despite the MS and years of experience.

Sometimes the questions are so specific because the job posting has been geared to a specific individual. the posting meets all legal req's but you will never be able to compete....

if you are competing at a GS-7 level and are still under 25, try getting into a fed agencies intern program. gets your foot in the door....
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:23 PM
 
414 posts, read 236,303 times
Reputation: 151
to the OP

i jumped at a private sector job to move out west (I was leaving an academic research post). it worked out ok but about 5 years ago a gov job came up, and its worked out even better


for other posters....

the only true bennie that is better (my opinion only) is FERS. its a basic pension and the standard is you earn 1% a year for each year of service up to a maximum of 30%...of the average of your top 3 salary years. employee and employer contribute. there are strange rules: delay taking the pension payments til you are older can earn you an extra 0.1% per year, work for or be an elected official and you make a higher %, etc

that last one sticks in my craw

so 30% pension. i get a type of 401k. my health bennies are more expensive (quite a bit more) than the private side but i have more choices as well. salary...i am on the low to mid end for my sector.

there's pros and cons to any employer though. my biggest bennie...i live 12 minutes from work and can be at all my kids activities
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:51 PM
 
27 posts, read 8,124 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TyroneBiggums View Post
I agree with the chemist.

And, I would add that when you get to the GS-13 level and higher, the pay is competitive with the private sector. In some cases, it will exceed that of the private sector.

Since you haven't mentioned anything about your agency/job field/years of service, it is impossible to say if you'd be better off.
After completing college, I worked in private industry for a number of years. The position was good, and it provided tuition reimbursement. I used the tuition reimbursement to attend grad school. I realized that the job was 'at will' like all private/corporate jobs, and I could easily be disposed of, if the company decided to lay off employees. Needless to say, while in grad school I was always looking for something more stable.

I managed to get a federal job, right after completing my grad studies. I was originally working in NYC, but I had to relocate to D.C. to accept my new fed position. To make a long story short, my position was a GS-09 with promotional potential to GS-12. I started out making only GS-09 money, but now (2.5 years later) I make 77K. In two weeks, I will be transferring to a new division to accept a GS-13, ~90K position!!!

Entering the fed government was one of the best decisions that I've ever made. It's really the best kept secret. Yes, the position may start off on the lower pay side, but most have promotional potential to higher grades. Also, if you believe in your skill set, you can always apply for higher grade positions at anytime and with any agency.

The fed is a good bet, simply because of the job security. I am a permanent employee. The cool part is, once you become permanent with the fed, your permanent status is not linked to the job, it's linked to you, as a federal employee, therefore, you take the status with you, wherever you go. If you stay at your particular agency, and just go to a different operating division or staff division, you don't even have to serve on a probationary period. For example, an employee of HHS, who transfers from the NIH to the CDC won't have to serve a new 1 year probationary period.

Another advantage is, your benefits and leave time transfer over with you. So although you are entering a new position, all of your time accrued remains the same. This is really a great time to be a fed. Many offices now allow their employees to telework (depending on the job/position) for at least one or two days a week. Also, there are various alternative work schedules to help ensure that employees have work life balance. I'm also highly impressed with private gyms that many federal buildings now have on the premises for federal employees.

The OP should think long and hard about giving up his federal position. It may not be so easy to get back in. If he is permanent, he can definitely leave the fed and apply under 'merit promotion' so he won't have to compete with non feds for positions, but again, it may still be rough to get back in.

The great thing about the fed is, positions are located all over the country and really all over the world (for those with the right skill set). If he has the right skill set, he should simply apply for a position in CA. Sometimes, the federal office that you work for, will have regional offices throughout the country, that you can be transferred to. It's always a good idea to check with your HR office to find out what is available.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:03 PM
 
27 posts, read 8,124 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by davehalo View Post
Government pay is tied to an areas cost of living. In many areas, gov't pay does not equal private sector pay. this is most clear when you are looking at GS-7 through 12 work. Lower (3-5) and higher (13-15 and up) can be quite competitive with private sector pay.

