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A quandary
Old 09-27-2007, 09:30 AM   #1
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A quandary

An unexpected promotion is possible at work. I figured I'd be retiring a GS-9 LT and was starting a nice little countdown. Only 15 months and 3 days. Then one of my buddies got promoted to Captain and it appears I am the only one in the office interested in the position.

I am curious what those on, or planning on, Federal COLA'd pensions would consider sufficient incentive to stay in a truly hostile environment for an extra two years to get that "high 3". Balance the money against the reality that any day you enter the compound could be the day they take you out on a stretcher, in a body bag, or you could be taken hostage. (No, I don't work for the post office!)

My rough estimate shows the benefit of staying to be less than $200 a month. Doesn't exactly seem worth two more years in this environment to me. What I'm thinking of doing is taking the promotion, then leaving in 15 months anyway. Oh, about 3 months of that is going to be terminal sick leave as I burn up what the Feds won't pay me for any other way.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:35 AM   #2
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I was promoted last December in my federal (civilian) job, though I don't have the same problem as you might, because I plan to retire in 2009-2010.

Something to consider is that you don't have to stay for the entire three years for your high-three to benefit. So, if you retire in 15 months your hi-3 will still be better than it would have been.

Personally, I don't think that staying for the full three years would be worth it, for just $200. If I were in your shoes, I'd take it and then retire as previously planned!
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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What I'm thinking of doing is taking the promotion, then leaving in 15 months anyway. Oh, about 3 months of that is going to be terminal sick leave as I burn up what the Feds won't pay me for any other way.
Sounds like an excellent idea.
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:16 AM   #4
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Are u really looking for an answer? or you already got an answer and hope someone here will say the same thing..

well, it's like a "broken" marriage. stay or not stay? how long can i put up with it? ONLY you got an answer. My personal feeling is if you're NOT happy, little extra money is not worth it.


enuff
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:01 PM   #5
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Are u really looking for an answer? or you already got an answer and hope someone here will say the same thing.
Not really looking for an answer. And honestly, not looking for confirmation that I'm right either. Actually, I think I was more likely waiting to see if anybody had thought of a significant enough reason for me to stick around that I had not already thought of and discarded.
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:07 PM   #6
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My rough estimate shows the benefit of staying to be less than $200 a month.
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Balance the money against the reality that any day you enter the compound could be the day they take you out on a stretcher, in a body bag, or you could be taken hostage.
$20,000 a month - worth it.
$2,000 a month - questionable, but maybe worth it.
$200 a month - you gotta be kidding!
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:11 PM   #7
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...to stay in a truly hostile environment for an extra two years to get that "high 3". Balance the money against the reality that any day you enter the compound could be the day they take you out on a stretcher, in a body bag, or you could be taken hostage. ...

My rough estimate shows the benefit of staying to be less than $200 a month. Doesn't exactly seem worth two more years in this environment to me. What I'm thinking of doing is taking the promotion, then leaving in 15 months anyway. Oh, about 3 months of that is going to be terminal sick leave as I burn up what the Feds won't pay me for any other way.
I think you've answered your own question; take the promotion and plan to leave in 12 to 15 months. And don't forget: "Hey, let's be careful out there!" (Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues)
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:37 PM   #8
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Something to consider is that you don't have to stay for the entire three years for your high-three to benefit. So, if you retire in 15 months your hi-3 will still be better than it would have been.
Exactly, although perhaps the three-year issue is having to retire without sufficient time in the new paygrade to actually retire at the rank of that paygrade. You might not care about the rank, only the money.

Here's another issue to consider: Would you rather be the new boss (with all its attendant hassles) or would you rather work for the new boss? Take a look around you at all the candidates and consider which is worse...
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Old 09-27-2007, 02:59 PM   #9
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Oh, about 3 months of that is going to be terminal sick leave as I burn up what the Feds won't pay me for any other way.
From the sounds of it, I infer (could well be wrong) that you have the right to accumulate an overly-generous amount of sick days every year, which you have not used because you're fairly healthy and they are way more than you need. I also infer that you're planning on 'using up' that entitlement by claiming to be sick when you're really not, all the while drawing a regular paycheque.

