Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 PMF Appointments: Another Open Thread

The reason for this post is simple: I have Google set to turn on comment moderation on posts older than 30 days. If I don't post something today or tomorrow, those of you still conversing will have to wait for your comments to be published by me. Not only does this hamper your conversations, it is a bit burdensome to me as well, which is why I changed the site from moderating everything to what it is now (that was a while ago). Had I not done that, I would have had to approve all of the 2000+ comments you all have written over the past 3 months. As it is, I READ every comment, but I don't feel the need to moderate them all.

Anyway, please continue sharing your experiences as you go. I am planning some other exploratory and data analysis posts, but that process has gone a bit slower than I had desired. (This is *totally* not a call for some part-time help, no way, no how...OK, it is, if anyone wants to)

I'm not posting this one on GovLoop, because the threads over there are far from full. Ghost town is more like it.

Oh, and if there is a specific kind of post you would like me to write, let me know. I do take requests.

348 comments:

  1. Des anyone have the link to the website that says which agencies participate in the student loan repayment program?

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  2. How about a post containing links to any agency that maintains a PMF presence? That way we don't have to go searching for them. We can just come to this blog.

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  3. Anyone heard from HUD FHEO?

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  4. One month since the job fair and only 17 jobs posted. Wow.

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  5. It's all about the budget.

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  6. And an entire week since the last posting. I realize the budget plays a major role, but 1 PMF opening in the entire federal government for the week?

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  7. I am not sure why that is surprising. Those that were planning and able to hire PMFs already posted their positions. Others are likely waiting until budget issues become more clear.

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  8. The SLRP is being revamped and several agencies said they couldn't promise anything until the system redesign was finished. I was able to negotiate repayment with one agency based on my qualifications, however, but would prefer not to say which at this point.

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  9. That is great for people going to work for an agency that offers student loan repayment. Unfortunately not all of them participate in the program.

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  10. My sense is that even if the agency offers repayment, its not easy to get and is intead uses as a retention tool. It's also dependent on the office within the agency, so OPMs listings aren't entirely accurate. Lastly, one person said that while the agency might technically have it, they didn't know anyone who had actually ever gotten it. I was only successful because I negotiated it as an alternative to one other employment condition, which I thought could eventually be overcome anyway.

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  11. I should clarify OPMS listings are accurate in terms of the agencies offering something, but they don't contain all the information. Just because one part of the agency offers SLRP, another may not.

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  12. JD's, in terms of salary, what levels/steps have you been able to negotiate?

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  13. I'm a PMF at State and wanted to let everyone know that they need to nail down a position within the next week or so. Because of budget cuts, my office has been informed by State's HR director that there OPM will likely be issuing recommendations that all agencies stop hiring for any newly created positions. Obviously, the PMF positions for most agencies are not back-filled positions and therefore would be amongst the first frozen.

    If you haven't accepted a position yet, better get one this week or you're SOL.

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  14. It is just not that simple and your comments are meant to do nothing more than rile people up.

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  15. Using a term like SOL when participating in a professional discussion. A fine example of a PMF.

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  16. Sounds trollish to me. Every agency has its own budget, and OPM isn't in the business of telling agencies how many people to hire.

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  17. Based on the prior comments on this blog, I'd say he/she is more likely a PMF finalist than a PMF.

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  18. @pmfellow, I'm not sure about that. Last year the President issued a memo discouraging agencies from giving loan repayments to new hires. It was part of the justification my office used to not give any extra benefits. I could see OPM issuing a recommendation saying, hey if you're gonna hire someone, do it sooner rather than later cause there might not be a later.

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  19. @11:39 what do you mean by "Obviously, the PMF positions for most agencies are not back-filled positions"? Some agencies require that there be an open FTE position so that there is a position to roll the PMF over into when the fellowship is completed. Others used the program to find candidates for already open positions. So, obviously, it seems as if every agency handles it differently.

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  20. Anyone heard from IRS?

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  21. @12:18, my friend/classmate got rejected from IRS... not sure if that helps. Also not sure what position they applied for.

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  22. OSD decisions are out.

