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ravens34  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:34:08 PM(UTC)
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I am a GS-12 all source analyst in the IC with an active TS/SCI but no poly. I have a MS in engineering, but haven't done any real engineering in 6 years. This is open ended, but should I be looking at contractor jobs? How much do contractor jobs pay? Is the salary increase worth the loss of job security and FERS? What types of jobs would I be qualified for with my background?

Edited by user Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:34:44 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

King_Fed  
#2 Posted : Friday, June 01, 2018 1:29:28 PM(UTC)
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I'm NOT disagreeing with the post above... but... I'm running into more and more contractors who have decided not to go gov due to the pay. They state the pay and benefits of their current job is much better than they could make in the gov't.

Truth is, I don't know... people say that but we are not getting into numbers. I don't know if the spouse is pulling down $500,000 a year as a realtor or something like that. They could be saying that since they have given up on getting a fed job. Or they could have run the numbers and it is true. Don't know.

I ran the numbers maybe 5 years ago and it did not make sense for me at the time. Now with the skills I have now I might look at it. I was approached a while ago at a function but the person wanted me to work too far away.

You might want to apply and run the numbers... do a "light" feel with some companies (ask for an "informational interview") and see where it takes you. Might be surprised either way....
mg9  
#3 Posted : Friday, June 01, 2018 5:34:33 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ravens34 Go to Quoted Post
I am a GS-12 all source analyst in the IC with an active TS/SCI but no poly. I have a MS in engineering, but haven't done any real engineering in 6 years. This is open ended, but should I be looking at contractor jobs? How much do contractor jobs pay? Is the salary increase worth the loss of job security and FERS? What types of jobs would I be qualified for with my background?


Hi,
Im on my last week as a DoD/DoN contractor and a hiring manager in the IT/Engineering and Program/Project Management field . I just got my final offer for GS 12 last week yay! Took a huge pay cut.

The money is great, lots of flexibility, you'll work with brilliant people and the benefits are decent. The biggest downside is like others have said is the lack of stability.

Basically you could be hired tomorrow as a contractor at $70-150k easy(depending on location and your field) BUT you could literally be laid off the next day for any reason(funding, RIF's, change in billets or losing a recompete). Unfortunately Ive seen it too many times and thats why I decided to go fed. The other downside most contractors watch out for is the "customer" factor. Basically some commands or agencies can be very very difficult to work for so you could end up in a high stress environment with a very high turn over rate, which definitely disrupts the work quality since you will lose intellectual capital constantly. I worked for a very very difficult Navy command(known in the industry for being difficult), great money but high stress. Make sure you ask about the "customer" during your interview.

Other risks to consider: Type of contractors, Contract length, how long has the contractor held the contract and most importantly is the position already funded.

To sum it up: It really depends on your situation. If you prefer money over stability "high risk high reward" go contractor. Keep in mind you also need to have relevant experience and industry certifications to be successful in that environment. Let me know if you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Good luck!

Edited by user Friday, June 01, 2018 6:39:29 PM(UTC)  | Reason: My grammar is horrible today sorry!

thanks 1 user thanked mg9 for this useful post.
ringslider on 6/9/2018(UTC)
HooComp  
#4 Posted : Monday, June 04, 2018 10:50:27 AM(UTC)
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I am in full agreement with the other posters, so my answer is it is up to you. Your earning potential has the possibility of being astronomical, but it can also be average or poor. Remember, contractors often have to compete for work and price (including employee salaries) is a competitive factor. You could be in a position where you will have to re-apply for your job at a lower pay every time there is a new contract. Benefits will vary from company to company and often do not carry over. For example, for contactor A an employee working for three years gets three weeks vacation instead of two. So you get your perk, but then Contractor B comes in and wins the contract. Contractor B is likely not under any obligation to honor that time, so you lose vacation days doing the same job.
At the same time you get flexibility and nice perks with some companies. Some contractors throw in a Costco membership and lunches for employees. It happens. Remember, the grass is always greener. Look how many people in Government work want private sector work, then look at these forums and see how many private sector people want Government work. It is a choice based off your goals and desires with life.
meinhoonna  
#5 Posted : Monday, June 04, 2018 10:59:14 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: mg9 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: ravens34 Go to Quoted Post
I am a GS-12 all source analyst in the IC with an active TS/SCI but no poly. I have a MS in engineering, but haven't done any real engineering in 6 years. This is open ended, but should I be looking at contractor jobs? How much do contractor jobs pay? Is the salary increase worth the loss of job security and FERS? What types of jobs would I be qualified for with my background?


Unfortunately Ive seen it too many times and thats why I decided to go fed. The other downside most contractors watch out for is the "customer" factor. Basically some commands or agencies can be very very difficult to work for so you could end up in a high stress environment with a very high turn over rate, which definitely disrupts the work quality since you will lose intellectual capital constantly. I worked for a very very difficult Navy command(known in the industry for being difficult), great money but high stress. Make sure you ask about the "customer" during your interview.