Again, area of the country is a hug factor. Working in the midwest, cornbelt, deep south...fed gov't pay would place in the top earning categories.

job security?

have to ask for whom do you work? all fed employees are subject to Riff's and work at the will of the Prez's budget proposal and congress funding our agency. all you need to be right now is a DOD employee to understand that the proposed Pentagon cuts are going to lead to massive federal employee layoffs. continued fighting over the 13-15% of the non SSA-DOD-interest on the debt portion of the budget will place even more jobs at risk.


to much to say....
DOD has many contractors on board. They will be the first to lose jobs, then all of the excepted service (non permanent federal and temporary employees). If there are still cuts, some people close to retirement will be offered special packages to leave early. This is typically what happens. It is very rare for permanent federal employees to be laid off in masses, because feds have certain protections. But if permanent feds are laid off, the competent ones will be able to find placements at different departments and/or agencies (in most cases).
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:40 PM
 
1,253 posts, read 848,179 times
Reputation: 2444
I left my federal job recently for a private-sector job. My new job pays a lot less than my fed job, and of course it is not secure.

I have no regrets whatsoever. That fed job was eating my soul -- a daily misery of mundane bureaucratic chores and co-workers who were some of the most miserable, craven and ethics-free people on the planet.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:02 PM
 
1,239 posts, read 2,127,217 times
Reputation: 1789
All jobs with the feds are not the same, just as all jobs with the private sector are not the same. Some people hate their jobs, other people love them. Some agencies (TSA,DCMA, IRS) supposedly get horrible job satisfaction ratings, while places like NASA and the Department of Energy people are happy to come to work everyday. All that "job security" is going out the window the next ten years with budget cuts.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:08 AM
 
27 posts, read 8,124 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by YaFace View Post
All jobs with the feds are not the same, just as all jobs with the private sector are not the same. Some people hate their jobs, other people love them. Some agencies (TSA,DCMA, IRS) supposedly get horrible job satisfaction ratings, while places like NASA and the Department of Energy people are happy to come to work everyday. All that "job security" is going out the window the next ten years with budget cuts.
True, but that's why it's important not to build your life around your job. People have to develop interests outside of work, because you won't ever find happiness if you are relying on a job/position to keep you fulfilled. Human beings need so much more.

The OP should move on if he is miserable, but he may encounter the same problems with co workers in the private sector. Heck, I worked in the private sector for a number of years, and I actually had more problems with co-workers and managers.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
3,739 posts, read 3,950,411 times
Reputation: 5517
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandria2000 View Post
Entering the fed government was one of the best decisions that I've ever made. It's really the best kept secret.
Unfortunately it is not much of a secret in science. Everyone wants to work for them because of how badly the private sector abuses science grads. That is why I am having such trouble. I am competing with 150-1000 chemists for every opening.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Colorado Plateau
849 posts, read 966,560 times
Reputation: 627
Quote:
Originally Posted by davehalo View Post
Sometimes the questions are so specific because the job posting has been geared to a specific individual. the posting meets all legal req's but you will never be able to compete....

if you are competing at a GS-7 level and are still under 25, try getting into a fed agencies intern program. gets your foot in the door....
A few years back I worked as a student intern at the BLM. It was a great job that ended when I graduated. It was not a position where I could get Fed status and I was not able to get my foot in the door otherwise. I did apply for a Fed job while I was there. I was not really qualified for that job but it was a good opportunity to learn how to do a Fed application and my BLM friends were happy to help me with my application. Good learning experience.

I have watched local jobs (BLM, USFS, USGS, Bur Rec, PS, we have a lot of them here) on USAJobs since. I do believe that some job openings are for specific people already in mind. I have seen job postings open for only a week. A friend of mine, who I interned with, took a BLM term position and when she applied she was told what to put on her resume.

I have a nice job in the private sector but I'd apply for a Fed job if one came up that I'd like to do. My friend that I mentioned above does the same work I do but gets paid more in her Fed job than I do.
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