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  23. Maybe it's because I'm not a qualified budget analyst, but do we have real proof that the budget confusion is holding back PMF hiring? It seems like any agency with thousands of employees and a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars (and higher) would not need to wait on a budget when deciding to hire a PMF. And if the budget was holding back the PMF process, why are there so many openings on the usajobs site? And if PMFs are so valued like we've been told, then why are agencies so reluctant to convert openings to PMF positions?

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  24. Budget issues are holding back hiring across the board, not just for PMF hires. I am sure that for most if not all agencies it is not just a simple process to convert regular positions to PMF positions. Also, just because there are positions being listed on the USAJobs site doesn't mean that agencies haven't cut back.

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  25. It's the budget.

    http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110516/AGENCY01/105160301/1001

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  26. Does anyone have any advice regarding giving verbal acceptance of an offer from Agency X, then receiving another one that I like better from Agency Y? I don't start at Agency X for a while, and I'd like to take the job from Agency Y. What's the procedure, PMF-wise for declining an offer already accepted? PMFellow, do you have any advice?

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  27. There is no procedure except to just do it. Just make sure that your future career interests do not intersect with the agency you are backing out on before you potentially burn that bridge.

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  28. @11:22PM. I am in the same position.

    I do know that if you verbally accept an offer with Agency X they will most likely "accept you off the PMF system." I think means removing you from consideration with agencies you are not already in touch with (and linking your name to the agency online). You need to make sure that the agency you are retracting your acceptance from (Agency X) removes their "hold" on you so that Agency Y can add you.

    I have been told by a few people that accepting/then rejecting offers in the PMF process is common. There is no standardized start/accept date for offers and agencies try to out-compete each other for candidates.

    Personally, I have verbally accepted a position at a great agency, but only at GS-9. I received an offer yesterday for my dream agency at GS-12. In my mind, there is no choice that I should take more money and my dream job.

    The phone call to the place I verbally accepted a week ago telling them I am backing out is going make for a fun afternoon.

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  29. Thanks for the feedback, folks (on the Agency X/Agency Y predicament)!

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  30. By reaching out to some contacts, I was able to line up two interviews at the national park service. One of them went especially well, and they are now in the midst of checking references. We're due to have a phone call tomorrow, so here's hoping I might have an offer at the end of that call.

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  31. I'm in the process of creating a position within an agency, that will become my PMF position. Has anyone else done this, or identified a job from usajobs that was then converted into a PMF position? Any hints?

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  32. Is anyone struggling with the decision to move to DC for a PMF position? My family lives on the east coast and I'm trying to decide if it's worth being away from them four or five days a week, if I take a position in DC.

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  33. Are you talking about family as in a spouse and children? Speaking personally, it is not at all worth it to be away from your family in that situation. Are they not able to move with you?

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  34. @10:13, my wife and daughter would be able to move to DC in June of 2012, because of my wife's job. The position I'm hoping to be offered would start in September, so we'd be a commuter-family for 10 months. The PMF opportunity is such an incredible one, it seems crazy to not take it, but I'm struggling with the decision. (and yes, I'm looking for local PMF opportunities, and have some good leads, but nothing solid yet.)

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  35. That is just a really tough decision, but somewhat helped by the fact that your wife and daughter can move in June of next year. You could try to see if the agency would allow you to work 4 day weeks so that you have three day weekends and see if you can do a developmental assignment with an agency where you currently live, giving your 4-6 months at home.

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  36. @10:58. Agreed, excellent advice.

    Also, keep in mind, some people who do rotations and end up staying in that office. In fact, a PMF in my office started at a different office and ended up staying in my office because he like it so much - so it's possible. Of course, they wanted him to stay and they worked out the funding, but the point is, it's possible.

    Poss scenario, you do your 4-6 month rotation and 4 months into it (January), everything goes well, they like you and there's funding, by the time 6 months rolls around (July) (10 months total), you may be able to negotiate staying in that office. This way, you can move back with your family instead of them moving to DC.

    In virtue that this possibility exists and the PMF is a great opportunity, it seems a commuter-family is a good decision (just based on what you've shared).

    Good luck.

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  37. In case anyone is looking for hope, I received a job offer today from an interview I did at the job fair in April, even though I have had absolutely zero contact from that office over the last five weeks.

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  38. @11:43: Me too guys. There is still hope available.

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  39. Great to hear positive news, @11:43 and @1:26!

