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Old 03-23-2011, 10:41 AM   #21
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A year or two before I retired, I was verbally offered a tremendously interesting job at a higher GS level at my agency's HQ in the DC area. I was tempted just because the job sounded so fascinating, but then regained my sanity and didn't pursue it.
I always advise the reverse. There are lots of very bright people in agency field offices (I was one, and I am sure you were too ). But there is lots more room for promotion in DC and (in my opinion) a smaller proportion of bench talent than in the field. So a reasonably smart person can do very well at HQ. Coming just for the money is questionable as you note because of cost of living. But fascinating work plus money is a winning combination. Someone could simply LBYM while working at what they love and then ER to their hometown (or other low cost area) with a higher pension.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:23 AM   #22
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I always advise the reverse. There are lots of very bright people in agency field offices (I was one, and I am sure you were too ). But there is lots more room for promotion in DC and (in my opinion) a smaller proportion of bench talent than in the field. So a reasonably smart person can do very well at HQ. Coming just for the money is questionable as you note because of cost of living. But fascinating work plus money is a winning combination. Someone could simply LBYM while working at what they love and then ER to their hometown (or other low cost area) with a higher pension.
Of course "a reasonably smart person can do very well at HQ", especially if you are speaking of salary alone. This is especially true for young, up-and-coming federal employees (which I was not, a year or two before retiring).

Actually I like to think that I did very well in New Orleans. The person who was trying to recruit me pretty much expected my response since he had heard the same from other older scientists at my level before.
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:25 PM   #23
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The only problem is winter and, if I remember correctly, Charles Kurault once wrote "In North Dakota winter is a joke that keeps people together". All in all it is a great place to live.
When our born-and-raised-in-Hawaii daughter was visiting Notre Dame, she asked the college-student tour guide how cold it got during the winter.

The guide, a sophomore, said "Oh, winters are such fun here. We all bond together like a big family and spend a lot of time in the dorms coming up with great activities. Why, in February we even have a Hawaii-themed beach party! There's so much to do in the student buildings, blah blah blah..."

During this paean to South Bend's winter wonderland, I eventually noticed that she hadn't coughed up a number yet. A few seats down, one of the other parents noted the same. Seeing our Hawaii t-shirts & shorts, he took pity on our ignorance and leaned over to announce sotto voce "20 below!" My spouse and I, raised in the northeast but having forgotten most of what we learned about winter, simultaneously winced & groaned in horror.

My daughter, politely listening to the sophomore's soliloquy, heard his remark and our reactions and looked down to ask "20 below what?" That pretty much stopped the sophomore's speech right there.

Later our daughter told us that she thought he meant 20 degrees below the temperature it was then, and 55 degrees didn't sound so bad to her.

Her well-being is much better in Houston...
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:27 PM   #24
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Of course "a reasonably smart person can do very well at HQ", especially if you are speaking of salary alone. This is especially true for young, up-and-coming federal employees (which I was not, a year or two before retiring).

Actually I like to think that I did very well in New Orleans. The person who was trying to recruit me pretty much expected my response since he had heard the same from other older scientists at my level before.
I worked and HQ at my agency. Sure, there were advantages including promotion opportunities and being in on the big happenings. Even so, I often envied those in the field offices. It was a much more casual atmosphere without all the big wigs roaming around looking for ways to make people miserable.
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:10 AM   #25
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That's what we Illini do. Some stuck but one bounced back as mayor........
...courtesy of the best judicial decison that money could buy.

Some things never change, and Chicago politics is certainly one of them.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:48 AM   #26
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[QUOTE=Nords;1050717]Seeing our Hawaii t-shirts & shorts, he took pity on our ignorance and leaned over to announce sotto voce "20 below!" /QUOTE]

One of the local's favorite pastimes at the Air Force Station where I worked was "let's scare the new comers about winter".
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