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Eagle93

Work/life balance. Available anywhere?

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Hi All,

So where I'm at, our end of year crunch actually begins at the start of Q3. Tensions and anxiety start escalating right about now in mid-March. Gentle urging to do overtime starts in mid-April. By May-June, management is beating on us and we're working overtime. July through mid-October is crazy and the demand for overtime is insatiable. There are strict leave restrictions between July 1 and mid-October. So for almost half the year a 40-hour workweek is not realistic.

I basically like the work. I'm good at my job. I don't mind working some overtime to accomplish the mission. But I'm feeling the burn where I'm at right now. To me a reasonable crunch time would be between mid-August to October 1.

Is what I've been seeing normal? Is there any place to do contracting in the federal gov where a 40 hour work-week is standard throughout most of the year.

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In my experience your agency is the outlier; none of the agencies I have worked at (8 places, CA, DC, GA, TX, FL, AL), required overtime for half the year.  Only 1 (a base support contracting office), required overtime in September, with optional overtime beginning in August.  Most of the offices I worked in did not have any mandatory overtime, even those with predominantly one year funding.  The offices working with more multiple year funding like the one I am in now are like "October is coming soon?  How cute!"  

 

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DWGerard,

Thanks for the reply.

Here, they don't directly make the OT "mandatory" per se because that would be against the union contract. Instead, we're workloaded such that to do our workload and get a "fully successful" performance rating, requires that we "volunteer" for OT. Aside from the threat of poor performance ratings, they will also take away perks, such as compressed work schedules and telework, from people not doing sufficient OT. 

This has been my only experience in the 1102 series, and it's really left a bad taste in my mouth for reasons that go beyond just the workloading issue. It's been over 2 years now. I'm FAC-C level 2 certified. I'm at the point where I'm ready to move on to private sector or a better federal place to work. It's good to hear that there are decent federal shops out there, because I really would like to stay a federal employee if I can.

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21 hours ago, Eagle93 said:

Is what I've been seeing normal? Is there any place to do contracting in the federal gov where a 40 hour work-week is standard throughout most of the year.

Generally, you hear bad things about the VA, but I work on a team with a good supervisor and stable personnel. It wasn't always this way, but after about 2-years of getting things in good shape, life is good. I haven't worked OT to get "my" job done in about 1.5 years. 

Generally, bad management leads to that bad balance. 

Good leaders create good working environments. 

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The government annual job survey shows a sense of purpose and helping achieve mission very important to employees.  My experience from government employment and consulting is those agencies/offices where acquisition personnel directly support programs have much better satisfaction that similar offices where contracting people sit in an office and crank out awards like machines.  In my last government job, we rearranged everything so every procurement person was assigned specific program office support.  That meant spending lots of time in program offices getting to know programs and their people.  Overtime issues rarely came up because procurement people informed their managers they needed to work overtime when necessary.  No complaints because they knew their program needed their support. 
 

A few employees didn’t like that and moved on.  Their replacements were told of the situation before hiring.

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formerfed, I think the arrangement you describe from your last gig is ideal. Occasional overtime to meet a specific and attainable objective--I would not mind that at all.  It would be great to have procurement people assigned to specific program offices to get to know the programs, the buys, and the people. Where I'm at, we never have had the staffing to do that and we are in a very high volume production environment. So PRs flood in, get triaged and divided among how ever many procurement staff are available. We do crank out awards like machines out of necessity. It's definitely tiring and not conducive to quality contracting. Staff turnover is the biggest challenge. There are reasons for it that have everything to do with management. There's always a short-sighted management strategy of being as oppressive and bullying as it takes to pound people into submission. and hopefully make them produce. It never works.

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Eagle93,

Are you willing to relocate?  If so, what restrictions apply?  People here could offer suggestions on places to consider.

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formerfed,

Thanks for the response. For family reasons, it will be at least 9-12 months before I could relocate. Which is inconvenient because I need a workplace change asap. Anyhow..... When I'm able to relocate I could see myself going anywhere west of the Rockies, but especially anywhere on the west coast from San Diego to Seattle, Arizona, or New Mexico. 

I would definitely welcome suggestions for decent shops in these areas so I know what to keep an eye out for.

 

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