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  1. #1
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    Career Question in the time of COVID

    <Warning: Maybe an obvious alias asking what is probably a dumb career question, but here goes anyways>

    Earlier this year/summer my better half got a job that will ultimately lead (in 4-5 years) to her being the lead income earner by a long shot in our household. It comes with long, unpredictable hours and an ever changing schedule. So, some semblance of work life balance and predictable hours is important for whatever job I have with 2 kids under 4 in the house. It also meant that we moved to a new city and I am now working remotely for the same employer who is several hours away. Pre-Covid this never would have happened and I was firing off job applications and frankly looking forward to a change.

    I had applied for a few jobs in the new locale that would have been laterals in terms of responsibility and pay, didn't get much of a response and tabled the job search after I was given the go ahead to work remotely full time with no obligation to be in the office or field currently. I can see a time in the near future where if I have projects in construction I may be making a 4 hour round trip job site visit weekly. I sort of leap frogged the position or two below my current position by virtue of having prior work experience and education that convinced my supervisor I could handle the position, however in retrospect I would be much better at my job now if I had spent a little more time coming up. I think I am probably a little under qualified to compete for a lateral into an similar position in my new locale.

    A month or so a federal agency I applied to finally resumed their hiring process and offered me a position that would come with a ~10% paycut and at a level that is probably one step below where I am, but what appears to be decent opportunity to move up and design oriented. This would probably have been a no brainer if I didn't have a job or my current one had a definitive end. Work life balance, gets me back into federal retirement, etc. Except for that damn paycut.

    So, am I shooting myself in the foot by not staying in the current position or going for a higher paying position? Private sector equivalent positions to what I have now probably come with some bigger hours and less control over my schedule.

    I know first world problems.

  2. #2
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    Working for the Feds has benefits. For one thing, benefits. Pension that won't go away. Child care generally available. Decent heath plans. Flexibility. And, it's tough to get fired. For someone in your position I'd think it would be a pretty good choice.

  3. #3
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    Take it, kick ass, and gain that 10% back by doing what you know you can do. How much does the pension add to the total picture?
    Your paycheck is never the only piece of the puzzle. Start making your coffee at home.

  4. #4
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    it sounds like while you will be getting a 10% pay cut, you will be gaining far more than 10% quality of life.

  5. #5
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    How many years are you into the federal system at this point and howany more to hit the 20 ? Minor paycut now might not be the worst thing if it gets you close to a great retirement package. Lot of folks walk away at 20 years and take a private sector job basically double dipping in the older years. One strong consideration is what'll happen to your current gig when all this shit ends in terms of working remotely. My wife and I took huge financial hits when the kids were young so we could be around more and I don't regret it for a moment, now they are 22, 20 and 17 doing really well. If the 10% paycut doesn't kill you financially your near future quality of life might be much better off. Sounds like your wife has tremendous upside with her career path so you having government job stability and a solid retirement package probably is a big win for your family.

  6. #6
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    It probably depends on the role and Fed branch but when I left several years ago retirement benefits were not that great. Not as great as many people think, anyway. A couple decades ago, yes. But not contemporary retirement benefits. Health benefits were mediocre. Accrued time off was good. Regardless, QOL is huDge and the pay difference would be worth it to me.

  7. #7
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    Without the details... it seems like the federal job is a good move.

    For a family to live comfortably in America in 2020 it seems like you have to be a two earner household. I believe the best way to do that is via a scenario you describe. 1 parent chasing that dollar, 1 parent with a more flexible job. Someone has to take the kid to the dentist... if you’re both working 60hrs, doing laundry at 11pm, missing juniors game; that will have a negative affect on your marriage and family life....

    10% cut is worth it IMHO.

    My wife and I went through this a few years ago. She left the grind, took a small cut but works a clean 40 on her schedule as a consultant now, zero stress. It’s been huge for us.

    That 10% might be made up for in benefits if your wife can cancel hers. Typically federal benes are pretty good...
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  8. #8
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    With 2 kids under 4 and the SO bringin in bucks I would take the more manageable schedule and paycut if you can afford it. Frees her up for work madness, and gives you stability and ability to dad at home in these unpredictable time. Also less stress, as it seems you are going to be able to do this job well and within normal hours.

    I got furloughed in late March and just recently got back to work. When it happened everybody said, enjoy your time with your boy ( he is 6) you never get these years back. Total cliche, but so on the money. Glad to be back at work but this summer with my son is something we will both treasure forever.

    Good luck guy I probably know...

  9. #9
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    Check out the OPM salary table to see how long the 10% cut will last.

    https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-over...eral-schedule/

    As long as you are performing you'll get to step 4 on your 3rd year so that 10% differential may go away quickly.

