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allthelivelong  
#1 Posted : Saturday, June 20, 2020 7:51:18 AM(UTC)
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I recently interviewed for a position at DOJ (my first time interviewing for a Fed role), and I think there's a pretty good chance they're going to make me an offer. They scouted me aggressively for this job, the interview went really well, and they have recently been calling my references, including a former boss who told me that the hiring manager explicitly said I was their preferred candidate.

The job seems amazing, and I'd be thrilled with an offer. There's just one big problem: I live in Chicago, and I'm not interested in moving to DC. Not only do my wife and I have hard-earned roots, family, and friends here, but my wife's career is completely based on her network, which is 100% in Chicago, and not the kind of thing you can pick up and move. On the other hand, the DOJ job is a sit-in-front-of-a-computer-all-day gig that seems totally doable remotely (it's GS-13, if that matters).

So my goal is to try and negotiate teleworking full-time from Chicago. Given that everyone has been successfully working remotely for several months, this seems like the ideal time to make such a long-shot request. I've been doing research to try to make the best case I can. Here's what I'm planning to offer:
-I'll come to DC for 2-3 full weeks for onboarding (assuming they're back to doing that in-person by then)
-I'll fly out to DC regularly (even every month, if needed) for any major events or meetings that require me to be there in-person
-Since this team values close collaboration across DOJ, I'll promise to meet benchmarks for "virtual coffees" and relationship-building with colleagues across the Department
-I'll offer to implement (at my own expense, if necessary) any cybersecurity requirements in my home to ensure secure transfer of sensitive data
-I'll keep EST hours, so that I'm in-sync with the rest of the DOJ

And if there's (inevitably) resistance about how this could work, I'm prepared to make the following arguments:
-How do they know I'll be a good remote employee? I worked remotely full-time for two years previously with great success, in addition to the last 3+ months. I'll offer to put them in touch with colleagues who can attest to that. I'll also cite an OPM study finding that telework among federal workers was strongly associated with higher performance, and increased likelihood of staying in one’s job
-What if the hiring manager says, "I'd love to say yes, but it's not my call"? I'll note that OPM guidance states that "supervisors generally have discretion to implement telework to fit the business needs of their organizations”
-What if there are security concerns about accessing data, etc? I'll note that DOJ has been doing this successfully and safely for several months. In fact, in a recent webinar, the Chief Information Security Officer for the DOJ stated: “It’s gone very well, and I expect that there will be an increased utilization of teleworking going into the future. This event has helped us lay the groundwork to allow us to be able to support that with a lot better quality, which is probably one of the fears folks have had in the past. So we can support it a lot better nowadays. So I expect that we’ll see more of it."

Also, I'll note that there's likely to be a second wave of COVID, meaning we may not be in the office for much of the coming year, anyway. (Indeed, according to a recent NY Times story, the majority of epidemiologists say they won’t be comfortable working in a shared office for another 3 to 12 months.)

On top of all that, I'll note that this could be a win-win that goes beyond just me and the office I'd be working for. If we can set a precedent for full-time telework, think about the nationwide talent that DOJ could suddenly have access to! I really think it could be a game-changer for DOJ and the Federal gov, and this is the moment when such a change might just be possible.

I'd love to know... what do you all think of this plan? Is there a way I can make a stronger argument? What am I not thinking about? What are the odds of something like this actually panning out?

Would appreciate any feedback from Feds who have inside knowledge of DOJ, who successfully negotiated a similar kind of arrangement, or who tried and failed to do what I'm doing. Thanks!

Edited by user Saturday, June 20, 2020 7:58:52 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

thanks 1 user thanked allthelivelong for this useful post.
fedattorney on 1/10/2022(UTC)
GWPDA  
#2 Posted : Saturday, June 20, 2020 9:19:46 AM(UTC)
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Good luck. Don't count on it.
thanks 3 users thanked GWPDA for this useful post.
allthelivelong on 6/20/2020(UTC), TheUnderverse15 on 6/22/2020(UTC), frankgonzalez on 6/22/2020(UTC)
djp  
#3 Posted : Saturday, June 20, 2020 9:20:13 AM(UTC)

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DOJ should have offices in chicsgo.

A problem is they likely didn’t announce this as telework eligible which could make it an issue. They could get around thus by letting you work in chicago then local teleworking is different from remote site virtual work.

