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About PepeTheFrog

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  1. PepeTheFrog

    Master Degrees

    The return on investment of paying a "resume expert" who knows the government contracts industry is much higher than any degree. Paying $500 or $1000 to increase your lifetime earnings potential is a good idea. Consider paying someone to improve your resume and translate what you've done into something recruiters and hiring managers can digest. At a minimum, find job postings/descriptions and individual resumes that match who you want to be. Think three or four jobs ahead, i.e. "What will this next position add to my skill set? What are intermediate steps to get to my goal?" Degrees, in general, aren't valuable because of what you allegedly learned. They're valuable as a signalling and sorting mechanism. Think about that. Some of those fake degrees you mentioned signal that the person is serious about government contracts, but isn't intelligent or connected enough to know better. Maybe they can get you into a mid-level contracts manager position, but not the more prestigious positions. The MBA and lawyer crowd will eat your lunch in that tier. Yes, at the higher levels, they will. @LucyQ Contracts positions are all over the map as far as titles, pay, responsibilities, seniority. What is your desired salary range? Do you expect subordinate employees? What size company (revenue)? Those factors make a difference as to what your experience and credentials should be.
  2. PepeTheFrog

    Volume 2

    @here_2_help If you've had a chance to digest it, do you have any thoughts on the CAS, accounting, or other recommendations? Anybody else?
  3. PepeTheFrog

    A Hiring Challenge.

    Vern, you proposed a thought experiment on a discussion board. People and frogs are proposing their thoughts and discussing it. Nah. Vern, presumably, you know some other big hitters. Not a single one of these big hitters would turn it down for any reason other than because he or she couldn't cut it? #FakeNews. You know plenty of people who could cut it but wouldn't think the juice was worth the squeeze. Vern, if this is not just posturing to defend your position, you need to get in touch with recruiters, yesterday. If you are genuinely interested in jobs like this, they are available for you and you are more than qualified. PepeTheFrog is happy to help place you. You're considering this event in isolation, and ignoring other relevant factors. Again, someone in the running for a $180K job has other options. Those other options may lead them to believe that six hours is a waste of time and this employer is a hassle. Your thought exercise suggests an academic focus at the expense of the practical economics of the job market. PepeTheFrog's claim is congruent with what you wrote. There are not many of these prestigious and high-paying jobs, as compared to the larger subset of contracting jobs. There will be plenty of competition for such jobs, both between potential employees and between potential employers. The qualified applicants for such jobs have other options that don't involve this writing exercise. If you're a qualified applicant for such jobs, you can negotiate retention bonuses, extra days of vacation, and other goodies. You won't be subject to grueling writing tests. The employer is not in a position to demand this writing exercise. Your writing exercise makes more sense for a "hungry" applicant. This writing exercise might actually work for a lower paying, less prestigious, more mid-level position. In that range, you can target and tempt the low-level and entry-level professionals into proving themselves to get that $120K job. You're considering this event in isolation, and as an isolated trade for merely one year of pay. But the Civil Service Exam also opened the door to everything that comes with federal employment, including great benefits, experiences, contacts, job security, etc. It was a barrier to entry for the entire world of federal employment. If this six-hour test opened the door to a specific profession, like the practice of law for an attorney, or the medical practice for a doctor, many people would take the test. Indeed, many doctors and attorneys spend lots of time and effort to break through the barriers of entry into their respective professions. But this test is for one job, at will, for one employer, where almost every other employer doesn't require this stuff. It's not a test for an entire profession or career field. Side note: How much smarter, conscientious, and capable would the federal workforce be if the United States brought back the Civil Service Exam? What a shame it was to get rid of it. Imagine a federal workforce that consists almost entirely of above-average workers in intelligence and conscientiousness. Think NASA in the 1950s and 1960s. That's what she said.
  4. You're most welcome. That sounds reasonable. PepeTheFrog just wants other frogs to take decisions like this seriously, because it can lead to the loss of small business status and eligibility for contracts. More info is usually good. Just remember, some frogs turn into princes. Frog lives matter.
  5. Seeking advice about important topics like this from strangers and frogs on the Internet is dangerous. You might get what you ask for. Will you act on it? Your scenario shows "the appearance of general affiliation." You listed several examples. However... PepeTheFrog assumes you're asking about the type of affiliation that can ruin your status as a small business. Did you review the SBA regulations on affiliation? Check out 13 CFR 121.103. There are also SBA guides out there on the Internet, but PepeTheFrog doesn't know if they're up to date. As an example, this one is from March 2014: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/affiliation_ver_03.pdf
  6. PepeTheFrog

