Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

Federal Career Planning and Development

Are you looking to get promoted?
Maybe a change in your federal career?
Need tips on resume writing to land a federal job?
Or how to increase your salary or get a pay raise?

Join this active discussion with others climbing the same challenging career ladder.

Consider ordering some helpful resources or read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues by visiting FederalDaily.com.

2 Pages12>
Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
Casualmadness  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 8:41:26 PM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

Brand new here...prior military, currently working in the DC area as a GS11 career ladder to GS12. I like my job and work in a really good office/good co-workers/good boss... but I really don't like the DC area at all. I started my fed career in 2010 as a GS4 in the Seattle area. In 2012 I was hired for my current position (GS9/12). So I moved here. But honestly...I'm homesick. I miss WA and would like to move back.
I keep looking at jobs in WA and everything is either GS14 or higher; or GS 3-4 or 5. I found an opening this morning for a GS7 gig on the same installation where I worked before. I have a lot of friends working on that same installation, I know the area...I would love to return.
But am I crazy to give up a potential GS12 later this year? I know they will match my current salary (within the GS7 grade...so GS7 step 10) as closely as they can. So if I got the job, I would lose about $9000 per year but the cost of living in WA is significantly cheaper than here in the DC area. So my house in WA would cost about hald what it cost here. SO I doubt that $9000 per year would hurt at all. Plus my wife and I both miss WA and would love to move back. Any thoughts on this?
Casualmadness  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:03:22 PM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

I should add---what my wife does, career wise, is much more plentiful back in WA than here in the DC area. In fact-what she did in WA requires different credentials here in the DC area. So she's had to pursue a new career here. So she's been back in school basically starting over.
ex-military  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 9:41:10 PM(UTC)
ex-military

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/19/2012(UTC)
Posts: 642

If it works for YOU and your family, then no, it isnt crazy. Do what you have to do. Better than being miserable.
randomfed  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:33:07 PM(UTC)
randomfed

Rank: Groupie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 10/15/2012(UTC)
Posts: 72

Get the GS-12 position first or at least make sure you have one year as a GS-11 to satisfy time-in-grade requirements. Then take the step down. You don't want to go to Washington state now and then find a good GS-12 job that you can't apply for because you haven't served 52 weeks as a GS-11 first.

I am sympathetic to stepping down in grade in order to be happier. But if you take this step, make sure you haven't screwed yourself out of the ability to go back to your current (or a higher) grade by not satisfying TIG requirements first!

Also remember that there is a nice pay raise from GS-11 to GS-12, so maybe living in DC would be more managable on a GS-12 salary than on a GS-11 salary.
Casualmadness  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 10:51:32 PM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

randomfed wrote:
Get the GS-12 position first or at least make sure you have one year as a GS-11 to satisfy time-in-grade requirements. Then take the step down. You don't want to go to Washington state now and then find a good GS-12 job that you can't apply for because you haven't served 52 weeks as a GS-11 first.

I am sympathetic to stepping down in grade in order to be happier. But if you take this step, make sure you haven't screwed yourself out of the ability to go back to your current (or a higher) grade by not satisfying TIG requirements first!

Also remember that there is a nice pay raise from GS-11 to GS-12, so maybe living in DC would be more managable on a GS-12 salary than on a GS-11 salary.


Yeah I thought of waiting until I'm a 12 but jobs so rarely surface in WA...part of the reason I left. But I'm realizing more and more than being happy is a big factor in the overall quality of life.

GS11 to GS12 will be a significant pay bump but the fact is; we're managing ok salary wise here in the DC area. We just don't care for the area. That's really the larger issue.

I applied for the GS7 job. Part of me thinks it's smarter to wait until I have GS12 and then wait for GS12 or lower jobs to open in WA. But as I said; jobs so rarely open there...maybe I'm just being impatient but I feel like if there's a chance to go where we are both happy, maybe it's smart to take that chance.

It's all just "what if" at this moment because the job hasn't even closed and maybe I won't even get referred.

I guess I'm just wondering what other people think about this situation. Ultimately, my wife and I have to make the decision. But it's always nice to get imput from others.
TotallyRetired  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:14:27 PM(UTC)
TotallyRetired

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 2/21/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,577

I visited the state of Washington on vacation once & can understand why you would want to return.

Managing two professional careers is difficult for everyone. To me, that seems like the main issue you are dealing with right now. I say this because you mentioned that your wife has had to start over in D.C.