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allthelivelong on 6/20/2020(UTC)
allthelivelong  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, July 14, 2020 11:46:51 AM(UTC)
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Thought I'd follow up about how this got resolved, in case it's useful for others!

I got the job offer and responded with a detailed proposal of how I could do the work remotely. Then I had a Zoom call with my soon-to-be boss to discuss this proposal. While he agreed that much of the work could be done remotely, he also emphasized that the office's most impactful work happens in meetings and presentations in-person. So while it would be possible, he thought a remote arrangement would be highly "suboptimal." He also didn't think HR would authorize a full-time telework arrangement for a brand new federal employee.

Instead, he proposed a counter-offer: That I onboard in Chicago and continue teleworking for 1 year, then relocate to DC for 1 year. The idea was that, since the whole office will be teleworking for many more months anyway, it wouldn't be a big deal to give a me a few more months on top of that. But that extra time will allow my wife and I to get our ducks in a row, so that she can also launch a successful career in DC.

He also knows that my end-goal is to come back to Chicago. So after my year in DC, we agreed to essentially see what happens. Best case scenario, he said I may be able to telework from Chicago at that point (he was clear that he couldn't promise this, but he said he'd fight for it -- and I'd have 2 years of Federal service under my belt, which would improve the odds with HR). Worst case scenario, I just find a new job in Chicago, but with 2 years of great experience to launch me into my next venture.

I accepted this offer, and am now going through the security process. Looking forward to starting!
thanks 4 users thanked allthelivelong for this useful post.
JDSIII on 7/15/2020(UTC), SD Analyst on 12/28/2020(UTC), Monnica1 on 5/11/2021(UTC), fedattorney on 1/10/2022(UTC)
JDSIII  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, July 15, 2020 6:27:32 AM(UTC)
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Congrats on the offer!
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allthelivelong on 7/15/2020(UTC), Monnica1 on 5/11/2021(UTC)
djp  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, July 15, 2020 12:11:59 PM(UTC)

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This is the unknown...how much does it matter if you participate via zoom in a meeting vs be there physically.

If these key meeting only happen say once a quarter travel between the two isn’t hard to do.

Chicago doesn’t have much in federal jobs beyond the standard large city jobs in immigration, TSA, VA, FBI, Social security, federal court, military bases: Pasdport office , federally regulated commodities market)
randomized  
#7 Posted : Monday, October 19, 2020 7:26:25 PM(UTC)

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Wow! Are you me? I'm in this exact spot. Located in Chicago, received offer in DC but attempting to negotiate remote or telework so I can continue living here. How are things working out so far?
thanks 2 users thanked for this useful post.
Monnica1 on 5/11/2021(UTC), fedattorney on 1/10/2022(UTC)
allthelivelong  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 7:49:55 AM(UTC)
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Ha! Well, I hope my earlier posts were useful to you.

It's working out great so far. The job is amazing, and since everyone in my office is also still working remotely, it's been no big deal at all. It will be interesting to see what happens in the spring... If the rest of my team ends up going back to the office but I'm still in Chicago, I could see it becoming a little strange. Once they've all gotten used to in-person interaction again, I'll have to work harder at staying connected, since I'll be the only remote one. But the prevailing prediction around our office is that we'll all be working remotely until the summer. In which case, I'll show up just in time. But we'll see!

Best of luck with your own situation. Feel free to DM if there's anything you'd like to discuss one-on-one.
birdonamission  
#9 Posted : Thursday, December 10, 2020 11:15:19 AM(UTC)
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You asked for this during the absolute best time to ask (COVID times). Otherwise, 100% Telework for somebody's personal convenience right off the bat probably would have had a single digit percent chance of getting approved. Especially if there's no precedence or if policy (or even organizational culture) isn't normally keen to the idea. Allowing it "just once" might start a forest fire...lol. Although, your supervisor seems like an awesome boss, so who knows.
Rainyday  
#10 Posted : Monday, April 12, 2021 7:09:22 AM(UTC)
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Did you ask about the telework arrangement after you got the offer or during the interview before you got the job offer?
Midwest Fed  
#11 Posted : Friday, May 21, 2021 9:47:58 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: allthelivelong Go to Quoted Post
Thought I'd follow up about how this got resolved, in case it's useful for others!