Adjusted your comment so it does not take up space. What do you mean by "Ask about the 'customer' during the interview"




frankgonzalez  
#6 Posted : Monday, June 04, 2018 11:22:20 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: meinhoonna Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: mg9 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: ravens34 Go to Quoted Post
I am a GS-12 all source analyst in the IC with an active TS/SCI but no poly. I have a MS in engineering, but haven't done any real engineering in 6 years. This is open ended, but should I be looking at contractor jobs? How much do contractor jobs pay? Is the salary increase worth the loss of job security and FERS? What types of jobs would I be qualified for with my background?


Unfortunately Ive seen it too many times and thats why I decided to go fed. The other downside most contractors watch out for is the "customer" factor. Basically some commands or agencies can be very very difficult to work for so you could end up in a high stress environment with a very high turn over rate, which definitely disrupts the work quality since you will lose intellectual capital constantly. I worked for a very very difficult Navy command(known in the industry for being difficult), great money but high stress. Make sure you ask about the "customer" during your interview.




Adjusted your comment so it does not take up space. What do you mean by "Ask about the 'customer' during the interview"




ie. "Who's the primary customer on this contract? And what are they like to work with?" Response could be.."the primary is Kennedy Space Center and they are laid back, but the team here in DC this position will mainly interface with can be hard to please..."
You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
thanks 2 users thanked frankgonzalez for this useful post.
meinhoonna on 6/4/2018(UTC), ringslider on 6/9/2018(UTC)
someoldguy  
#7 Posted : Saturday, June 09, 2018 5:15:09 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TMHTE Go to Quoted Post
There's a reason why lots of contractors are hopping on to be govvies and not the other way around.

But is that still true? So many IC agencies have an out-of-balance workforce with more 14s and 15s than under-13s (or very nearly so) which drives them to bring people on at very low grades. That would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that most of these jobs are in the Washington DC area (or "DMV" for DC-MD-VA) where the cost of living is very high.

Now, if somebody is a 12, it may take some time to get promoted to 13. I like to say that 13 is the new 14, where it used to be possible (though by no means guaranteed) to get promoted to 14 without becoming a supervisor. In recent years, folks have plateaued at 13. I think from now on the plateau will be at 12.

One clear downside to being a contractor is the lack of training.
DISCLAIMER: You read it on an open internet forum :)
thanks 1 user thanked someoldguy for this useful post.
ringslider on 6/9/2018(UTC)
King_Fed  
#8 Posted : Sunday, June 10, 2018 12:39:12 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: someoldguy Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: TMHTE Go to Quoted Post
There's a reason why lots of contractors are hopping on to be govvies and not the other way around.

But is that still true? So many IC agencies have an out-of-balance workforce with more 14s and 15s than under-13s (or very nearly so) which drives them to bring people on at very low grades. That would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that most of these jobs are in the Washington DC area (or "DMV" for DC-MD-VA) where the cost of living is very high.

Now, if somebody is a 12, it may take some time to get promoted to 13. I like to say that 13 is the new 14, where it used to be possible (though by no means guaranteed) to get promoted to 14 without becoming a supervisor. In recent years, folks have plateaued at 13. I think from now on the plateau will be at 12.

One clear downside to being a contractor is the lack of training.


I know a 9 who is stuck at that grade and won't be moving anytime soon. Been a gs9 for over 10 years. He is going contractor.... I personally think it is a mistake... he has essentially not tried hard enough to be a good employee... I don't think the contract purchaser will put up with him. Flip side is that maybe he will find something he is good at... he is not good in hi-pressure situations. I agree with his thought that he has to try something though.

I also have another friend stressed over the renewal of the contract he is on. Says he does not know if he will get to stay if a new company is awarded the contract. Last couple of times the "new" company kept him there. He is a good employee, but getting up there in pay (as he admits, that could hurt him... ie bring in someone cheaper -- he can always take a pay cut though).
ravens34  
#9 Posted : Sunday, June 10, 2018 12:59:05 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TMHTE Go to Quoted Post

Fast forward about 8 years later and I got out of the military and accepted my first contract gig with a Marine unit out in Afghanistan. It was okay for me because it was known that I used to be one of them not long ago, but we still had disagreements here and there. For everybody else who wasn't a Marine, they frequently butted heads with the unit and the command essentially let the enlisted guys walk all over them. Imagine some little E-4 or whatever who was in middle school while you were on your 3rd deployment trying to boss you around - and you have to sit there and take it because you could be removed in 24 hours. As a contractor, you have to let your pride/ego go because your job is on the line. As a govvie, you can literally scream at people and get a stern talking to...maybe.
Maybe, not quite the same situation, but we have GS-14s who report to O-3s or even sometimes an O-2. Unless you get promoted to GS-15 or the rare supervisory GS-14 position, you have to accept at some point your boss is going to be a decade+ younger than you are.

Are you looking to be an intel analyst?
I'm not fixed on staying an intel analyst. However, since it's all I've done for the past 6 years, I'm not sure what else I would apply for. Maybe, I could try getting some contract experience on the government side first and then switching over?
If so, just know that the stateside market over the last decade has been oversaturated with former military intel getting out and happily working for peanuts. Their 1stSgt brainwashed them into thinking they would be failures if they didn't reenlist, so for the first few years at least, they're content making 50k (in NOVA/DC...before taxes) as junior analysts for a subcontractor nobody has ever heard of.
Wow, that's way below what I was expecting on salary.


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