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Farparts

What if I don't want a warrant???

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Say I'm a GS11 contract specialist with 5-6 years experience. I do my job and do it well. I am respected by peers and supervisors and COs. Trainees seek me out with their toughest questions. I'm happy with my salary (not that a warrant would mean automatic promotion).

I'd have no problem retiring as a GS11 contract specialist. So what are the career implications of not pursuing a warrant. Or put another way, what's my incentive to earn a warrant?

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Guest carl r culham

Many view the warrant as a personal achievement if warranting is available as a choice. Some agencies do not warrant contract specialists unless at the supervisory level. Typically there is no monetary incentive as warrants are not usually tied to grade. Obtaining a warrant if available for your position at your agency may also improve your worth to the organization by making you available for different work assignments than what you are getting now even if you do not want to advance. But as could be read between the lines of your post your current worth is not devalued just because you do not have a warrant. Others including your current superviosr and those of the future may view your wants differently and your want not to get a warrant could be viewed as an unmotivated employee. Suggest you communicate well with supervisor(s) as you move through your career to make sure you have mutual understanding of what the incentives are or are not on how you would like to pursue your career.

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Carl,

You make some good points; however, I've been weighing the pros and cons of pursuing a warrant and the cons appear to be winning hands down. A warrant would bring significantly increased responsibility but not a commensurate increase in job satisfaction nor compensation.

My mind is not made up (despite how I may sound). I guess I wanting someone to show me the bright side of obtaining a warrant.

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Say I'm a GS11 contract specialist with 5-6 years experience. I do my job and do it well. I am respected by peers and supervisors and COs. Trainees seek me out with their toughest questions. I'm happy with my salary (not that a warrant would mean automatic promotion).

I'd have no problem retiring as a GS11 contract specialist. So what are the career implications of not pursuing a warrant. Or put another way, what's my incentive to earn a warrant?

Well, if you don't care about ever getting promoted again, do you consider not getting promoted a "career implication?" Regardless though, I've never heard of it being up to the 1102 - whether or not one is warranted is generally up to the supervisor. So, if your supervisor requires that you be warranted, you really don't have a choice (assuming that is supported by your PD, etc.). If such a question exists your "incentive" is your paycheck and your job.

Based on your comments it sounds like you may be better suited to be a Procurement Analyst rather than a Contract Specialist. You say you've been a Contract Specialist for 5-6 years (or read literally, it appears you posing the question as a hypothetical), so you should be able to answer that question better than anyone - since only you know how that would go over in the office you worked in. I know I would be less then thrilled if I as a supervisor had a GS-11 CS that I respected ask me your question, especially because good 1102s are short supply.

I'm surprised that your journey-level 1102 job is a GS-11. I haven't seen any GS-11 journey level 1102 positions for years.

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Guest carl r culham

The more I think about your question the more personal it gets. I suspect there are all kinds of institutional answers to the question, either way but it is really about personal satisfaction. In my career I held warrants up to and including the ?unlimited?. I was also at one time a contract specialist with no warrant and much of what I could do was similar to what I could do with a warrant yet in retrospect I actually feel I accomplished more with a warrant. As a contract specialist without a warrant it was easier as everything was in the form of a suggestion, an idea, never a decision. As a CO it was the decision. This is not to suggest that as a CO I did not seek help, opinions, counsel and maybe even prayed at some times to do the ?right thing? but I was the decision maker.

The bright side , I learned something new every day and it is my personal opinion it is stuff about life that I would not of learned simply being a contract specialist as the experiences you encounter with a warrant as compared to not having a warrant are truly different. The very reason I might add that I participate today in this forum. While one reading the posting found on WIFCON could get lost in the technical discussions there is another side. Life experiences as corny as it may sound.

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I'm surprised that your journey-level 1102 job is a GS-11. I haven't seen any GS-11 journey level 1102 positions for years.

Before transitioning to pay for performance (NSPS) the Army Corps of Engineers considered a GS-11 contracting specialist as a journey level.

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The US Army ACA command and the Directorate of Contracting has a journeyman level of GS-11 as of a few years ago. That has created problems as those GS-11's often leave a year after they reach that level for GS-12 and GS-13 journeyman level positions.

I brought that up a number of times at DOC Ft. Benning and they pretty much ignored it. Now I am with DHS in Dallas and the journeyman level here is GS-13. Seems they would figure that out, but then again the only people at Ft. Benning who come to WIFCON have already left or are not in the 1102 career field to begin with.

Regarding the thread topic, I have heard of a few people refusing a warrant as they did not want to spend their days looking at other peoples work, choosing instead to produce their own work. Not a greatly career enhancing move in their cases, but if they did not want a promotion, career enhancement was not a big deal to begin with.

Personally, I do want to progress in my career, so I sought a warrant as soon as I was qualified for one. Yes, it is added responsiblities without added pay, but as with many investments, the payoff comes later when I am found to be worthy for promotions into leadership positions. A big way to prove that worth is to be a leader first, and a Contracting Officer can be a much greater leader than someone who is an unwarranted Contract Specialist.

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Farparts,

It seems like you really gave a lot of thought to this. I think dwgerard's comment about potential leadership positions is valid. However not everyone seeks a management job.

If you are satisfied where you are now and what you are doing, that's great. I read a book quite a while ago called First Break All the Rules. The author interviewed several people doing a variety of jobs. He found the ones that are the best and are truely satisifed feel that way because they know they are good in what they do. Many didn't want to progress further in their career because that meant getting away from what they like and do best.

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Here are my two cents on the original post. If you are the type of person that likes to develop others, then having a warrant is the best way to accomplish that task. You and the trainee both have your skin in the game. Otherwise, trainees may seek you out for information; but the guy/gal with the warrant may not agree with your recommended course of action. Another benefit is the ability to influence the implementation of policy. Contracting is like religion and politics; we all have our own views are rarely agree with everything that goes on in our offices. It is hard to over-turn an archaic policy when you are sitting in the cheap seats.

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