I got the job offer and responded with a detailed proposal of how I could do the work remotely. Then I had a Zoom call with my soon-to-be boss to discuss this proposal. While he agreed that much of the work could be done remotely, he also emphasized that the office's most impactful work happens in meetings and presentations in-person. So while it would be possible, he thought a remote arrangement would be highly "suboptimal." He also didn't think HR would authorize a full-time telework arrangement for a brand new federal employee.

Instead, he proposed a counter-offer: That I onboard in Chicago and continue teleworking for 1 year, then relocate to DC for 1 year. The idea was that, since the whole office will be teleworking for many more months anyway, it wouldn't be a big deal to give a me a few more months on top of that. But that extra time will allow my wife and I to get our ducks in a row, so that she can also launch a successful career in DC.

He also knows that my end-goal is to come back to Chicago. So after my year in DC, we agreed to essentially see what happens. Best case scenario, he said I may be able to telework from Chicago at that point (he was clear that he couldn't promise this, but he said he'd fight for it -- and I'd have 2 years of Federal service under my belt, which would improve the odds with HR). Worst case scenario, I just find a new job in Chicago, but with 2 years of great experience to launch me into my next venture.

I accepted this offer, and am now going through the security process. Looking forward to starting!


I find it odd that the supervisor is telling you the hold up for full time telework is HR. I have converted a number of employees to full-time telework, even pre-pandemic, at no time did I have to consult with HR on the decision. Fill out a telework agreement, your supervisor and their supervisor signs off, take the training and then move forward. I recognize that each agency does things a bit different, but I see no role for HR to play. Interesting.
frankgonzalez  
#12 Posted : Monday, May 24, 2021 3:58:45 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Midwest Fed Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: allthelivelong Go to Quoted Post
Thought I'd follow up about how this got resolved, in case it's useful for others!

I got the job offer and responded with a detailed proposal of how I could do the work remotely. Then I had a Zoom call with my soon-to-be boss to discuss this proposal. While he agreed that much of the work could be done remotely, he also emphasized that the office's most impactful work happens in meetings and presentations in-person. So while it would be possible, he thought a remote arrangement would be highly "suboptimal." He also didn't think HR would authorize a full-time telework arrangement for a brand new federal employee.

Instead, he proposed a counter-offer: That I onboard in Chicago and continue teleworking for 1 year, then relocate to DC for 1 year. The idea was that, since the whole office will be teleworking for many more months anyway, it wouldn't be a big deal to give a me a few more months on top of that. But that extra time will allow my wife and I to get our ducks in a row, so that she can also launch a successful career in DC.

He also knows that my end-goal is to come back to Chicago. So after my year in DC, we agreed to essentially see what happens. Best case scenario, he said I may be able to telework from Chicago at that point (he was clear that he couldn't promise this, but he said he'd fight for it -- and I'd have 2 years of Federal service under my belt, which would improve the odds with HR). Worst case scenario, I just find a new job in Chicago, but with 2 years of great experience to launch me into my next venture.

I accepted this offer, and am now going through the security process. Looking forward to starting!


I find it odd that the supervisor is telling you the hold up for full time telework is HR. I have converted a number of employees to full-time telework, even pre-pandemic, at no time did I have to consult with HR on the decision. Fill out a telework agreement, your supervisor and their supervisor signs off, take the training and then move forward. I recognize that each agency does things a bit different, but I see no role for HR to play. Interesting.
A part from the announcement the person was hired on did not refer to remote work..and so would have been misleading for others who may not have applied because that was not in the announcement. HR may be looking for a way to cover everyone in case a grievance or complaint comes in once approved.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
fedattorney  
#13 Posted : Monday, January 10, 2022 1:04:20 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: randomized Go to Quoted Post
Wow! Are you me? I'm in this exact spot. Located in Chicago, received offer in DC but attempting to negotiate remote or telework so I can continue living here. How are things working out so far?


Hi! I'm in a similar position now and wondering how this worked out for you. Thank you!
fedattorney  
#14 Posted : Monday, January 10, 2022 1:08:31 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: allthelivelong Go to Quoted Post
Ha! Well, I hope my earlier posts were useful to you.

It's working out great so far. The job is amazing...


Hi! Thank you so much for sharing your post. I'm in a similar position now and wondering about how you handled this during the interview process. At any time before you got the offer, did you reveal that your preference was to stay in Chicago?

Also, did your manager hold to your commitment to move, given that many federal agencies are still in full-time mandatory telework?
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