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CBCoops88

Advice on Job Offer

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Good day, 

I have four years 1102 contracting experience with a civilian agency as a 9/11/12. I am currently a 12. It's very mission focused work I enjoy immensely. 

I have  a job offer in the DOD pending a background investigation for a 12 position in a higher pay scale in an ideal location for my family. I also have a job offer for a 12/13 position with the VA in  the same area. No security clearance required. 

The VA job would be managing IDIQs for supplies and services. It sounds very repetitive. The work at the DOD position is for construction contracting, which seems much more engaging. The best CO's in my office all worked in the DOD before coming to this civilian agency. I have a sense that I would grow and learn much more in the DOD job. But I feel foolish considering turning down a 12/13 position. 

 I would appreciate advice from anyone with experience in the DOD vs VA. 

 

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Personally, I believe construction is the BEST place to really learn real contracting — this is based only on my lived and observed experience.

But, a GS-12 construction (DoD) versus a GS-13 IDIQs (VA) in the same area?

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Classic short-term versus long-term decision.

 

DOD:

larger agency

more future positions

higher grades

more funding for training and travel

more prestige

better training opportunities

potential to obtain or retain security clearance

 

VA:

GS-13 practically guaranteed (assuming your offer is for GS-12 in a GS-13 target or terminal position)

no security clearance required

absolute disgrace of an agency

 

PepeTheFrog usually advises frogs to always go with the higher grade, all things being equal. But things are not equal in this circumstance. It sounds like you will still have to wait at least one year to get to the target or terminal GS-13 position at the VA, correct? 

Do you have 365 days of experience as a GS-12, i.e. are you eligible to accept an offer and start as a GS-13 immediately? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, CBCoops88 said:

The VA job would be managing IDIQs for supplies and services. It sounds very repetitive. The work at the DOD position is for construction contracting, which seems much more engaging. The best CO's in my office all worked in the DOD before coming to this civilian agency. I have a sense that I would grow and learn much more in the DOD job. But I feel foolish considering turning down a 12/13 position. 

Maybe it's a matter of perspective. Would you feel foolish considering turning down a position that involves comparatively uninteresting work, where you would expect to learn and grow less? All other things equal, it would be foolish turning down a 12/13 position and taking a 12. But, all other things are not equal.

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It would be 8 months before I would be eligible for the 13.  A 13 that soon would be nice, but money isn't everything. Enjoying and taking pride in my work means just as much. 

Pepe and Don, thanks for confirming my gut feelings. I sort of stumbled into this career field. I have never given much thought to going past the 13 level.  If the DOD can realistically lay a foundation to go past the 13 level in the next ten years or so I would be foolish not to pursue it. 

 

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If you move to the D.C. area, right when you step off the airplane, they will hand you a GS-14 just like they hang a luau (or whatever that flowery necklace is called) on your neck when you arrive in Hawaii. 

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30 minutes ago, PepeTheFrog said:

If you move to the D.C. area, right when you step off the airplane, they will hand you a GS-14 just like they hang a luau (or whatever that flowery necklace is called) on your neck when you arrive in Hawaii. 

I believe that is called a lei.

Maybe DC is in my future. 

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Having worked both places, and having completed my contracting internship there, I would recommend DoD.  Stay away from the Pentagon though.

 

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It is refreshing to hear someone interested in learning their craft as opposed to wanting to run up the grade pole as fast as possible.

My suggestion is to take the DoD position, learn and experience all you can, and get your Level 3 certification.  Once you feel you have reached a level of experience you are comfortable with, and if there are no promotion opportunities where you are, then consider moving to a civilian agency to finish the climb.

My experience with DoD (I left 12 years ago, after 20+ years in) is that the grades were about 1 grade lower than what one can get in the civilian world (I'm in the DC area) for comparable work and responsibility.

Good luck!

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On 11/1/2018 at 12:22 PM, styrene said:

My experience with DoD (I left 12 years ago, after 20+ years in) is that the grades were about 1 grade lower than what one can get in the civilian world (I'm in the DC area) for comparable work and responsibility.

Good luck!

I agree with both of the points raised above.  I worked for DoD (not in DC) for several years and the grades were MUCH lower (sometimes 2-3 grades) than what exists in civilian agencies. You will most likely find that the level of complexity and volume that you will do as a GS-12 with DoD is comparable with what a GS-13 does in the civilian agencies.  At least that has been my experience. 

I also agree in that I wish you good luck!

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I'm an early-career 1102 (just over 3 years in), and I made the move from DOD to a civilian agency for that target 13 position. Let's just say that there have been some regrets. Forget expanding my contracting knowledge here; I think I'm actively getting dumber.

There's definitely grade inflation here on the civilian agency side, by about one grade. The biggest difference is experience, however. Our management staff is entirely composed of young, go-getters (younger than me). In DOD, all our managers had 30+ years of experience. The difference in respect earned from Program is immense. We were trusted business advisers in DOD. Here, we're an obstacle to be overcome, with all our inconvenient legislative and regulatory mandates that ring like the buzzing of flies in our customers' ears.

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