Author Topic: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please! UPDATE more questions  (Read 3199 times)

MsPeacock

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I have a dilemma with a job offer that I received this week. I would appreciate your thoughts as I think through these issues and make a decision about the offer.

(TLDR - should I take a 5k pay cut to take a "higher level" job that will contribute more towards my pension and qualify me for higher levels jobs down the road?)

1. I am a GS 13-10 (this is important. Base pay 120K + 10% bonus = 132K annual) and have been stuck and maxed out in my current position for several years now. It is extremely unlikely that my current organization will have any opportunities for advancement to GS-14. I received  retention bonus of 10% which put my pay at about a 14-7   14-8 level. (This is a federal employment pay scale, for those unfamiliar w/ the system). I am at the highest pay level for GS-13, the retention bonus could potentially go away if there were budget changes or the powers that be become unhappy w/ my consistently "exceeds expectations" performance.

2. I have been looking for a GS-14 job in my field since January. There are few listings because I work in a specialized area. There are also occasional GS-15 positions, but I can't qualify for them because you are required to be level 14 for 12 months at minimum. Accepting the current GS-14 job is likely my only way to advance and move towards an eventual GS-15 job.

3. The position that extended an offer would be at a GS 14-6 pay is $127K - 5k less than my current job. However my current retention incentive doesn't count towards FERS (12K of what I make). This would move another 5K into my FERS calculation immediately, and that would continue to increase as I move up in steps and as annual pay increases occur. Retirement is based on the highest pay last 3 years x1% per year worked - I have about another 15 years to go before I retire (at roughly 25 years).

4. My current job is "ok" - but has a flexible work schedule and some telework. I am trying to get more information from the new agency about the available of both programs. (And the lack of both may make the pay issue moot).

I can handle the 5K loss - it won't hurt my budget too much. There are a few other non-tangibles about the job that I want to address separately w/ the hiring agency (e.g. I have only had a phone interview and plan to visit in person before accepting the job). I also have another job "in the works" that I have waiting to hear about an interview. However, they are moving very slowly. I would *greatly* prefer that job, and I contacted them to inquire about the status of their hiring project - but I am not going to pass this opportunity for something that might not happen.

Because I am already a federal employee I do not qualify for a new hire bonus, nor can I negotiate the starting salary (per HR - I plan to talk to the person who will be my actual boss. )

So - do I eat the 5K loss, knowing that over time my pay will catch up, I will have step increases along the way (every 2-3 years), and that my contributions to FERS will result in higher pay at retirement? What else should I be considering?

I'll add that retirement is a concern for me because I am 47 and divorced a few years ago and had to basically start from scratch. Including my house I have about ~500k in retirement savings now.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 10:07:12 AM by MsPeacock »

hoping2retire35

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 06:03:16 AM »
FIRE now.

you are single with 500k in retirement savings. move to a lcol area and you are done.

you probably won't listen to what I just wrote so Ill throw in the career advice. From what I read it sounds like your pay decrease will be made up by some type of increase in retirement benefit; your pay difference is a wash. Your are also getting about $12k that could be taken at any time, so there is that, not to mention the flex schedule and telework which I would guess you could also lose if the right/wrong boss came along. This opportunity will lead to other opportunities that will only increase your pay.

I am in a similar boat. A good job with good benefits but my pay is going no where. All the jobs I am qualified for are a wash when it comes to pay; maybe they pay more but I know their health plan premium are more than mine so no real improvement in take home pay. But the one thing that could make taking on a new job is that I'll gain experience, networking, and the ability to eventually get into an actual higher paying position.

curious what others have to say.

MsPeacock

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2016, 06:09:16 AM »
I am not single - I am a single mother with two children age 9 and 13 and living in a very HCOL and not able to move from the area due to shared custody. I actually like my field so I am not looking to retire now.

I think you are right about the pay and opportunity - just want to make sure I am thinking through all the issues. I am not super excited about this new job - just taking it for the need to move on and eventually move up. Too long stagnated here.


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2016, 06:52:08 AM »
Telework is incredibly valuable to me. I wouldn't move to an equivalent pay job that had less telework opportunity.

ZiziPB

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2016, 07:00:34 AM »
$5K is nothing in the grand scheme of things.  The important question for me would be: is the new job something that you think you would like more than the current job? Are your long term opportunities better with the new job?

