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Defense Language Institute
Old 02-27-2008, 06:40 PM   #21
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Defense Language Institute

That's exactly where I am thinking. A few years ago I contemplated doing a Master's at Monterey Institute of International Studies, so I toured Monterey and visited the school. I loved the peninsula. It turned out the graduates in the area I was looking at made less money than my current job, so I did not pursue it. But being a teacher at DLI would be different.

I so appreciate all of your comments and feedback. Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:15 PM   #22
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While the fed medical plans are awesome [we use BCBS PPO], the fed dental plan suuuuucckkks. So we use my company's plan. The last couple of times I've gotten a prescription, I've had to pay something like $1.00 for a 30 day supply. Also, my kids' OT and speech therapy was extremely cheap. If you're used to the state gov't and employees, then the bureucracy [sp] of the fed gov't probably shouldn't bother you.

Though, I do have to concur that your happiness will depend heavily on your coworkers and supervisors. DW has worked to two fed agencies, and at both places the better the supervisors, the better the work environment. Also note that just because you may think the agency you interview with is "top notch", it is likely that there are just as many freakin' morons there as in any other agency. DW thought when she moved from the Coast Guard to "the largest employer in MD" , she'd be working at an agency that had all it's s**t together. WRONG!! Not to be sexist, but to quote her "There are waaaay too many women in my office!"

- Alec
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:24 PM   #23
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Not to be sexist, but to quote her "There are waaaay too many women in my office!"
I know what your wife means. My current work is like a dysfunctional family, with the two people leading the project disagreeing on everything. They are both in their 60s, a man and a woman. Staff meetings are spent with them arguing with each other. Unfortunately we have about 3 of these meetings a week, 1.5 to 2 hours each.
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:28 PM   #24
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I know what your wife means. My current work is like a dysfunctional family, with the two people leading the project disagreeing on everything. They are both in their 60s, a man and a woman. Staff meetings are spent with them arguing with each other. Unfortunately we have about 3 of these meetings a week, 1.5 to 2 hours each.
Good to see the cogs of federal government work so smoothly
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:42 PM   #25
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I think since the war, extensive travel opportunities and conference attendance have been cut back. Our budget cuts have been getting worse and worse every year. I guess it depends on the job but the last two agencies I worked for having been cutting costs like crazy.
Spouse has a Navy Reserve billet in emergency planning & disaster response. She spends a lot of time with FEMA and HD, and their travel funds seem to be looking for reasons to exist... she could travel monthly from Hawaii to the Mainland if she chose to.

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I was sent to Monterey for meetings last year. The aquarium brought tears to my eyes - - it was so beautiful. I was only able to get away from meetings and see it over the lunch hour, so I had to practically sprint through it, despite spending $23 for my ticket which seemed like a lot to me. Other than the aquarium trip, I wished I was back at home.
Naval Postgraduate School was our best duty ever, bar none, almost as good as ER. We were volunteer aquarium guides for a couple years and we still have framed exhibit posters. I really enjoyed the kelp forest feedings and the tide machine designed by David Packard.

I imagine things have changed a bit in the last 20 years. We haven't found a reason to return yet, but we'll visit back there someday.
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:44 AM   #26
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Travel

Travel does not bother me at all. In fact I enjoy it. My father has traveled all over the world for work, including the Russia, Asia, Middle East and Africa, and I have always wished I had a job like that.

It may be different if we ever have kids, but for now, I don't mind traveling at all. I guess "Pros" and "Cons" are really in the eyes of the beholder.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:32 AM   #27
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I know what your wife means. My current work is like a dysfunctional family, with the two people leading the project disagreeing on everything. They are both in their 60s, a man and a woman. Staff meetings are spent with them arguing with each other. Unfortunately we have about 3 of these meetings a week, 1.5 to 2 hours each.
marathon meetings..oh how i miss those. the hours and hours of watching people enjoy the sound of their own voices. and not get a darn thing done. we had mixed govt and contractors, and all these contractors had deadlines to meet, often that day, and often due to me. so i adopted my own little plan that after the allotted 1 hour, i would stand up and announce to my fellow govt folks that i had another appt to make. i told the industry folks on the side that they were welcome to make their exit also on my "signal". it was like being a local hero. one particular blabbermouth never did get it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:17 AM   #28
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Pros: stability, nice home life (in general), times to get on this board
Cons: lower pay, politics, somewhat less fullfilling

Recommendation: if you have a lay back personality, want a real home life then feds are good for you. If you're ambition, gun-ho and crazy, understand finance you can shorten your working life from 30-40 years in the feds to 20-25 years in industry. That is how u can achieve Early Retirement. Personally I think working 30-35 years is too long, especially for the feds.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:29 AM   #29
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If you're ambition, gun-ho and crazy, understand finance you can shorten your working life from 30-40 years in the feds to 20-25 years in industry.
What are you saying here? That with seeking out higher pay in industry, you can save enough additional money to pay for FIRE health insurance out of pocket AND overcome the loss of a generous pension with your own savings to retire 10 years earlier?

