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Relocating

Are you considering relocating your federal career - either by your choice or by Uncle Sam? There are practical issues and concerns to think about when deciding whether or not to relocate. Others have done it while still others have not. This forum will allow for all to offer their insight, post their questions, and help each other out.

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n_spired  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 3:53:08 AM(UTC)
n_spired

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Hi everyone, 

    I am new here and wanted to ask a very common question (although my forum searches have only come up with dated answers). That question is, Is moving to Washington D.C. from San Antonio, TX for a GS-11 position (currently a GS-9) an intelligent move based upon the difference in the cost of living and rate of pay for each location? Have any of you made a move similar? The reason I ask this, is there may never be any upward mobility here at all to grow in my career and leadership.

    I have seen many depressing posts on here about how man people dislike D.C., but I have gone TDY many times and although briefly... I find it to be intriguing. Let's face it though visiting an area and living there are two different stories. 

    Also, I see a lot of postings with "multi-grade career ladder". I seem to find no real clarification for that term. They usually state, "At the GS-9, GS-11, GS-12 grade levels, the incumbent performs assignments of a more limited scope and with less independence. The incumbent will progressively acquire the background necessary to perform at the full performance level of GS-13.  Promotion is at the discretion of the supervisor and is contingent upon satisfactory performance, availability of higher level work, and availability of funds". 

    It sounds like a great deal until you get to the part about ,"Promotion is at the discretion of the supervisor and is contingent upon satisfactory performance, availability of higher level work, and availability of funds". Performance is not an issue, I work well knowing that I can move up based upon performance, but is this a bait and switch type deal? I honestly don't know enough about the system or terminology that it uses to know. Can anyone provide advice. To me this would be a semi-safe move knowing you have the ability to advance if you perform accordingly especially considering the cost of living associated with Washington D.C. 

Thank you all in advance! You're a rock Star!
Huskerfan  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:17:50 AM(UTC)
Huskerfan

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Halfway across the country just to go to a step 11? I wouldn't do it on money alone.
 
DC is fun to visit; not so fun to live. Very few people here take regular advantage of the museums and culture. How many times can you see the Lincoln memorial before you get jaded to it?
 
I'm taking a significant drop in grade/pay to go back to the state where I was raised. There are a lot more things at stake than money-quality of life, etc. Housing is crazy expensive out here, but I think the locality pay is pretty fair. It might be generous in San Antonio. Where are your friends? Family? I'll be happy to leave the DC commute behind.
 
Now, the more compelling part of your argument is that you are worried is about the lack of mobility where you are. In my current job, I've noticed there isn't much difference between what the entry level and the full performances level people do. You'd need to reseach to see what the DC position would offer you in terms of new skill sets.
 
As far as them not promising you a GS-12, I wouldn't worry about it. There's always budget concerns going on, especailly with the focus on the national debt. It probably just means they'll try to move you up but it's not going to be an automatic thing after a year.
 
There's a difference between GS-9 in TX and a GS-11 in DC, and financially I think you'd come out ahead in DC, esp. if you can get promoted in GS-12, but it's certainly not that big of a jump financially where you should be so focused on the money.
smarterguy  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:32:49 AM(UTC)
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I moved from a Northeast state to DC so there was no cost of living change for me, just a pay raise Smile

Like any other city, DC is going to be what you make of it, for the most part. If you come with a bad attitude, any city will be awful. If you live in Woodbridge and commute to Downtown, you won't last long. Live close, enjoy what the city and surrounding areas have to offer.