When I was looking to take a job with a significant pay cut a few years ago, someone gave me this advice:  take a piece of paper and divide into 4 parts.  Left side is the old job, right side is the new job, top part are advantages and bottom part are disadvantages.  Then list everything you can think of in the appropriate quarter.  Then look at your list.  This exercise was incredibly helpful for me.  I carried the page with me for a couple of days and put down anything that came to mind in terms of pluses and minuses of the old job and the new job.  By the time I was finished, my decision became very clear.  I took the lower paying job.  That was 6 years ago and it was absolutely the right decision!

MsPeacock

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2016, 10:13:11 AM »
Telework is incredibly valuable to me. I wouldn't move to an equivalent pay job that had less telework opportunity.

I agree - it is very important and I have made my acceptance conditional upon that (and other issues, including salary). This new job would be able to be done largely via telework whereas my current job really can't. Right now I get 6 hours per week of telework - I'd love for more than that.

irishbear99

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2016, 10:15:16 AM »
I am not single - I am a single mother with two children age 9 and 13 and living in a very HCOL and not able to move from the area due to shared custody. I actually like my field so I am not looking to retire now.

I think you are right about the pay and opportunity - just want to make sure I am thinking through all the issues. I am not super excited about this new job - just taking it for the need to move on and eventually move up. Too long stagnated here.

Definitely ask about the telework/flex-schedule policy and implementation at the potential new job. Maybe you can use that as a negotiating tactic to offset the $5k dip in salary.

JJsfr

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2016, 11:44:38 AM »
How long do you plan on working? If it's another 4-5 years, the drop to the 14 for a potential 15 may not make sense. If it's > 10 years, it probably makes sense. Anywhere between 5-10 is your call.

Is the other job you'd prefer a fed job?

JJsfr

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2016, 11:51:32 AM »

3. The position that extended an offer would be at a GS 14-6 pay is $127K - 5k less than my current job. However my current retention incentive doesn't count towards FERS (12K of what I make).

*snip*

Because I am already a federal employee I do not qualify for a new hire bonus, nor can I negotiate the starting salary (per HR - I plan to talk to the person who will be my actual boss. )

Also,

Your boss cannot make HR pay you more than what ever your base rate currently is if you're already a fed. Look up the base rate (non-locality pay) for the 13-10 and then find its corresponding base pay on the 14 scale. It probably lines up with 14-6. This determination is outlined in the federal regs as far as I know, and the only way to increase your step is to get the QSI's or spend the time in the step, 2 years at a 6.

--edit: apparently you add two steps to your current pay before you move to the next grade scale. at a 10 you'll have to calculate what that'd be.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2016, 11:55:49 AM by JJsfr »

DCKatie09

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2016, 11:55:40 AM »
It can be incredibly challenging to crack the GS-14 ceiling - if this is your chance to do it (and the new job doesn't sound like a step backwards in terms of subject matter/actual work), then do it. You'll make back the 5K paycut quickly, and it'll give you the chance to take a crack at a -15 down the road, which you know is impossible from where you are now.

mm1970

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2016, 11:57:21 AM »
I am not single - I am a single mother with two children age 9 and 13 and living in a very HCOL and not able to move from the area due to shared custody. I actually like my field so I am not looking to retire now.

I think you are right about the pay and opportunity - just want to make sure I am thinking through all the issues. I am not super excited about this new job - just taking it for the need to move on and eventually move up. Too long stagnated here.
You are making me wish I'd considered transitioning from Navy to GS-13 decades ago (would probably be 14 or 15 by now.  Actually one or two friends made SES recently).  But then I'd still be living in DC.  Hm...maybe not.  I am often surprised at how well the military and government salaries have kept up, compared to the public world.  And my HCOL area rivals the DC area for cost (is a bit more expensive).

