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Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-12-2005, 07:57 PM   #1
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Opinions on state/fed government jobs

I read some stats that basically spelled relief for job hunters. The article was about the huge outflow of state employees (all of you retired boomers) and their need to find & train new ones. I know many of you all like the idea of government jobs and my dad has been a fed for over 30 years. With my backround in business do any of you think it would be a good fit? I am afraid that if I didn't like it and jumped ship, the main benefit of a pension would be out the window. Maybe you all could post some pros/cons.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-12-2005, 09:00 PM   #2
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

The feds are bleeding red ink, and painful cuts are only a matter of time. Keep this in mind when making your decision
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-12-2005, 09:05 PM   #3
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

A friend of mine from DOD remarked once, "I don't want a job, I want a position". This is often true in industry as well as the Govt. Think of a bank branch manager or something like that. In the government (I am a 30+year Fed, my wife teaches school, and I know a lot of state and local employees) As in industry, one of the best positions you can get is to head a division you like. You are on the inside of management, you cannot be replaced except for really screwing up, and your bosses will come and go.
In local cities, the head of the fire, police, personnel or any department can be much harder to replace than the city manager. And mayors will come and go.
Now there are some challenges, you have to get up to the position you want and that takes education, skill, performance and politics. But generally you only have to do this once or in the cycle as you go up the line. Once you are there, if you do not have further ambitions, you are sort of set. Of course, you still have to make your function, well function. But you should understand it and you would have selected most of the folks below you so choose good people. (Hint: better to go without than select the wrong person.)
There is not much motivation to go for the real senior jobs in any government. In industry CEOs get what, 40 times the working level pay? In government the highest positions are rarely 8 and more likely 4 times the working wage. And you work all the time, and get turned over for poor performance or a change in politics. Senior people do go out of the government to high paying jobs in industry so that could be part of the plan.

Anyway, just comments from my experience.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 06:51 AM   #4
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

My opinion is that state jobs are best used as a stepping stone for federal jobs simply because the former doesnt pay as well, and often the benefits arnt as nice either.

I agree with the above poster in that after you reach a certain point, there is often little incentive to move higher. I'm currently a GS-12 project manager now, and when I look at the massive increase in responibility to get my bosses' job as a GS-13, i'm totally not interested. Especially considering that my wife works too, so the difference between, say, 110K/year and 120K/year just isnt that much, when taxes are considered.

Yeah, we're going through some downsizing for sure... so far they've managed to deal with reduced need and reduced funding by voluntary VISP/VERA and shuffling people around, but there is the potential cloud over our agency now for a potential upcoming RIF.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 08:08 AM   #5
 
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

I'm one of those baby boomers you refer to. I just took a Voluntary Early Retirement (VERA) from my federal agency and will receive a modest but livable annuity. Your dad would probably be the best source of information regarding whether or not a government job would be a good fit for you.

Regarding your comment that your "pension would be out the window" if you changed your mind and jumped ship, that isn't entirely true for the feds at least. The newer federal retirement program, FERS, has three components--pension, TSP (401K), and Social Security. The value of all of these are transferable to a private sector job, though I believe you take a significant hit on the pension portion.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 08:17 AM   #6
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

When I entered the workforce in 1957 the prevailing
attitude was to look for opportunity and challenge,
not benefits. Methinks the worm has turned in the
last half-century. :

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 08:58 AM   #7
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

Quote:
Methinks the worm has turned in the last half-century. * ::) Cheers, Charlie
Yes, back then work benefits were common and were regarded as an ethical mandate of the company-worker system... you can't expect today's employees to honor their side when it was abandoned by big corporate a couple decades ago!

While I still enjoy opportunities & challenge, I don't see how it'd be feasible without medical benefits. Especially with a family...
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 09:48 AM   #8
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

The "worm" has changed to some degree but I, personally, am all for opportunity and challenge. Young, energized and I haven't graduated from the school of hard knocks so hope remains on my front.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 12:01 PM   #9
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

Wildcat, my ex-stepmother once told me to get a civil service job. Boy, was she right! See my post under Fat Pensions. Get a job as a police officer or FIREfighter in a state (California and Nevada come to mind, but there are probably others) with a good pension plan that has early-out provisions for public safety employees. Work your way up the ranks by getting more education and taking promotional tests. Schmooze your way up as high as you can go and FIRE away.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

Patrick -

Thanks for the remarks. I am just wondering if I can find a job that would interest me, i.e. a financial job with a little excitement.
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 06:36 PM   #11
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

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... a financial job with a little excitement.
The U.S. military is always looking for civil-service comptrollers to work in Guam, Japan, Europe, and the Saudi Arabian peninsula. *How much excitement did you have in mind?

And the Army wants to know if you're licensed to drive a truck. *(Just asking.)
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-13-2005, 10:52 PM   #12
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

Quote:
When I entered the workforce in 1957 the prevailing
attitude was to look for opportunity and challenge,
not benefits. *Methinks the worm has turned in the
last half-century. * :Charlie
At least one might get that idea hanging around here and listening to what the young folks have to say.

Don't you think that this board could be an unusual population though?

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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-14-2005, 07:44 AM   #13
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

Quote:
I am just wondering if I can find a job that would interest me, i.e. a financial job with a little excitement.
Wildcat:

I had that kind of job before I retired from NASA in 2002. During my career I had jobs relating to financial systems, program analysis and then as financial manager on various flight projects. My final position was as financial manager of the Hubble Space Telescope Flight Systems and Servicing Project. During four years in that job I superivised the preparation and execution of the budgets that supported two shuttle servicing missions to HST. This involved working closely with the engineers and scientists and visiting contractor plants where the hardware was being built and tested. The job was challanging, exciting and rewarding. The retirement benefits are excellent. I retired at age 55, the week I became eligible.

I'm not saying that great jobs like that are common in the federal government or easy to come by. I took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves and I put up with a lot of bureaucratic crap along the way. Overall, it was a fine career that gave me a sense of accomplishment and allowed me to retire at 55 with financial security.

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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs
Old 04-14-2005, 10:02 AM   #14
 
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Re: Opinions on state/fed government jobs

Air Traffic Controller hiring binges are the 17 year cicadas of the federal government. After virtually no hiring in the last 10-15 years, some 15,000 openings will become available within the few years.

It's not for everyone, but the pay is generous ($100-160K depending on your location). You are offered a minimum 50% pension and health and life insurance after 25 years (or 20 years at age 50). And for those ER wannabees who start getting wobbly when the reality of retirement looms, they even offer the service of booting you out the door--whether you want to go or not--at age 56.
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