I don't know all of the facts, and have no desire to pass judgment. But that would be the sort of thing that makes the general public so cynical about public servants.
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:08 PM   #10
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Milton, dude, the guy works in a prison--I'd let him have his sick pay!
Congrats on the promotion offer, Mike, whether you take it or not.
And be careful in there!
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Old 09-27-2007, 03:26 PM   #11
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From the sounds of it, I infer (could well be wrong) that you have the right to accumulate an overly-generous amount of sick days every year, which you have not used because you're fairly healthy and they are way more than you need. I also infer that you're planning on 'using up' that entitlement by claiming to be sick when you're really not, all the while drawing a regular paycheque.

I don't know all of the facts, and have no desire to pass judgment. But that would be the sort of thing that makes the general public so cynical about public servants.
And, if you decide to do it, it is dumb to post your intent on a public forum since it is not appropriate use of sick leave. If you work the whole time your three months of sick leave will be credited for retirement benefit setting purposes. Not as nice as getting paid full time and getting the credit, but not unreasonable.
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Old 09-27-2007, 04:29 PM   #12
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Milton, dude, the guy works in a prison--I'd let him have his sick pay!
If he works in a prison, I don't doubt that his working conditions are poor. But surely that fact is something that he took into account in evaluating whether to pursue the job in the first place.

If I don't like the wages and/or working conditions at my job, I am free to lobby for improvements; look elsewhere, for a better job; or take early retirement. But I am not free to unilaterally and covertly adjust the terms of my employment by stealing from my employer. That's called theft, and it's simply unethical.
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:04 PM   #13
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I don't know all of the facts, and have no desire to pass judgment.
Exactly, which is why I'd ask him what the rules are before I trotted out the ethics issue.

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But that would be the sort of thing that makes the general public so cynical about public servants.
Perhaps, but the management that sets up a system of sick leave and then decrees it to be "use it or lose it" could make its employees at least that cynical.

There has to be a system that encourages sick employees to stay home (instead of going to work and infecting the rest of their co-workers) but it should also discourage absenteeism. When I was working (five years ago) the federal civil-service system was "take some unless you don't need it" and the only other option was to donate one's sick days to a chronically-ill co-worker. I think people would be much better with a combination sick leave/personal time off system or some reward for not taking excessive numbers of mental-health days.

So if the prison has a sick-leave loophole that he can wriggle through, I say use it.

Gosh, I bet there are even companies that treat their employees like adults and let them decide whether they're too sick to go to work...
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Old 09-27-2007, 07:30 PM   #14
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Gosh, I bet there are even companies that treat their employees like adults and let them decide whether they're too sick to go to work...
They're right there with the companies that won't dock a "salaried" professional for being 3 minutes late one day, and require him to work hours and hours late for the love of the job the next.

Of course a young surfer dude like you wouldn't remember when "9 to 5" were the usual working hours for office workers in this country.
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Old 09-27-2007, 09:41 PM   #15
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Of course a young surfer dude like you wouldn't remember when "9 to 5" were the usual working hours for office workers in this country.
I never had a "real" job-- my "working hours" were usually a port & stbd watchbill rotation...
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Old 09-27-2007, 10:16 PM   #16
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Gosh, I bet there are even companies that treat their employees like adults and let them decide whether they're too sick to go to work...

Mine does with no doctor note required - and we are chronically short staffed as people call in sick daily. They work per diem somewhere else or if it is a nice day enjoy it.

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Old 09-28-2007, 08:38 AM   #17
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From the sounds of it, I infer (could well be wrong) that you have the right to accumulate an overly-generous amount of sick days every year, which you have not used because you're fairly healthy and they are way more than you need. I also infer that you're planning on 'using up' that entitlement by claiming to be sick when you're really not, all the while drawing a regular paycheque. I don't know all of the facts, and have no desire to pass judgment. But that would be the sort of thing that makes the general public so cynical about public servants.
Well Milton, we get 13 days a year. but if you ever want to see the ranks of supervisor you better not use more than 1 or 2. And yes, it does pile up. The Feds also used to buy it back for a percentage added to your retirement. That's what I was told when I joined up. Guess what? Recruiters lie. "That was the OLD retirement system, prior to 10-01-1984. You joined in 1985. Use it or lose it." Conflicting signals?