Your post could be interpreted to mean that you prefer that the start-over position (as a 7 back in the state of Washington) could be better tolerated by you. That may be the case now but you might regret it in 10 years if you are stuck in a low-paying job. I would give that some thought.

My suggestion is to pick some arbitrary date, say December 31, 2015, then try to make a reasonable prediction as to what each of your careers would look like under available options. That exercise should take some of the emotion out of this life decision.

Casualmadness  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:46:22 PM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

TotallyRetired wrote:
I visited the state of Washington on vacation once & can understand why you would want to return.

Managing two professional careers is difficult for everyone. To me, that seems like the main issue you are dealing with right now. I say this because you mentioned that your wife has had to start over in D.C.

Your post could be interpreted to mean that you prefer that the start-over position (as a 7 back in the state of Washington) could be better tolerated by you. That may be the case now but you might regret it in 10 years if you are stuck in a low-paying job. I would give that some thought.

My suggestion is to pick some arbitrary date, say December 31, 2015, then try to make a reasonable prediction as to what each of your careers would look like under available options. That exercise should take some of the emotion out of this life decision.



Thank you for the reply-you made a great point about being stuck in a dead end job ten years from now. This is precisely why I began looking for work outside of WA. I was a GS4 (not on a career ladder). We were told the jobs were going away with the return of military from down range. So I began looking frantically for something new. Not much was coming up in WA so I began looking out of state. My wife was ok with this as she was only part time at that point (still taking classes).

I was offered my current gig in DC so we discussed it and made the move. My wife doesn't hate it here-she can make it work anywhere. But I'm just really unhappy in this area. But I do have a bright future in this area for what I do. But we both agree that we would be much happier back in WA.
Back in WA; I would be limited career wise. I could eventually get back to where I am now but not as fast as here in DC.

You're right to mention the amount of emotion in this. I'm looking at happiness versus career. I'm prior military, have a graduate degree, have all the boxes checked for rapid progression. So part of me thinks: suck it up, do my career here and then retire to WA (thoug retirement is a couple decades away). But there's that pesky emotional part of me saying, "Why live where you're unhappy? What's career if you're really unhappy where you are?"

I know ultimately I (and my wife!) just have to make the decision (though the wife has already said she would happily return to WA) but I do appreciate everyone's input. As I said before, it's nice to have other opinions when trying to make a big decision.

A final note: My wife worked in the corporate world for a few years and made a lot of money as well as worked in some relatively high level positions. She worked for some very well known entertainment conglomerates in NYC. She was also miserable. She earned six figures but did not enjoy her life at all.
Her new career back in WA (which required schooling) landed her in a job making a whopping $17/hr part time. The most she would have made was probably around $20-$25/hr. But she was insanely happy. Happier than she had been in years.
Here in DC she makes even less but she's very happy career wise (though she did have to return to school here to get into what she's doing now). But the school she's done here would increase her marketability back in WA. So it wouldn't be all for naught...as they say.

frankgonzalez  
#8 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:31:12 AM(UTC)
frankgonzalez

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 8/8/2008(UTC)
Posts: 2,243

Was thanked: 3 time(s) in 3 post(s)
Or, wait a few years until you are eligible for the GS14 positions you have seen in WA, then try that. But keep an eye open for posiitons that let you progress.

You may think "I'd be happier in WA even as a GS7." but 5 years from now, when you are still a GS7 with no change in sight, and bored of the job, you may have a lot of regrets.

I won't say suck it up for a few decades until retirement (I'm in DC too..), but a few years will pass quickly, and you may find a better position shows up where you want to be, or you reach a point in your career you can telework from anywhere in the US and move back then.

I like the idea given above in setting a goal date (How about the 12 month mark after you make GS12?) and see if you still feel this way? At that point, your reach would be anything and up to GS13. Way more options under those circumstances.
TotallyRetired  
#9 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:31:22 AM(UTC)
TotallyRetired

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 2/21/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,577

You are fortunate that your wife is happy in D.C., especially since she is not able to make much money.

Personally, being broke (or just barely scraping by) would make me REALLY unhappy. In that situation, I can see myself going out & getting a second job or starting a week-end business as a way to bring in cash to pay off the mortgage and save for retirement.

You may be a couple who would downsize to a tiny apartment as a way to save but that wouldn't work for me. Recognizing that everyone is different, if you see doing something like that as an option, then it probably is.