I like moving around and moving to DC, even though I've visited before, was a great experience for me. If you're not good at adjusting, maybe it'll be best to stay put. I am looking to move somewhere else- not because I hate it here, but because I'm relatively young and want to see more of the country. But the jobs are here. Good paying jobs. Over the past few years, I've only seen a few (<5) jobs at my paygrade elsewhere. And there are other agencies here you can move to if you want, if your skillset allows you to. DoD, DoS, DoJ, etc, etc.

smarterguy2012-04-12 05:58:16
Beagle1AD  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:56:18 AM(UTC)
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Well there are way more opportunity to advance in DC.  Everyone I know that goes to DC is a GS-14.
0811usmc  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:30:18 PM(UTC)
0811usmc

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I think it all depends.  I PCSed from an overseas base to an assignment in DC Metro.  Sure, I don't like my daily commuting routine (90-min each way, my commute at my last job was a short 5-min POV ride to work/lived on base), cost of living/house.  But, I am really glad that I have had an opportunity to be stationed here.  Not I didn't like my last assignment, but I am exposed to "Strategic"-level Govt ops vs. operational.  I get to work with "Policy/Directive makers vs.  enforcers."  But, it all depends based of the job that you may be filling. 
Na  
#6 Posted : Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:35:20 AM(UTC)
Na

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I think the decision is one that every person has to make for themselves.  I have a house in San Antonio and live there part-time and a house in the DC suburbs where I spend the majority of my time and work.  Your cost of living in San Antonio has the DC area beat by a long shot.  That is one reason why there is no locality pay there.  It's the eight largest city in the USA and offers a wide choice in entertainment, sports, lifestyles etc.  While there is a relatively large government presence, it is not the seat of government policy making like the DC Metro area.  On of the major difference in the two areas is the opportuniy to progress to the more senior levels.  The opportunities are in DC.  As an example, I came to the area with a group of GS-11/12 coworkers years ago.  There were 8 of us.  Those that could take the pressure and left the area are all now retired.  They retired as GS-11/12/13s.  The three of us who stayed all obtained GS-15 or SES level positions.  This illustrates your possibilities.  In addition, all of us worked for multiple agencies while those who left stayed in the same agency.  Plus, if you have a working spouse, s/he has lots of opportunity to have a career in government too. You will have to make some life style adjustments, but if your goal is career progression and you are flexible, give it a try.   My advice is suck it up and come to DC where you have the best chance of career advancement and then when you retire, move back to San Antonio and live like a king/queen.
Fed1969  
#7 Posted : Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:38:35 AM(UTC)
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I would not move for just a GS-11.  Hopefully you can find something that will help you advance to at least  a GS-13.  Some do well and end up GS-14 or GS-15 or SES.

Wish you the best.
YoungFed  
#8 Posted : Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:18:13 AM(UTC)
YoungFed

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I just got done with an Interview
for a 12 position in DC.  I will be moving from my overseas position to that area if all my stars align.




YoungFed2012-04-12 12:24:43
crystal129  
#9 Posted : Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:56:40 AM(UTC)
crystal129

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that is fantastic!!! What agency?
skunker  
#10 Posted : Friday, April 13, 2012 6:34:36 AM(UTC)
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I just got referred to selection official for an open vacancy announcement. I am trying to jump from GS11 to GS13 at age 30. Wish me luck. This is for DC.skunker2012-04-13 14:40:19
meatball  
#11 Posted : Friday, April 13, 2012 2:20:45 PM(UTC)
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n_spired wrote:
The reason I ask this, is there may never be any upward mobility here at all to grow in my career and leadership.


It all depends on your where you are in your career and life.  If you have a home, family, and your wife has a job she's happy with, you know that isn't a good move.  If you are single, educated, 20-40 yo, and you still have the hustle in you, it could be the best move for you as a govt worker.  DC will plus up your experience, give you bigger opportunities while there, it's a great/fun city, etc.  But know that everyone in DC is working their balls off to get a head, then most return home or go elsewhere after a few/several years.  And it's highly competitive because nearly everyone has higher education.  Finally, count on a 30% cost of living increase --use that as working reference, e.g., food/gas/housing is 30% more than SATX.  So, yes, accept the fact that going from GS9 to GS11 isn't going to cover that 30% gap so you may have to adjust your spending habits.  But a 1-2 years later, you're applying for GS12-13 spots.  Once you have proven your performance capacity and have solid references (because references count big time in DC),  you'll move on quickly. I'm from Texas, lived in SATX, and moved to DC long ago.

P.S., don't go DC unless you are going to hustle to move your career ahead because you may end up stuck in a job since its easy to identify govt workers that just watch the clock.


meatball2012-04-13 22:26:14
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