Hello All, I currently work for a multinational company as an internal auditor. I was recently oferred a position in the DC metro area as with one of the Federal agencies (NIH) at the GS-11 level with promotion potential to GS-13. Although I will be taking a slight paycut at first, I can easliy make 40% of my starting salary in 2 years. Plus the job security, benefits (health, retirement, relaxed hours etc.). The selection process was extremely competitive (I was selected from around 200 applicants). It seems like more and more people want to work for the federal govt. nowadays. Have any of you on this board ever worked/ are currently working for the feds? How has your experience been? Is it worth the move from private sector to the feds. Also I live in PA right now…how is it like to live in D.C( things to do, women, etc.). I am a single guy.
As a Washington, D.C. native whose parents were both federal employees and with half or more of my friends working for the federal government, I feel as though I can answer your questions, at least in part. 1) As far as Washington, D.C. goes (as in the District of Columbia itself and its surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia), I think you’ll instantly notice a difference in wealth compared to PA. The median income for a family of four is in the neighborhood of $100,000 area-wide with cost of living relatively high but not out-of-control AT all. Compare to Los Angeles with lower wages over all and much higher cost of living. The economy is still very very strong with Virginia seeing the best overall results due to their more favorable tax code. Rental rates compared to wages is very low. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you compare to your pay check. 2) D.C. area is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the nation for single young persons. And this is extremely true. So long as you stick to areas like NW Washington (Georgetown, Dupont Circle, etc.) and places like Arlington, VA (Clarendon, Ballston, Rosslyn, etc.) and Bethesda, MD, you will find the area oozing with young, beautiful and well educated women, and some of them are rich, too! 3) Now, as far as working for the feds, here’s what I’ll tell you–you will likely never become rich, but you will likely have a well paid job with reasonable hours pretty much for the rest of your life. I’d say if you are the real ambitious type, you will never mentally survive there, but if you are a guy looking to have an easy life with minimal struggles in life, getting on with the federal gov’t in Washington, D.C. is pretty much a golden ticket to easy street. You are right–getting on with the feds is VERY hard but getting thrown out is virtually impossible. I’ve heard of only one person ever getting fired from the feds–that person embezzled $250,000 (don’t steal from Washington–let them steal from you). Benefits are ridiculous, too. My mother, btw, is a retired federal employee receiving a pension (!) of $125,000 per year! PER YEAR! She lives in a $1 million house in Loudon County (outside of D.C.) paid for in cash. She retired 3 years ago at the age of 55 after 30 years of service. Unfortunately, benefits are not THIS good anymore. But they are still good.
The two hardest things with the Federal Government are getting hired and getting fired.
Working with the Feds can be mindnumbing; I think this is what kkent was saying about ambition. Lots of people just come in, do their thing and wait until they can retire and collect benefits. There are pockets of places where people seem to care about their work, and NIH might have some of them, particularly in the research-related areas.
Well I am moderately ambitious…the problem with my current job is that there is a ton of travel (domestic). The fed job is a auditing job as well (grant audits) but has no travel. What I was quite amazed was the flexibility they have (you can work from 6:30-3:30; 7:30-4:30 plus you can get every a alternate Friday off if you work 9 hours everyday. The people I have spoken to have conflicting views on this…some say this is a chance of a lifetime while others say that you may stagnate. But you can’t beat the work life balance.
Yes, bchad is correct. It can be VERY mindnumbing. But if you do your job, have hobbies, go out at night, you can have a very nice pay check, a nice home, family, fun and not worry about life. That is the real benefit of federal employment. It’s only 8 hours, 5 days per week. OR you could even choose to do 10 hours, 4 days per week, or 9 hours 4 days per week followed by 5 days. It’s just a lifestyle choice. But if you’re too smart, you will probably look for better things after several years.
Is it easy to transition from the feds back to private industry?
marcus phoenix Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Well I am moderately ambitious…the problem with > my current job is that there is a ton of travel > (domestic). The fed job is a auditing job as well > (grant audits) but has no travel. What I was quite > amazed was the flexibility they have (you can work > from 6:30-3:30; 7:30-4:30 plus you can get every a > alternate Friday off if you work 9 hours > everyday. > > The people I have spoken to have conflicting views > on this…some say this is a chance of a lifetime > while others say that you may stagnate. But you > can’t beat the work life balance. Ah, the joys of Flex Fridays. I didn’t know every agency had this option. I can’t speak for the NIH, but at the OTS there have been individuals who have moved into the private sector (and a significant amount who came back later on).