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Milton, dude, the guy works in a prison--I'd let him have his sick pay! Congrats on the promotion offer, Mike, whether you take it or not. And be careful in there!
Thanks Sarah, we try. Maybe the 15 weeks of light duty pain followed by rotator cuff surgery, and then 10 weeks of therapy to return to full duty is something Milton believes everyone should do?

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If he works in a prison, I don't doubt that his working conditions are poor. But surely that fact is something that he took into account in evaluating whether to pursue the job in the first place....But I am not free to unilaterally and covertly adjust the terms of my employment by stealing from my employer. That's called theft, and it's simply unethical.
Well, it's like this. What 27 year old, with no non-military job skills, a baby and a wife do YOU know who had the luxury of "evaluating" his working conditions? And like I said, recruiters lie.

As for theft, so far in the BOP I have injured and had surgery on two knees and one shoulder. I can pretty much qualify for a medical retirement right now. And that's without the USMC's share of the list, two ankles. I'm a walking wreck. So when the time comes and if I choose to ride out my last three months on sick leave I've got more than enough medical justification for it. That's not theft. That's dedication just to go to work every day.

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There has to be a system that encourages sick employees to stay home (instead of going to work and infecting the rest of their co-workers) but it should also discourage absenteeism....So if the prison has a sick-leave loophole that he can wriggle through, I say use it....
Gosh, I bet there are even companies that treat their employees like adults and let them decide whether they're too sick to go to work...
Nords, nothing personal here, no attacks. Just answering key points. We hand out sick leave abuse letters like candy. Know what happens? Nothing. New warden says people are going to get street time for it. Know what the hacks say? OK, put me on the street for three days, and then I'll bang for three days. My medical conditions are not loopholes. They are facts that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. And like many of my friends from the military I earned them so people like Milton can sleep well at night. Not crying about them, I'm proud of what I do and have done, both in the Corps and in the BOP. Would love to work for a company or agency that didn't persecute reasonable use of sick leave.

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They're right there with the companies that won't dock a "salaried" professional for being 3 minutes late one day, and require him to work hours and hours late for the love of the job the next. Of course a young surfer dude like you wouldn't remember when "9 to 5" were the usual working hours for office workers in this country.
W2R, amen. No mention is ever made of the hour or two that I give up here or there because the "boys" can't play nice. And for some reason it NEVER happens at the BEGINNING of my shift. Go figure?
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:46 AM   #18
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lthrnckpa,

I don't agree with your rationale, but of course you are going to do what you want to and there is no sense my debating it with you: which would only make both of us annoyed with each other.

And so God bless you, dear old Pip, old chap, God bless you.

Milton

P.S. Re sleeping at night: I spent 15 years as a naval officer, so please don't come the old soldier with me.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:55 AM   #19
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And if no one has said it to either of you today, THANKS to Mike and to Nords for your service to our country and our freedom! I really appreciate your sacrifice now and in the past. My BIL is active duty now, and I will be very glad to see the much deserved pension he will get when he retires.
Mike, you are doing a thankless job at BOP, and I appreciate that you do your best to keep us safe from these criminals! I hope that your injuries will get better with time.

Psst, I think Milton is a Canadian, he spells paycheck funny.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:26 PM   #20
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W2R, amen. No mention is ever made of the hour or two that I give up here or there because the "boys" can't play nice. And for some reason it NEVER happens at the BEGINNING of my shift. Go figure?
Yeah, why IS that? It's the same with my job (which is very different from yours). Must be Somebody's Law. All the "OMG OMG!!!" situations occur five minutes before I am scheduled to leave. Whoever heard of an oceanographic emergency, anyway? But there's always something that comes up at the last minute.
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