    I wonder if the approval process generally takes longer for those that will be getting the larger salaries. For those that are just starting to get offers, are they at the GS-11 or 12 level?

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  40. I don't think you are going to find very many people get offers at GS-12.

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  41. Anyone else heard from IRS about the tax law specialist position? I believe it's the only position IRS is seeking to fill...

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  42. Any worries that if you put off your start date too long budget issues may cut your position? Or would you say that once you get your written offer you're secure in your position?

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  43. New USAID position posted for those interested.

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  44. I think you can feel fairly safe with a position once you have received the official offer, have been entered into their HR system, have received the paperwork to complete, and have a firm starting date. I personally would not feel completely safe with anything short of that.

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  45. To the questions about x or y, I found that it was generally accepted that a candidate would be receiving multiple offers. I had said I'd move forward to getting tentative offer letters from a few agencies before I chose one. One even asked if I'd come do a rotation with them after I settled on a different agency. Until I got something in writing with the terms, I didn't treat it as a formal offer. We read the horror story on here about the person who was verbally offered the job and then HR said no there was a vet on the list who had to be offered it first. I think the same goes for you - there are other agencies on your list that might be chosen for some other reason. If after you get the tentative offer letter and moved through the clearance process to get to a formal offer, then that's when the agency might rightfully harbor some ill will I would think since you've presumably used significantly more man power.

    Would appreciate knowing if this was the wrong approach :)

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  46. @6:35 I thought firm starting dates didn't come until after the formal offer (i.e. completed security clearance, transcripts in, etc.)? Is this incorrect?

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  47. To the questions about x or y, I found that it was generally accepted that a candidate would be receiving multiple offers. I had said I'd move forward to getting tentative offer letters from a few agencies before I chose one. One even asked if I'd come do a rotation with them after I settled on a different agency. Until I got something in writing with the terms, I didn't treat it as a formal offer. We read the horror story on here about the person who was verbally offered the job and then HR said no there was a vet on the list who had to be offered it first. I think the same goes for you - there are other agencies on your list that might be chosen for some other reason. If after you get the tentative offer letter and moved through the clearance process to get to a formal offer, then that's when the agency might rightfully harbor some ill will I would think since you've presumably used significantly more man power.

    Would appreciate knowing if this was the wrong approach :

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  48. Great news! The pen that I picked up at the job fair from the Department of Commerce table has turned out to be one of my favorites, and has worked itself into my regular pen rotation!

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  49. You are correct, with regard to starting dates, it does really depends on the agency. So that isn't necessarily needed to feel secure in the position. I would however still want the other items in place and not just the initial tentative offer. Of course nothing is really guaranteed until you actually start the position, but I think most people can fee secure once the actual HR process is moving ahead.

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  50. @7:59 - I also really enjoy my USAID tote bag! Sometimes I carry it around and pretend they offered me a job.

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  51. You should apply for the new USAID position and attach a picture of you with the tote bag.

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  52. Maybe I could wear it like a hat, to show my "fun" side.

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  53. @7:59 - I've been using my Dept of Interior stress buffalo every day waiting to hear back from some agency!

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  54. Or while wearing it out at a bar doing shots. That would definitely show your leadership potential.

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  55. speaking of bars, did anyone else feel that they were being forced to choose between agencies with the happy hours/receptions on the first day of interviews? As in, if you didn't show up, you were going to be out of the running?

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  56. Do you think they had a checklist of every PMF that they used to mark off attendance at their receptions?

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  57. Getting rip roaring drunk at an agency's reception would have been a sure fire way to guarantee an offer.

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  58. Does anyone else have a start date yet? My agency is asking that I start on June 6th or 20th. I thought I'd have more vacation time after school ended but looks like only a month off than back to the grind.

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  59. I am starting on June 20, mostly because the program needed me to get started due to an important meeting in July. While I am sure it would be nice for you to enjoy more time off, a month seems like plenty. Consider the benefit of your income starting that much sooner.

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  60. I think that the majority of the agencies sort of knew who they were interested in and if you didn't show up, then you might have gotten a black mark against you. I even had one agency that seemed to get a little irritated when I said I didn't know if I could make it because I had another committment.