    Contract Interpretation

    Thank you, Vern Edwards. What are your top five law firm blogs on government contracts?
  7. PepeTheFrog

    A Hiring Challenge

    The titles, duties, and compensation of contracts professionals in the private sector interests PepeTheFrog. It's a mess. They don't always line up as they should. The titles for these types of jobs are all over the place, but the one you describes sounds like a contract administrator/negotiator who would be called a Director of Contracts. Roughly: Junior Contracts Administrator, Subcontracts Administrator, Contracts Administrator, Contracts Analyst, Contracts Manager, Senior Contracts Manager, Director of Contracts. There's all kinds of overlap and the titles are often misleading. Contracts positions are hard to source and hard to seek because of the confusing and misleading titles. Directors of Contracts can make anywhere from $120K to $250K at the high end. One you move from $200K to $300K and beyond, these Directors of Contracts usually become "Vice President, Contracts."
  8. PepeTheFrog

    A Hiring Challenge

    Do you think the challenge is reasonable? No, it's "unreasonable." In the abstract, sure, it seems like a challenge that will provide a reasonable assessment of knowledge and experience. Practically, it is not reasonable in that it goes way beyond the typical requirements for such jobs. At that salary, you're dealing with seasoned professionals. These professionals can get other jobs at $180K or much higher-- without going through this challenge. What's so great about this corporation? Why would the top performers go through this six-hour ordeal? There would have to be some sort of "prestige factor" for working at this company, but PepeTheFrog thinks that is a rarity in the government contracts industry and a rarity for these types of positions. The positions are just as fungible as the corporations. Is it really that cool to work for Boeing, Raytheon, Palantir, or SpaceX? (Not in these positions.) Would you accept the challenge or walk away? Walk away. Walk away and find other jobs at $180K or much higher that don't require this challenge. Too much hassle. Not a good indicator of the corporate culture or the hiring managers and recruitment office. If you would accept, how well do you think you would do? After reading PepeTheFrog's essay, the corporation's CEO would immediately resign and install PepeTheFrog as CEO with triple the former CEO's salary and benefits. Note: If the original post is meant to float this idea as potential advice for a client, PepeTheFrog would not provide that advice (recruitment strategy) to a potential client.
  9. GAO's take: "The Service Contract Act of 1965 protects all employees of service contractors from wage busting (lowering of wages and benefits by contractors in efforts to become low bidders) except bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees. To discourage wage busting for professional employees, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Air Force designed special procurement procedures which were used for recompetition on three major contracts. In a review of wages and fringe benefits of 881 of 1,034 employees not covered by the act, no cases of wage busting were found on two of the three contracts, and only two cases were identified on the remaining contract. In the two cases, the contractor paid salaries requested on job applications, and there was no indication of intent by the contractor to wage bust. The procurement procedures influenced contractors to submit proposals based on paying wages and fringe benefits comparable to those paid under the prior contracts, and these factors affected the proposal evaluations. The special procurement procedures demonstrate that a policy directed towards discouraging wage busting is a viable alternative to proposed legislation that would include professional employees under the act." https://www.gao.gov/products/HRD-78-49
  10. Man alive! And to think, PepeTheFrog gets censored for saying the 8(a) program is based on race, and speaking plainly about its implementation... As @Gordon Shumway would say, "This was an interesting read..." @bob7947: Friendly advice, don't censor this particular thread. This is the magic stuff. Let it stay, let freedom ring! Some frogs show up to watch the fur fly. Government contracts is mostly boring, boring stuff. It's fun to have some controversy and some differences of opinion so great that feelings get hurt. If feelings aren't hurt, does anyone really care? Think about it. [munches popcorn]
  11. PepeTheFrog

    Will Federal Acquisition Lead the Blockchain Revolution?