    Design and construction related? Is it GSA? I spent 20 years working with them but not for them. If you feel under qualified for your current job, it's likely you'll be over qualified there! Feel free to PM if it does involve GSA, I'll tell you what I can.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazderati View Post
    It probably depends on the role and Fed branch but when I left several years ago retirement benefits were not that great. Not as great as many people think, anyway. A couple decades ago, yes. But not contemporary retirement benefits. Health benefits were mediocre. Accrued time off was good. Regardless, QOL is huDge and the pay difference would be worth it to me.
    as someone who works in state govt, I felt the same, that benes weren't as good as people expected them to be. BUT, what I discovered is that while they seem mediocre, the trend in most jobs has been to shittier benes (especially health, because the cost is skyrocketing). So while the benes seemed to be mediocre and not as good as expected, they were still better than the vast majority of employers. Though there are definitely some outliers in private employment with better benes.

    I suspect it is similar for the feds, but I haven't looked.

    OP, I agree with most here that the fed job is a good move.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the input so far. Here are some additional details.

    I think I have around 5 years in the fed system from my prior positions. So, roughly 15 years to retirement eligibility (and whatever the youngest retirement age is). I agree that fed retirement and benefits aren't bad, but probably aren't as good as everyone remembers. We would switch to my wifes health insurance probably because the fed health insurance seems to be pretty expensive compared to my current gig.

    My current, remote, position is with a local government so I am in the states pension program, which is pretty good, although hugely underfunded. The current positions benefits, work/life and time off are good. The huge wild card is if my current position would stay remote if/when COVID work from home ends. I haven't been told no, but I also haven't been told yes.

  12. #12
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    Looks like everyone gave you thoughtful, well-considered answers.

    What the hell happened to this place?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan_pdx View Post
    Looks like everyone gave you thoughtful, well-considered answers.

    What the hell happened to this place?
    pictures of wife's titties NOW ?!

  14. #14
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    If you're planning to stay with the Fed through early retirement, one major benefit is locked health insurance rates up until Medicare kicks in. I think it requires five years of participation (employment/enrollment) immediately preceding retirement but it's a big perk given the way healthcare costs and insurance continue to go.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_newguy View Post
    Thanks for the input so far. Here are some additional details.

    I think I have around 5 years in the fed system from my prior positions. So, roughly 15 years to retirement eligibility (and whatever the youngest retirement age is). I agree that fed retirement and benefits aren't bad, but probably aren't as good as everyone remembers. We would switch to my wifes health insurance probably because the fed health insurance seems to be pretty expensive compared to my current gig.

    My current, remote, position is with a local government so I am in the states pension program, which is pretty good, although hugely underfunded. The current positions benefits, work/life and time off are good. The huge wild card is if my current position would stay remote if/when COVID work from home ends. I haven't been told no, but I also haven't been told yes.
    I was going to say that government (both federal and state) benefits aren't as good as they once were. Pensions are great assuming they are around. I know there have been pushes to get rid of pensions regardless of their stability and heath care for families aren't nearly as good as they were. That said government work rarely dries up so losing a job due to lack of work isn't as common as the private sector. On the other hand government work is at the whim of whatever administration is running the show.

    I'd take the government job if nothing else the opportunity to transfer to other areas if you'd like.


  16. #16
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    If your wife is going to making bank, the 10% cut is pretty insignificant. If the jobs, hours, stability, etc, are better go for the switch and be a not quite stay at home dad and let your wife stress out all day.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  17. #17
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    Been getting a check every month for 45 yrs

    if i live to 90 I will have made more in pension than I did working

    IME you wana play the long game
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Star View Post
    it sounds like while you will be getting a 10% pay cut, you will be gaining far more than 10% quality of life.
    Having been in a similar positions as the OP since my 6 and 9yo girls were first born, I would stress the above. Like Woodsy said, it sounds cliche, but the time and relationships I've developed with my daughters will always be worth way more than any paychecks or promotions. And as Warthog pointed out, it's not just an either-or scenario too.
    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutash View Post
    If your wife is going to making bank, the 10% cut is pretty insignificant. If the jobs, hours, stability, etc, are better go for the switch and be a not quite stay at home dad and let your wife stress out all day.
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  20. #20
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    ^^^Thank you RBG for allowing intelligent women do what they do.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post
    Otziltrophyhusbandsinjeans
    Tagit
    reading my mind

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan_pdx View Post
    Looks like everyone gave you thoughtful, well-considered answers.

    What the hell happened to this place?
    Now that your wife makes more coin be prepared for repeated dominance by the LS9000 in der poopenhausen, Peg.

  23. #23
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    Added bonus: government shutdowns are (back)paid vacations! My brother works for the IRS and loves a divided congress and executive branch. Just need to keep enough in savings to ride it out.

    And what Woodsy said you white claw drinking basic bitch. Get the 55 gallon lube drum.
    Fat fuck bubbas are not erosion.

  24. #24
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    If it doesn't work out between you and the sugar momma, send her my way. Congrats dude. Take the flexible schedule with growth potential. The one thing you can't buy is time.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutash View Post
    ^^^Thank you RBG for allowing intelligent women do what they do.
    If we were ever to score a female newf
    Rbg would be on my short list of names
    I doubt my spanser would dissent
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -ski on in eternal peace
    "I have posted in here but haven't read it carefully with my trusty PoliAsshat antenna on."-DipshitDanno

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