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  61. I totally felt pressed to go to the mixers. The one I went to turned out to be an award ceremony also. I kindof felt like they used me as a seat filler. In hindsight, I should have had a few drinks and heckled the award recipient (whoever he was)! That might have gotten me that job! :-)

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  62. PMFFellow, are you going to start another thread related to things like housing, daycare, etc in the DC area and perhaps provide your own insight?

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  63. @11:28 I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt like that! It actually turned me off to a few of the agencies. Like they were saying "choose us before we even give you a hint if we'll give you a job".

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  64. Thanks, all, for the commuter-family advice. I'll let you know what we decide!

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  65. Great news! Today I accepted a position at the National Park Service. It was completely serendipitous - I was about to accept a permanent position at the non-profit where I've been working when I received an unsolicited request to come in to the NPS and interview for this. We hit it off, and before I knew it they were offering me the chance to come in...as a GS-11! That was completely unexpected. Asking about it hadn't even crossed my mind. So, if the paperwork moves quickly, I should be starting in DC in June. This was completely unexpected....I honestly didn't think anything would come of the PMF program for me. So, I guess to all those still looking and hoping, it can happen when you least expect it. Keep following up with contacts, reaching out, doing anything you can to get yourself out there. Good luck!

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  66. Congrats, 4:55!

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  67. Has anyone started a security clearance and actually heard something back? I went in about four weeks ago, and still have not heard anything. I know they said the process may take awhile, but I am still a little surprised.

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  68. at 8:39, the length varies depending on a lot of things. The higher level ones are more in depth, so they take longer (drug testing and polygraphs, if required, add more steps). Can depend on how many people your investigator currently has on his/her plate, and what order they decide to do them in. If they get "priority cases" they will put their other work on hold to do that priority ASAP. Then after the investigator finishes, they submit the report to someone else, who has the final call on whether or not the clearance will be granted, and your file can sit on that person's desk (/in the "to do" pile) for literally months. Your office can probably push from their end, to be the "squeaky wheel" if you will, but otherwise it will get done whenever the security people feel like it, which could be anywhere from a couple months to over a year. Hopefully in the PMF position, you won't experience the extreme high end of the wait times. A month is not nearly long enough for you to have any reason to worry, IMO.

    If there is a date your future supervisor wants you to start, you should check in a few weeks before that date, to let them know you are still waiting on the clearance, and they can push from their end to get your file looked at.

    I'm not a finalist, just following this for next year, but I have gone through the clearance process a couple times at various levels. I had to send a grumpy email a couple weeks ago because it was the middle of May and my clearance for the summer wasn't finished yet. Three days after I sent the email my clearance was magically finished (I had called a couple weeks prior and found out my paperwork was in the "to be looked at" pile.) Hope something in there was helpful.

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  69. The security clearance process is bizarre. One thing that doesn't help is that they contract it to retired security personnel who like to take their time. it took me 4 months to get my clearance, but next to no one from my past was contacted. Also, they were stuck in a cold war mentality. They asked me numerous questions about my one week in Russia but hardly anything about my time in Pakistan or the Middle East.

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  70. The PMF website is down! Maybe they are posting the list!

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  71. Just when I had some time this weekend to check the PMF site and apply for one or two of the latest postings, the @#*& thing is down.

    Hopefully because they are busy this long weekend posting lots more jobs. Ha!

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  72. The PMF Facebook page is now asking (begging) for current PMFs to ask their agencies to hire PMFs. This is not a good sign.

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  73. It's the economy. PMF finalists still have a better chance at employment than others.

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  74. Begging on facebook isn't a good sign

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  75. Not to mention kind of a waste of time. It is not as if PMFs are in any sort of position to get their agencies to hire additional PMFs/

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  76. @12:10 PM - It's been known to work in the past. I was recruited by a former PMF.

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  77. I have no doubt there are a few situations where a PMF could actually have that influence, but I am willing to bet those situations are rare, especially given the current economic situation.

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  78. it looks bleak guys

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  79. At what point do we start jumping off bridges?

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  80. This program has been going on for 34-years and they want people to start advertising it to agencies? Maybe they don't want it.

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  81. No, they want current PMFs to encourage their agencies to hire new fellows.

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  82. @4:57 PM ... Yes I get it.