I am thinking you might like D.C. better if you explored some new things. You might like volunteering at the Smithsonian, or bicycling on some of the interesting trails back there. You could also take Amtrak up to NY, then buy some half-price tickets to a Broadway play.

You are fortunate to be in a job you like, as there are many who don't like their job or the D.C. area.
Casualmadness  
#10 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:35:49 AM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

TotallyRetired wrote:
You are fortunate that your wife is happy in D.C., especially since she is not able to make much money.

Personally, being broke (or just barely scraping by) would make me REALLY unhappy. In that situation, I can see myself going out & getting a second job or starting a week-end business as a way to bring in cash to pay off the mortgage and save for retirement.

You may be a couple who would downsize to a tiny apartment as a way to save but that wouldn't work for me. Recognizing that everyone is different, if you see doing something like that as an option, then it probably is.

I am thinking you might like D.C. better if you explored some new things. You might like volunteering at the Smithsonian, or bicycling on some of the interesting trails back there. You could also take Amtrak up to NY, then buy some half-price tickets to a Broadway play.

You are fortunate to be in a job you like, as there are many who don't like their job or the D.C. area.


I've applied for several part time jobs but haven't had much luck. I did get called for an interview down in Virginia for a weekend job local to where I live. The interview was one evening after work and it was about an hour and a half from my office. Interviewer insisted a 7pm interview was fine. So after work, I hurried down to VA in horrible rush hour traffic only to arrive at a closed office. I called every number I had an no one answered. They basically forgot about me. I was highly upset. But no luck on the part time front.

As for learning to like this area...I spent about three years in northern Virginia doing some contract stuff for DoD. Shortly thereafter, I returned to WA. I'm familiar enough with the area to know it just isn't a place I want to be.

I think the biggest fear I have is about my wife. She is only working part time at the moment. She's also attending school as what she did in WA doesn't really work out here. So she's had to return to school to get work in a similar field but different from her job in WA. Her pursuit requires licenses that are state specific. So she's waiting for me to see where we're going to be long term. I think I'm trying to move us before she get's too far into something that moving will be difficult for her (career wise). To move now wouldn't be too difficult (aside from selling the house...but even that shouldn't be too difficult as we are in a pretty desireable area) I'm just afraid she will get into something very lucrative and then be faced with the decision to stay or go and start over yet again. At the moment, my salary covers almost everything (mortgage, bills, etc) as we have no debt other than the mortgage and a small car payment. But my wife is working really hard to get a new career started. I guess I just want us to be "settled" somewhere where we are both happy.

I did apply for the GS7 job but after mulling this over, I think it's probably wise to stay put-at least until I'm a GS12 (which *should* happen later this year). Maybe once I'm a 12 would be the proper time to start looking-really looking for jobs back in WA.

I do appreciate everyone's input.
Casualmadness  
#11 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:40:30 AM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

frankgonzalez wrote:
You may think "I'd be happier in WA even as a GS7." but 5 years from now, when you are still a GS7 with no change in sight, and bored of the job, you may have a lot of regrets


You're correct. I keep thinking about this. When my wife and I were in WA she kept pressuring me to buy a house so that we could settle somwhere. But I refused because I was in a dead end GS4 job and did not want to get stuck.
I know (logically) that it's smarter to wait-at least until I am GS12. Then perhaps I can get something back in WA at the GS11,12, or even 13 level.
That's probably a much smarter move than jumping on a dead end GS7.
Pat in SD  
#12 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 3:11:41 AM(UTC)
Pat in SD

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 8/8/2013(UTC)
Posts: 629

Thanks: 29 times
Was thanked: 9 time(s) in 9 post(s)
Casualmadness wrote:
You're correct. I keep thinking about this. When my wife and I were in WA she kept pressuring me to buy a house so that we could settle somwhere. But I refused because I was in a dead end GS4 job and did not want to get stuck.
I know (logically) that it's smarter to wait-at least until I am GS12. Then perhaps I can get something back in WA at the GS11,12, or even 13 level.
That's probably a much smarter move than jumping on a dead end GS7.
I agree. You might be happier living back home, but not having sufficient income to do what you want, or to save for the future, will cause unhappiness, there. Since you are in D.C. and there are lots more jobs there, and you are seeing 14's available back home, I would stick it out where you are until you have a year TIG in a 13. That way, you are eligible to apply for those 14's back in WA. Then you can move back home, be happy in the area, and be able to live well and save more for your future.Pat in SD2014-01-16 11:18:10
Obliged  
#13 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 11:31:14 AM(UTC)
Obliged