Brian…so you are in the OTS? How has your experience working for the feds been? Are you planning to stick it out for a long time? Also how difficult is it to relocate to a different city (say SF or NYC) within the feds?
marcus phoenix Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Brian…so you are in the OTS? How has your > experience working for the feds been? Are you > planning to stick it out for a long time? Also how > difficult is it to relocate to a different city > (say SF or NYC) within the feds? My experience over the past 1.5 years has been great, started right out of undergrad. Like kkent mentioned, the benefits are insane. I currently have 2 401K’s, a pension once it is vested, every other Friday off, etc. Surprisingly, the OTS had the largest offer on the table compared to other companies I interviewed for. I also enjoy the type of work I do since I am exposed to many areas and it involves a decent portion of financial analysis. Anyway, do I think I will stick it out for a long time? It depends on what your definition of long is. I do not expect to stay an examiner for the remainder of my career. Given my current goals, I’d like to be more involved in the equity markets and would like to apply to business school by the time I reach 28-29. So, it really depends on how you want to shape your career path. If you feel the position at the NIH won’t help you develop a transferable skill-set that aligns with your professional goals, then you probably should look elsewhere. Relocation shouldn’t be a problem.
So you don’t plan on being a Fed employee long term and want to shift to the private sector? At NIH my work will involve mostly grant audits looking for fraud, waste and abuse of funds.
I wouldn’t work for the Fed. Gov. or the DoD. They are my clients (I consult for them) and the level of their knowledge and competence would drive me insane if I had to work with them on a day to day basis.
I understand the incompetence of the DoD etc. But I’ve heard that NIH is a very prestigous place to work (fulll of PhD research scientists, MDs etc. engaged in clinical research). Of course I am on the auditing side but still will interact frequently with those kinds of people.
I used to work for an NGO in DC that had a headquarter office (for historical reasons) out on a farm in the deep south. Most of the brainwork was done in DC, but everything “officially” came from the HQ. Anyway, about twice a year, I had to go to HQ and spend a week or two with the staff there. It was interesting, sort-of. They had cows out on the farm, and I saw them being branded one time. I felt sad for them - it couldn’t have been pleasant, but at least the branding was quick. The other thing was that all the cows had ID tags basically stapled (not literal staples, but something like them) to their ears. It was odd to see them wandering about with these big plastic things just sticking off their ears in all directions, and it must have hurt more than a bit when they put the tags on them. Then I would get back to DC and ride the Metro back home. Suddenly I noticed that all the Federal workers loved to ride the metro with their ID tags still hanging around their necks. Now, they tended to place them nonchalantly around their necks, but after a while, you could tell that they are actually being more careful to advertise what branch or agency they work for, and possibly the role they have: DoD, Energy, Commerce, State, etc… And you could notice that they would discreetly check each other’s tags out to see who had the more important position or agency. All I could think of is how it would make things so much easier if their ID tags were simply stapled to their ears. It’s an image that still sits with me whenever I ride the DC metro.
Hey Bchadwick do you live in DC? How is the international dating scene there compared to say NYC ( I mean dating women from other parts of the world like Europe, South America, Asia etc.). Thats just my preference, being an immigrant myself. Anyways if you do live in DC do you enjoy it? Burbs or the city?
^Another person that refuses to date American women, hahahahahaha.
I’m in NYC now, but I lived in DC (Dupont Circle area) from 99-2003. The international dating scene is better in NY than DC, but it’s better in DC than many other parts of the country. The international community in DC is primarily related to the diplomatic community and the World Bank type groups. A certain number of NGO types too. In NY, you get more multinational corporation and established immigrant communities, so there’s just much more diversity. The international community in DC is there, but to my eyes it tended to be very elite and a bit (often more than a bit) snobby. If you’ve lived in NY, London, or Paris (or Shanghai or Sao Paulo), DC feels a bit provincial, but it’s definitely gotten more hip and urban in the past decade. It also compares favorably to many other parts of the country; it’s just hard to compete with NY-London-Paris for the pure density of cultural stuff. If you are getting ready to raise a family, though, DC is a good area, provided you are in a decent neighborhood.
adavydov7 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > ^Another person that refuses to date American > women, hahahahahaha. Well I find my comfort level greater with foreign women being an immigrant myself. Hence I was looking to see if DC was multicultural as well.
So is it worth leaving my job (I’ve been there only for 2 months) for the fed job - bchadwick?
In my experience the close to the coast and the larger the city equates to the larger your selection of different nationalities.