As a (married) mother of kids who are 10 and 4, flexibility and telework are extremely important to me.  More than $5k

Giro

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2016, 12:02:52 PM »
take the 14.  You've maxed out at GS-13 and 14's are not always easy to come by if you cannot relocate.  And you are planning to work for a long time, so you don't want to be stuck at 13.




doggyfizzle

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2016, 04:39:09 PM »
As a GS-13 also on a special salary scale who gets to regularly telework, I'd only suggest taking the new position if you can negotiate telework for as a GS-14.  Being able to work from home is absolutely life-changing!  You could also stay where you are, invest the retention bonus on your own in a Roth, and likely come out just as well at retirement as if you'd taken the GS-14 position.  If you are able to max the TSP for the next 15 years of work (although I'd suggest retiring at your MRA earlier instead), you'll likely end up with an additional $500-600k in that account while working at your current 13 position and again, the extra pay at the 14 scale really shouldn't make a difference in your retirement quality of life vs a GS-13 FERS annuity plus TSP withdrawal (2-3%) plus SS.

MsPeacock

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2016, 09:55:13 PM »
Thank you everyone for your replies. I've been back and forth but given a tentative yes to the position pending discussion of telework and AWS. The commute to the job is much worse than my current commute - but this new job really has (as far as I can determine) few tasks that require my physical presence at work. I have been stuck a long time at my current level, and find my current organization very happy to task me w/ new responsibilities while offering no opportunities for promotion.  It is one of the problems w/ federal employment that it is extremely difficult for an organization to create new positions, and that is playing a role in being stuck. I don't see myself being happy being stuck where I am for another 15 years. I am professionally stifled and not learning new skills that I am interested in developing.

Anyhow, I have a few more details to hash out and issues to consider, but my plan - assuming all the details work out favorably - is to move forward. I've been at my current job for 7 years (the longest I've worked anywhere in my adult life) and it is going to be quite an adjustment to make.

My eventual goal would be a GS-15 and possible SES job - and this is really the only way I am going to have any chance of getting there.


MsPeacock

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UPDATE

So I have an in person meeting this Friday with the deputy chief and the assistant under secretary. I should be able to meet also with some of the other work team. This is my chance to get a feel for the work climate (which I have not heard positive things about).

Aside from that I need to find out about other work issues such as telework and AWS. I haven't negotiated these issues previously (they became available several years after I started my current job). Any recommendations about how and what to ask for? Any other issues to ask about related to schedule, work climate, evaluations, training, etc.

I know these sorts of threads are great for me in terms of food for though - so thank you in advance for replies.

jrhampt

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2016, 03:46:28 PM »
Telework is incredibly valuable to me. I wouldn't move to an equivalent pay job that had less telework opportunity.

Seconded.  And I would absolutely take a pay cut if it meant more telecommuting and potential future salary increases.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 03:48:11 PM by jrhampt »

MsPeacock

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Re: Job offer delimma - help me think through this please!
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2016, 03:56:27 PM »
Telework is incredibly valuable to me. I wouldn't move to an equivalent pay job that had less telework opportunity.

Seconded.  And I would absolutely take a pay cut if it meant more telecommuting and potential future salary increases.

The commute is way way way worse than my current commute. In the absence of telework I have pretty much decided my quality of life would suffer too much to take this job. So, we will see what they have to say.

wintertell

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In my experience, telework policies can come and go depending on supervisor. At my agency, lots of turnover means lots of changes in this type of stuff. It concerns me that the commute is way worse though I know a 14 can be allusive. Did you hear back from the other job? But in terms of the trade-off of bumping up a grade vs reduction in pay, that seems like a good idea. Just considering that factor and not others, it's an easy decision from my perspective.

MsPeacock

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In my experience, telework policies can come and go depending on supervisor. At my agency, lots of turnover means lots of changes in this type of stuff. It concerns me that the commute is way worse though I know a 14 can be allusive. Did you hear back from the other job? But in terms of the trade-off of bumping up a grade vs reduction in pay, that seems like a good idea. Just considering that factor and not others, it's an easy decision from my perspective.

Nothing from the other job. Yes, 14 is elusive. But I don't want a 90 minute commute each way 5 days per week.

jrhampt

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In my experience, telework policies can come and go depending on supervisor. At my agency, lots of turnover means lots of changes in this type of stuff. It concerns me that the commute is way worse though I know a 14 can be allusive. Did you hear back from the other job? But in terms of the trade-off of bumping up a grade vs reduction in pay, that seems like a good idea. Just considering that factor and not others, it's an easy decision from my perspective.

Nothing from the other job. Yes, 14 is elusive. But I don't want a 90 minute commute each way 5 days per week.

Ouch.  Yeah, that commute would be a deal-breaker for me.