    Blockchain in federal acquisition is like "artificial intelligence*" in federal acquisition. It's a joke and a way to give play money and research funding to contractors who can write catchy proposals. *There is no "artificial intelligence" yet. When it arrives, it will not be used for the FAR or federal contracting. It will be used to kill people (win wars), predict markets (make money), and control your thoughts and actions.
  12. PepeTheFrog

    Volume 2

    Seems like the Section 809 Panel is running out of steam. Volume 2 seems significantly less interesting than Volume 1. Most of Volume 2 looks like tinkering instead of the sweeping changes that the Section 809 Panel teased. Section 2, Acquisition Workforce Tighten up and expand Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Fund (DAWDF) spending. Expand Direct Hiring Authority (DHA). Make ACQ-DEMO permanent. Yawn. Section 3, Simplified Commercial Source Selection Tinker with the definitions, tinker with the statutes and regulations. Yawn. Also note the use of the term "source selection" with "simplified" and "commercial." Really gets the ol' noggin joggin'... Section 5, Services Contracting, Recommendation 31: eliminate the distinction between "personal services contracts" and other service contracts This seems helpful, and preferable to the Kabuki theater of the current system. Avoid the employer-employee relationship that the term and concept of "contractor" is meant to avoid, and watch out for contractors performing inherently government functions, but dump the confusing statutes and regulations about personal services contracts. Section 8, Operationalizing the Dynamic Marketplace When reading this title, PepeTheFrog sees a six-figure consultant who just graduated from a state school and wears a Bluetooth headset everywhere. "Operationalizing the Dynamic Marketplace?" Did they mistakenly leave out the word "disrupt" in the final edit?
  13. Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man. PepeTheFrog challenged your definition of competitive advantage, proposed another more inclusive definition, and offered conditions that lead to better TINA sweeps and litigation avoidance. PepeTheFrog did a little bit more than repeat. Does it go without saying that your post was accompanied by evidence and sound theory? "Sound theory," huh? Sounds like a topic for discussion. its competitors (these are obvious, but you asked) faster response times less overhead costs less chance of negotiating a bad deal more contracts in a faster amount of time less lawsuits, fines, penalties, other bad consequences from litigation Even in your narrow definition for competitive advantage, over time, this stuff leads to an ability to provide greater value, offer lower prices, or produce better products or services than other competitors. But you knew that!
  14. PepeTheFrog agrees its competitors This is true, but your definition is too narrow. A competitive advantage is also a condition or circumstance that puts a company in a favorable or superior business position. PepeTheFrog is surprised @here_2_help 's comment drew any criticism or questions. -efficient, responsive, accurate financial systems (ability to conduct effective, timely TINA sweeps) -internal legal, compliance, risk controls (litigation avoidance) Both of these lead to competitive advantages. Both of these help with TINA sweeps and mitigate legal risk. The conditions that allow a company to conduct efficient TINA sweeps create competitive advantages. How is any of this controversial? PepeTheFrog has much deeper faith in your imagination if you allow it to wander beyond the boundaries you set to state your case. The conditions that lead to a company's ability to complete sweeps in a timely manner is a competitive advantage, right?
  15. PepeTheFrog

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    PepeTheFrog knows your position about deception in negotiation, but quoting or using Henry Kissinger to strengthen your side is not a sound strategy. One personality spectrum is agreeableness, or the tendency for cooperation versus competition. A strategist like Kissinger is firmly on one side, and his negotiation style, success, and strategy reflects that. Cooperative, agreeable, "nice guy" negotiators are only successful when the stakes are not high and when there is already a cooperative relationship. When the stakes or risks are very high, or when it's an extremely competitive environment, or within an adversarial relationship, the competitive, disagreeable, adversarial negotiator will clean the clock of the naive and friendly. They'll also employ deception to do it. Some of you make very naive statements about negotiation. Maybe you've been deceived and you didn't even realize it.