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  83. Re: clearance--I was contacted by my agency last week and they said my clearance came through. (I had yet to be contacted by any investigators, nor had my friends or family). A few days later, an investigator called me and scheduled a meeting with me for tomorrow. He also spoke with my neighbors and asked me for more references. Are there different levels to the clearance? Do I have to be doing this if my clearance already came through? (I'm sure the answer is "yes, because they said so...). Clearance level is supposed to be top secret. Thanks.

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  84. You simply do what they ask you to do without questioning it. Top secret is not really all that high as far as security clearances go, but they will certainly put some effort into making sure there is nothing in your past to cause concern. Including what you post on the internet. :)

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  85. I wouldn't keep saying we are in a better off position of being hired through PMF. Maybe in years past, but not many of us have been hired, and very few positions are being posted on PPS. I don't see how this is any different than applying for the typical job that has 100 applicants for one position, except that the competition is much tougher in this arena.

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  86. You still have access to positions that others do not, so you are in fact better off.

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  87. only about 100 people have been hired through pmf this year. There is still 750 pmf's applying to any new position. Oh and by the way, new positions are not being posted. We are not better off this year it seems

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  88. I would say PMFs are theoretically better off in any year, but this year tends more toward theory than reality.

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  89. Whether you want to believe it or not, PMFs are still better off no matter how you look at it.

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  90. I would say there are substantially more than 100 PMFs who have accepted a position. I say this because I have accepted a position and my name has yet to show up on the PMF website. This is about a week after the formal/written offer and almost three weeks after the verbal offer. I have not sent PMF a notification myself because I was curious as to how long it would take them to get the information before I sent it to them. I am sure there are others who have not notified PMF for one reason or another.

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  91. You are requested by the PMF program to notify them when you accept a position. Is it that hard to follow a simple request now that you have entered grown up world?

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  92. Hi everyone -- I have had 5 offers, and not because I am unbelievably awesome, but because I have good grades, a specific interest/passion, and I've taken the time to network. If you reach out to current PMFs, tell them where you want to be, and ask for suggestions and contacts it will absolutely make a difference. When you have people in the agencies pulling for you, your name will be the first mentioned when a new position is created.

    Also, a huge part of this process is a waiting game: waiting for the director to make the decision, waiting for HR to make the call, waiting for HR to formalize your offer, etc. If you have people pulling for you inside the agencies, they will also check in for you to keep this process moving.

    I know it seems weird or awkward, but I think it would be better to work your options than complain about the program. I think it is certainly not a perfect institution, but only minimally flawed.

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  93. @8:15 #1 - Sounds like someone's bitter!

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  94. I am a PMF finalist. I have had 12 interviews and have not been offered a position. There must be something incredibly flawed about the PMF program, OPM, and the Federal government in general. I am the greatest candidate in the world. I don't understand why anyone would not immediately hire me as a GS-12 right out of law school.

    So, I'm going to complain on this blog until I get hired.

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  95. I would also like to add that as a PMF finalist I am ENTITLED to a job. I worked hard to get into and graduate from law school and therefore expect to be given a job.

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  96. How on earth does that sound in any way "bitter"? We are asked to do a simple task upon accepting a position. If you are about to enter the professional workforce you should be able to follow simple requests.

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  97. @8:04.
    "I have not sent PMF a notification myself because I was curious as to how long it would take them to get the information before I sent it to them" -@8:04

    How exactly do you expect OPM to figure out that you've been hired by another agency - especially when the agency doesn't have to clear it through them. Do you expect OPM to run your name against a match of new hires on a daily basis on the off chance you got a job?

    Why don't you just follow simple instructions instead of being a jerk. Take some personal initiative. You're going to be a joy to work with. I envy your future coworkers.

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  98. Sadly enough some people honestly seem to believe they are in fact entitled to a job.

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  99. From the memo to finalists:
    "Once you accept an appointment offer from a participating agency, the Agency PMF Coordinator will update your status via the “Agency System for Automated Processing (ASAP)”. This online system provides a means for agencies to enter a Finalist’s appointment, employment information, and Entry on Duty (EOD) start date."
    AND
    "once you accept an appointment you are encouraged to send an email to pmf@opm.gov, with the subject of “2011 PMF Appointment”, containing the following information"
    So not following an encouragement = "jerk" and yet what the agency is required to do and hasn't yet done = ???