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 5/25/2012(UTC)
Posts: 185

At a minimum you should hold out until you are promoted to GS-12 and earn 52 weeks experience at this grade. This way, you can apply up to GS-13 positions after three months of transferring to WA.
swimmingly  
#14 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 12:17:02 PM(UTC)
swimmingly

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 12/26/2013(UTC)
Posts: 133

Life is short…When your on your death bed, do you really think your going to think, Boy, I really wish I was a level 12… GO HOME ASAP while the opening is there.. Better yet, put in for it and see if it's an option
eye  
#15 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 12:18:00 PM(UTC)
eye

Rank: Rookie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 12/17/2011(UTC)
Posts: 46

I am also from Tukwila, WA. Just hang in there for at least a year and start sending in applications to Joint Base Lewis-McChord or Va in Seattle/American Lake once you get GS12. They tend to post more GS11 and up out in the NW.
Casualmadness  
#16 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:46:09 PM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

swimmingly wrote:
Life is short…When your on your death bed, do you really think your going to think, Boy, I really wish I was a level 12… GO HOME ASAP while the opening is there.. Better yet, put in for it and see if it's an option


Excellent point. My wife and I were discussing this last night over dinner and I said this almost verbatim (before I read your post).
It's a heavy load-balancing life, love, career, happiness, etc. There is no perfect situation but I suppose we have to try to get as close to perfect as we can.
My gut instinct tells me to be patient, stay put and hold out until I hit GS12-then start looking to make a move. I've been so unhappy living in the DC area that I've focused like a laser on moving back to WA.
I've often set sail for greener pastures without considering all the ramifications. I can honestly say I have no regrets about chances taken (even when I failed miserably). My only regrets are the chances I did not take.
I wish I could have my current job in WA...of course as long as I'm wishing, I wish my powerball ticket for the recent $600 Million powerball would have been the one and only winning ticket.
Casualmadness  
#17 Posted : Thursday, January 16, 2014 9:52:33 PM(UTC)
Casualmadness

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/12/2014(UTC)
Posts: 105

eye wrote:
I am also from Tukwila, WA. Just hang in there for at least a year and start sending in applications to Joint Base Lewis-McChord or Va in Seattle/American Lake once you get GS12. They tend to post more GS11 and up out in the NW.


I worked at Ft. Lewis for a few years. Lived in Puyallup for a while and then in Milton. I love the area around Ft. Lewis and McChord (still can't get used to the joint base thing).
I had a job offer years ago at Bremerton but the work hours were irregular (sometimes they would work 8-10 hours, go home and sleep for 3-4 hours and come back). Living in Milton (about an hour away) and commuting several times a day...no way that would ahve worked. So I declined and stayed at Ft. Lewis.
It seems all the jobs around Lewis and McChord are either really low (GS3,4) or really high (GS14,15). There doesn't seem to be a lot of mid grade work there. The GS7 spot is the first mid grade thing I've seen in a while.
Naida  
#18 Posted : Friday, January 17, 2014 2:43:57 AM(UTC)
Naida

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 2/17/2009(UTC)
Posts: 22

Casualmadness as I read your story its like reading my own story. My husband and I moved so i can work for the federal government but the area we live in is so not for us. We are doing ok here but my husbands work is not he has better opportunities at home. My career is ok I have the potential for GS12 but i feel if I move now I would have a higher chance of getting hired because there are more midlevel jobs listed than higher. And if i take the downgrade now it won't be too bad. So now we are looking to move back to his home. I hope everything works out for you.
eye  
#19 Posted : Friday, January 17, 2014 10:59:36 AM(UTC)
eye

Rank: Rookie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 12/17/2011(UTC)
Posts: 46

Make sure the job you want has an upward mobility with the Fed or at least desirable with other employers when you move to Seattle. I am taking an advanced Excel and Intermediate Access courses from George Mason U. and just detailed to budget/grants office within an agency in a hope of landing a future employment with state/county gov't or universities in Washington State because I know I ain't getting GS-14 finance intelligence like I have now in DC.
Magyar  
#20 Posted : Friday, January 17, 2014 11:20:56 AM(UTC)
Magyar

Rank: Groupie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 4/19/2013(UTC)
Posts: 47

Grades, steps, salary - its all irrelevant. Living life on your terms is what its about. Do it up bro.
Rss Feed  Atom Feed
Users browsing this topic
Guest
2 Pages12>
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.


This page was generated in 2.202 seconds.