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GradtoFed  
#1 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2019 5:25:16 PM(UTC)
GradtoFed

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Long story short, I got hired at a ridiculously low rate on a non-GS scale out of grad school - basically equivalent to a GS 5 - due to an absurd set of circumstances. Finally, I left for a GS 9 position at another agency with an absurdly high promotion potential and an extraordinary scope of responsibility. Now that I'm here, I'm about 3 grade levels below where I should be. Almost all my coworkers with the same job are GS 15s.

Now that I'm here, I'm bumping into other challenges. Because everyone is such a high grade level and well paid, the culture is that everyone works way more than 40 hours a week and isn't compensated for it - no overtime, no comp time, no credit hours. In the rare occasion they do compensate for it, everyone gets comp time. But because I make less than a GS 10, Step 1, the regulation requires them to offer me overtime pay instead of comp time - but this a shock for them because they basically have never had anyone this low on the GS scale and they've never paid anyone overtime.

Also, even though I have an absurdly high promotion potential, I only learned after joining that their official hiring policy puts years of minimum waiting periods between each career ladder promotion. I don't think what they are trying to do is unreasonable if someone was hired at the correct grade level to start with, but it keeps me far behind where I should be in federal government and what I could make outside the government.

Which of these should I do?

Option 1.Should I leave federal government for a higher paying job and try to get back in later at a fairer pay rate?
Option 2. Should I stay and push them on things like paying me overtime and on-time promotions, even if it's against the culture?
Option 3. Should I just play along for the approximate 9 years it will take me to get to the end of my career ladder?
Option 4. Request a desk audit?
someoldguy  
#2 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2019 5:45:29 PM(UTC)
someoldguy

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Just a comment/observation: if everyone else is a GS15 and they're doing more or less the same job, then your organization is way top heavy, and they probably want to try to get back on track and have more of a balance between very senior and very junior staff... with a weighting toward the junior, ie, cheaper staff.

If that is indeed the case, that's probably why they are slowing promotions down.

How long have you been in federal service? If you have completed whatever probation period applies and you have achieved full 'career' status, then Option 1 might be worth looking into. 2 and 4 will most likely get you nowhere, and Option 3 will drive you nuts.
DISCLAIMER: You read it on an open internet forum :)
Endless Summer  
#3 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2019 5:51:35 PM(UTC)
Endless Summer

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Originally Posted by: GradtoFed Go to Quoted Post
Long story short, I got hired at a ridiculously low rate on a non-GS scale out of grad school - basically equivalent to a GS 5 - due to an absurd set of circumstances. Finally, I left for a GS 9 position at another agency with an absurdly high promotion potential and an extraordinary scope of responsibility. Now that I'm here, I'm about 3 grade levels below where I should be. Almost all my coworkers with the same job are GS 15s.

Now that I'm here, I'm bumping into other challenges. Because everyone is such a high grade level and well paid, the culture is that everyone works way more than 40 hours a week and isn't compensated for it - no overtime, no comp time, no credit hours. In the rare occasion they do compensate for it, everyone gets comp time. But because I make less than a GS 10, Step 1, the regulation requires them to offer me overtime pay instead of comp time - but this a shock for them because they basically have never had anyone this low on the GS scale and they've never paid anyone overtime.

Also, even though I have an absurdly high promotion potential, I only learned after joining that their official hiring policy puts years of minimum waiting periods between each career ladder promotion. I don't think what they are trying to do is unreasonable if someone was hired at the correct grade level to start with, but it keeps me far behind where I should be in federal government and what I could make outside the government.

Which of these should I do?

Option 1.Should I leave federal government for a higher paying job and try to get back in later at a fairer pay rate?
Option 2. Should I stay and push them on things like paying me overtime and on-time promotions, even if it's against the culture?
Option 3. Should I just play along for the approximate 9 years it will take me to get to the end of my career ladder?
Option 4. Request a desk audit?


It's hard to say, we all have different pain thresholds, home/life issues, and financial situations. As for the big picture, the culture does not supersede the law. If you are a 9 then you should be getting pay or credit for hours worked.

Having an absurdly high promotion potential doesn't count for much if you never reach it. I would go with option 5... be looking for a 12 position elsewhere.

Desk audits can be a tricky step.

Best wishes.
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