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  100. How hard is it for you to simply do what you are asked to do and not worry about what someone else is supposed to do? In case you were not aware, that will be expected of you in grown up world.

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  101. @9:52 Sounds to me like you're extremely worried about what someone else was supposed to do.

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  102. During the entire process it has taken to become a finalist, OPM, our respective schools and alumni have pumped us up with so much elitist BS about this program. When you throw in the assessments that we had to undergo, the tiny percentage of finalists chosen, and consider the other outstanding candidates who didn't make it, it should come as no surprise that many of us feel that we are "entitled" to a job. Obviously, our expectations have turned out to be loftier than they should be, but if this program wasn't so selective and the hype machine was toned down, then you wouldn't be hearing all the complaints that you do on this blog.

    As for PMF's being in a better situation than normal applicants, that is only true if there are jobs available. If there are no jobs being posted and no agencies are hiring, then this whole program becomes no different than any other employment opportunity in the working world.

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  103. Worried? No. Just pointing out the lack of personal responsibility from someone about to join the real world.

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  104. Some great examples of the entitlement culture that is present among so many young people today.

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  105. So has the bulk of the hiring already been done for the year? Or are we looking forward to more more being posted in the summer or fall? I am not trying to be snarky here, but have the majority of placements been finalized in years past around this time?

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  106. I believe that PMFs have continued to be hired throughout the year in the past. Given likely impact the current economic situation and recent budget issues have had, I would guess that positions will continue to be posted throughout the year as opposed to more being posted upfront.

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  107. The only thing I know for sure is that few, if any, jobs will be posted in the future unless the clowns in Congress get a 2012 budget approved before October 1.

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  108. The economy and the lack of any sort of reasonable governance from Congress is where blame lies for the current low level of hiring for PMFs. The blame does not lie with the PMF program, as some people keep attempting to do.

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  109. im puzzled by how so many posters (9:05, 9:13) are missing the point. its not a matter of automatic entitlement to a job.

    candidates invested considerable time/money to become finalists, and made that investment based upon the high placement rates being touted. when (without notice) the placement rates suddenly plummet, we're certainly "entitled" to offer criticism about the declining value of this program.

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  110. The problem is that the program is not to blame. They cannot force agencies to hire.

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  111. @6:35/re: clearance

    they might've given you an interim clearance. Have you started working yet? Perhaps they meant that they started the process when they said it came through? Is it possible that your suitability was completed, but not your security clearance? Different agencies have different guidelines for suitability, and it is unrelated to the security clearance process. Your TS is not finished until you talk to an investigator, they talk to all the other people, write the report, and send the report in for adjudication (but some places will allow you to work with interim clearance).

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  112. @9:59 and @10:56, I don't understand your critiques about either the "elitism BS" or the "declining value of this program"

    No where, no where, does it say that as a finalist you will become a PMF. The Finalist stage is just one (albeit the last) of many stages to becoming a PMF. That so few finalists are able to become PMFs speaks to what I would consider a rise in value of the program, making it indeed, elite.

    While the placement rate for finalists will be lower than last year (likely) I see no evidence that it will be dramatically so.

    I understand that most people invested substantial time (and possibly money) to get to this stage, but that does not entitle you to a position.

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  113. I need advice on a completely different topic.

    Are benefits like Family Medical Leave available during the PMF term? I am family planning and wondering if becoming pregnant during my PMF commitment would be frowned upon, require taking "undesirable" leave, or affect in any way completing the PMF program or converting into a permanent position. Thank you!

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  114. And as for the hype: as a PMF, I am extremely pleased to see OPM's PMF office do its best to make the program as attractive as possible in order to attract the best/most candidates possible.

    The marker of any exclusive organization is as much about the quality of those excluded as those accepted.

    I will give you this little ray of hope in an otherwise negative thread: My office is still sitting on a PMF position that we'll be re-advertising - so, there are still jobs out there.

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  115. @12:12, yes you are entitled to the same protections as other federal employees when it comes to leave. I would not expect it to impact your converting, although they may delay it for the amount of time that you were LWOP.

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  116. You will be a federal employee and will receive all of the benefits as such.

    As far as having a child, no one can legally hold that against you and it likely will not be an issue most places. Of course there are some people out there who may not appreciate you taking a lot of leave during the program, but in all likelihood you should be fine.

