Is a government job worth it? - page 2

I have been in negotiation with a military facility for a full-time GS position as a civilian. The salary range was listed as about 80-150K. I have 10 years of primary care experience and they... Read More

  1. by   Beldar_the_Cenobite
    Typically, federal jobs have great benefits. The downside of working for the feds is pay raises are VERY slow. If a hospital raises your pay every 6 months to a year, feds will probably raise your pay every year, maybe a year and a half, maybe 2 years. Education plays a big role too.

    Hospital work, not really sure about, but I think it also depends on the budget of the division you work at. For example, USMC hospital on base might have a small budget compared to Navy or Air Force or even Army bases with hospitals who have very large budgets themselves since they are not part of any other branch like the Marine corps is who is part of the US Navy. Certain military branches have certain sized budgets. VA has a huge budget. Places like Area 51 might have their own hospital, their budget: unknown, as it could be huge or very small.

    Also, the more time you put into retirement, the more money you'll get when you retire. There might be a maximum though. An E-8 in the Air Force can only serve up to 35 years I believe, vs. an E-9 can serve 40. Getting that high of a rank is VERY difficult. About 1% make it. Those are the rules of the Air Force. If you work for the VA or Air Force as a civilian, they may or may not have rules regarding retirement age threshold.

    There's a 90 something-year-old nurse who still works, and, to me, that is my retirement. Age is just a number


    Oh yeah, I forgot to add, federal jobs pay lower than civilian jobs, but you get better benies.
  2. by   djmatte
    Quote from Beldar_the_Cenobite
    Typically, federal jobs have great benefits. The downside of working for the feds is pay raises are VERY slow. If a hospital raises your pay every 6 months to a year, feds will probably raise your pay every year, maybe a year and a half, maybe 2 years. Education plays a big role too.

    Hospital work, not really sure about, but I think it also depends on the budget of the division you work at. For example, USMC hospital on base might have a small budget compared to Navy or Air Force or even Army bases with hospitals who have very large budgets themselves since they are not part of any other branch like the Marine corps is who is part of the US Navy. Certain military branches have certain sized budgets. VA has a huge budget. Places like Area 51 might have their own hospital, their budget: unknown, as it could be huge or very small.

    Also, the more time you put into retirement, the more money you'll get when you retire. There might be a maximum though. An E-8 in the Air Force can only serve up to 35 years I believe, vs. an E-9 can serve 40. Getting that high of a rank is VERY difficult. About 1% make it. Those are the rules of the Air Force. If you work for the VA or Air Force as a civilian, they may or may not have rules regarding retirement age threshold.

    There's a 90 something-year-old nurse who still works, and, to me, that is my retirement. Age is just a number


    Oh yeah, I forgot to add, federal jobs pay lower than civilian jobs, but you get better benies.
    Things may have changed since I served, but back then the cut off was 30 years (active duty). E5 topped at 20...and 30 for E-9 and divisions for in between.

    What a colleague told me about the VA (and possible other federal jobs) is that your retirement is based off your highest pay over 3 years regardless of when it occurred. What some people do is for their last 3 years accept a position in California where the base pay is much higher than other parts of the country, retire, then move to wherever. They still get credit for the higher pay scale. So something else to consider.
  3. by   tippeny
    You mentioned that you didn't know much about the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). You are enrolled at 3% personal contributions, pre-tax. Your employer will match 4%; so you will have a total of 7% contributions with only putting in 3% of your own. You can up your contributions, and the employer will always match it plus 1%. I have just started a job as a GS0610-11 step 1. I am very happy with the salary and benefits, but I knew what I was getting into as I was previously active duty in the Army (completely different field) and worked a GS position in administration years ago. Yes, lots to think about!
  4. by   PVCCHoo
    Good explanation of FERS and the TSP.

    Any way you slice it that is better than anything else you will probably be able to find in the private sector I would bet.

    Put in 30 years and get roughly 30% of your salary for life. Not many places will do that these days.

    For example, I work at a state university hospital, but we are treated differently than the university employees on the academic side. My wife will get some percentage of her salary for life. I will get 4% of my salary (at the state's expense) put in to the market to do what it may. Plus I can get 2% of a match for a total of 6% of whatever I am making for free. Theoretically a stock market whiz could somehow make that a better scenario than a defined benefit payout, but how many people with those kinds of skills become nurses?

    I don't live in a town with a VA, but if I did I would seriously look in to a career there.
  5. by   imanfnp
    Thanks to everyone for all of the thoughtful responses. Can anyone explain how the "keep your insurance" into retirement thing works? From what I gather you have to first "retire" meaning work at least 5 years. Does anyone know if I were to work there for five years, then take a deferred retirement because I will be too young to officially retire and receive payments...can I still keep the insurance even before I reach the minimum retirement age? Or does the option to buy into that insurance only restart when I reach the minimum age to receive the retirement benefits (age 62)? Or is that not an option at all?
  6. by   FullGlass
    Another type of government job to consider are state and local jobs. Here in California, state college student health NPs can have a really sweet deal. Work 4.5 days during Spring and Fall Semester. Work 4 days during Summer. Get 2 to 3 weeks off for winter break. 5 weeks of vacation, 2 weeks of sick time which can accrue forever. This is on top of holidays. The California Retirement System (CALPERS) also is very generous - way better than the feds. And the pay is quite good considering all the time off. Yes, it is a bit less than the private sector, but I think it is worth it because of the benefits.
  7. by   yogagal
    Quote from FullGlass
    Another type of government job to consider are state and local jobs. Here in California, state college student health NPs can have a really sweet deal. Work 4.5 days during Spring and Fall Semester. Work 4 days during Summer. Get 2 to 3 weeks off for winter break. 5 weeks of vacation, 2 weeks of sick time which can accrue forever. This is on top of holidays. The California Retirement System (CALPERS) also is very generous - way better than the feds. And the pay is quite good considering all the time off. Yes, it is a bit less than the private sector, but I think it is worth it because of the benefits.

    I ALWAYS am on the lookout for university/student health positions, they never come up! With good reason probably!

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