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PSULion525  
#1 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2021 1:54:21 AM(UTC)
PSULion525

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Hello! I am due to PCS in about 75 days with my active duty spouse to a new duty station. I am currently a GS 9 Step 4 (have masters degree in my field). My field is VERY limited (6 jobs TOTAL on USA Jobs with my specialty and all in Washington DC). I am a military spouse and 5 point pref veteran. I have been applying to jobs and have not found anything in my field at the new station so have been looking at Secretary/Admin/OA jobs as many of my skills transfer. The only jobs showing available are GS 5 and 7s. I have an interview for a GS 5/6 position. My main priority is continuing service in the federal system as I know we will be moving again in 1-2 years. We don’t rely on my salary except for smaller bills and “fun” money. I also don’t think it would be a bad idea to switch fields and start building my resume with administrative roles as those will be much more plentiful as we move around.

I guess I am trying to figure out if it’s a bad move to take a GS 5 after being a GS 9 for 3.5 years (tenured) and see if I should wait for a GS 7 (the entire month of march has not generated a single job I could qualify and apply for at a 7/9/11 level). I always lean on the side of a bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush and I’d rather have a GS 5 pay for 1-2 years vs going on LWOP for 6 months trying to find something that may not materialize.

I know as a spouse we are at the mercy of the next PCS and I’m not overly concerned with ascending grades so much right now as we will still be moving around another 5-6 years. My family thinks “it’s a huge step back” but they don’t have any knowledge on the federal system, how competitive it is, and how slim my personal job market field is.

Any advice would be great! Thank you!
DaVinci95  
#2 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2021 4:12:43 AM(UTC)
DaVinci95

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Accepting the GS 5/6 doesn’t mean you have to stop applying to other jobs. If you get an offer, take it but keep looking.
nembamike  
#3 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2021 4:44:31 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: DaVinci95 Go to Quoted Post
Accepting the GS 5/6 doesn’t mean you have to stop applying to other jobs. If you get an offer, take it but keep looking.


And you do have the luxury of leaving the government for a short while and getting back in after your next move assuming the have reinstatement rights.
GWPDA  
#4 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2021 6:08:04 AM(UTC)
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You should also keep in mind that you're working, not just for the 'fun' things but to accumulate toward your own retirement - both pension and TSP. That is -your- retirement benefit and something to be looked after. You might also want to use the time as a 5 to see what you can do to expand your qualifications.
Midwest Fed  
#5 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2021 10:46:12 AM(UTC)
Midwest Fed

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If you're look at the 5/6 level, I always suggest to folks to look at HR. HR has alot of jobs that start at a 5. I had a admin assistant that was a GS-9 and she wanted to switch to HR, but only qualified as a GS-5. I asked her what her goals are, if she wanted to one day manage a department or people, she was going to need to step out of the admin assistant role. Currently, GS-9 step 1 in RUS pays 53k, GS-5 step 10 pays 46k. She took a hit. That was 4 years ago. Today she is a GS-11 step 1, which pays 64k and I gave her a retention because she was the acting HR supervisor for a spell. Point I am making, sometimes moving down is the way to move up in the future. And the poster above makes a great point, keeping your TSP moving along will help in the long run. Happy hunting.
PSULion525  
#6 Posted : Thursday, April 1, 2021 11:11:05 AM(UTC)
PSULion525

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United States

Thank you all for your very thoughtful advice. You’re absolutely right to consider both pension and TSP. I also agree that I will likely need to get out of my field sooner or later as the job market is so slim and will likely not expand. I’m glad I posted here bc my parents and spouse were all making it seem like a mistake but they have no context of the federal “system”, job market, no experience PCSing as a working military spouse, etc. And just as in the regular public world, when you switch fields you typically take a few steps back and have to work back up.

Thank you. If offered the job I definitely feel better about taking it.
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