I'm sure that math works for a few, but as time goes on, those benefits become more and more precious, and more and more valuable. And it only works for people who are motivated to FIRE from a rather early age, and who have the discipline to squirrel 20% of the paycheck away before they start spending it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:14 AM   #30
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Goodsense,
Out of curiosity what language?
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:50 AM   #31
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"..What are you saying here? That with seeking out higher pay in industry, you can save enough additional money to pay for FIRE health insurance out of pocket AND overcome the loss of a generous pension with your own savings to retire 10 years earlier?..."


Please correct me if i am wrong.

Suppose i make $50k/year for 30 years in the feds (stability, lower stress) or make $75k/year for 25 years in industry (unstable, high stress) and if i "understand finance" and invest well on the "extra" 25k for 25 years. wouldn't i be better off?

assuming that i want 50% income on retirement and the return let;s say 13% for 25 years.
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:12 AM   #32
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Please correct me if i am wrong.

Suppose i make $50k/year for 30 years in the feds (stability, lower stress) or make $75k/year for 25 years in industry (unstable, high stress) and if i "understand finance" and invest well on the "extra" 25k for 25 years. wouldn't i be better off?

assuming that i want 50% income on retirement and the return let;s say 13% for 25 years.
I'm not saying you're wrong -- I just wanted to make sure that these were the assumptions you were making, because that's what it takes to make it work. That's what it takes to overcome the loss of a pension AND the need to eat all health insurance costs until age 65.

Of course, there's also a quality of life issue for many as the private sector can mean working more hours and living with the stress of diminished job security and likely loss of pensions and retiree health care benefits. And, yes, the potential for higher incomes does offset that. Whether it offsets it partially, completely or more than completely depends on the individual, their ambitions and their ability to save and invest wisely.

The only point I'd quibble with is: 13% ROI for 25 years? And to think I thought Dave Ramsey was being overconfident when he keeps talking about expecting a 12% long-term return in stock funds. Sure, at 13% it's easy to make the math work.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 02-28-2008, 10:35 AM   #33
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I think we have had this discussion before about higher income in the private sector sometimes being a myth...There has also been some government employees post here that said that their job experience didnt translate into the private sector...

I think one thing that people forget to mention is civil service protection...yeah, it might be useful considering there is politics in every job...
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Old 02-28-2008, 10:52 AM   #34
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I think we have had this discussion before about higher income in the private sector sometimes being a myth...There has also been some government employees post here that said that their job experience didnt translate into the private sector...
Well, I don't think it's purely a myth, but I also think some have the tendency to overstate the difference in overall compensation -- especially when you remember to count the value of benefits. Plus, as I implied earlier, there is a "value" to added job security and less uncertainty about your financial future that can't really be quantified (different people will value it differently).

As far as skills not translating to the private sector, in talking to many managers over the years I think it's less a matter of skill sets not being useful, and more due to concern that the private sector has about whether or not a public servant can adjust to the more cutthroat and mercenary mentality of the private sector. The "rules" of the game in private enterprise can be hard for some public sector employees to accept, much less embrace -- which can make it harder for them to excel and flourish in that arena, and thus make private sector employers apprehensive about hiring them.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:06 AM   #35
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Myth or truth about Feds and Private Sector salaries is hard to prove. A government employee lawyer or doctor can make more or less in the private sector is totally up to him or her. I do know now MANY MANY new graduates that i know LOVE to get a job with the nonprofit and government run organization. like the feds, states, school, county jobs. it was not like that 15 or 20 years ago. at least not with the group that i graduated with.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:12 AM   #36
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I do know now MANY MANY new graduates that i know LOVE to get a job with the nonprofit and government run organization. like the feds, states, school, county jobs. it was not like that 15 or 20 years ago. at least not with the group that i graduated with.
Well, sure. As I mentioned earlier, I think people are valuing job security and benefits like health insurance and pensions more highly than ever because these are all eroding so rapidly in the private sector. And many people value stability and security more than maximizing income potential in a "scarier," less certain and less stable world or private enterprise.

The problem is that these benefits are starting to bankrupt the taxpayers -- indeed, these costs are starting to bankrupt some local governments -- and since the taxpayers are less and less likely to have these benefits for themselves, resentment toward paying for it may be on the rise.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:15 AM   #37
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it's kind of scary to think almost everyone wants a government job where everything is NON-profit driven. i totally agree with you that eventually it will bankrupt the taxpayers. At the county level where i am at, once you got a job with the county the job is for life.


i wonder if other country like russian, japan, china, korea.... most young graduate like to get a government job?
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:56 PM   #38
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It appears that tax payer efforts to thwart gov employee compensation increases, etc., are right on. At least based on the discussion here.
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:08 PM   #39
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It appears that tax payer efforts to thwart gov employee compensation increases, etc., are right on. At least based on the discussion here.
I think part of it is that taxpayers were more willing to pay for raises and top-notch benefits for government employees when they were getting a similar deal in their private sector job.

But as pensions and retiree health insurance go the way of the dodo in the private sector, I think taxpayer willingness to pay escalating tax burdens in order to secure benefits for others which they don't get themselves starts turning into resentment.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:18 PM   #40
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I think that for a language teacher, or a translator, a FED position would probably pay better than other similar positions.

As other have said, workplace culture is always an issue but that is true everywhere.
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