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  117. @12:12 PM - For purposes of benefits, PMFs are considered regular federal employees. The only differences are the fact that we are Excepted Service and that we are mandated to meet certain requirements before conversion to Competitive Service. That means you get to take leave just like any other federal employee, including family medical leave.

    Unless I am missing something...

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  118. @12:10 - Of course finalists are not guaranteed a position, and of course spending time and money does not equal entitlement; we all know that. My point was simply that with all the hype and selectivity involved with this program, we have developed a certain expectation. The reality, however, is that it's just as difficult to get a job through this program than it is anywhere else.

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  119. And that reality is not the fault of the PMF program.

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  120. PMF Facebook page telling Fellows to inform their managers that "PMF is a great opportunity to hire in lieu of FCIP." Now they have to find reasons to hire us. Great.

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  121. If it opens up some more positions, then yes, it would be great.

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  122. RE: reporting appointment to OPM

    I don't know if anyone else is in the same position, but I accepted an oral offer a week after the job fair. I have not notified OPM of my status, however, because I have yet to receive a formal, written offer. My agency's HR office just contacted me for the first time last week for missing information. I feel like notifying OPM prior to receiving a formal offer is tantamount to counting your eggs before they are hatched.

    Of course, now that OPM has sent an e-mail specifically seeking status, I suppose I will go ahead and report and hope that HR doesn't pull the rug from beneath my feet.

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  123. People who expect jobs to be handed to them don't bother with the PMF application process. To become a finalist you have to be educated, disciplined, and dedicated.

    There are finalists checking the website three or four times a day for new job postings. They have recently graduated, and are now faced with the daunting task of figuring out how to pay back 10's, or 100's of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Many have been in school for their entire lives, hoping to pursue a career in public service. This is understandably a frustrating and extremely stressful position to be in (not everyone has the luxury of spending post-graduation days in Cancun on Daddy's credit card).

    I say we let people be frustrated without giving them a lecture on "entitlement."

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  124. If people do not want a lecture on "entitlement", then they shouldn't act like they are entitled. Being frustrated in understanding, but not an excuse. Unfortunately they are by far from alone. More and more young people (and even some older people who have no excuse) are part of the growing entitlement culture in our society.

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  125. Sorry buddy, but its the older generation that has an entitlement culture. From a history of protected union jobs, social security payments, and expanded medicare benefits, all while being the largest anti-tax generation in history, today's "older" generation has the biggest sense of entitlement our nation has ever seen. Young people today simply want a legitimately fair chance and opportunity to work our butts off doing something we love. We don't want entitlements, we want sufficient opportunity. The rub with the PMF program this year is that there doesn't seem to be sufficient opportunity to cover its high claims. People can legitimately be angry about that.

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  126. @6:46 Thank you for finally saying that. The last two generations have consumed and borrowed unlike anything the world has ever seen. From not worrying about future energy resources to a government debt that will begin to go in to default in August unless they raise the ceiling (again).

    But we can always blame someone else right?

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  127. You are not understanding what is meant by an entitlement culture between the older generation and the younger generation. They are two very different issues. With regard to the younger generation, it has to do with the sense of entitlement that comes from expecting everything to be available right away. Nice housing, nice car, higher salary, fancy vacations, immediate high responsibility in workplace, immediate respect in the workplace. All things that far too many in the younger generation do not understand that they have to be earned. You can argue against it until you are blue in the face, but having made the transition it is quite clear that it is taking place.

    People of course can be upset about the lack of opportunities this year, but that is not the fault of the PMF program.

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  128. "Nice housing, nice car, higher salary, fancy vacations, immediate high responsibility in workplace, immediate respect in the workplace..." Yes, thats why I went through a year long process to work for the federal government at a GS-9, because its such an immediate process that showers me with money and respect...

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  129. No one said ALL young people fit the profile.

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  130. @7:02 - I want to be filthy rich. Working for the federal government and making $51K a year in an overpriced city like DC should be the quickest way to get there.

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  131. It is amusing that people are conveniently focusing only on the salary aspect of the comments above, when they are dead on with regard to most of the other items.

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  132. @7:34 that's why you should get a fed gov jerb in ARE COUNTRY where the rent is $500/month for a nice 1 bedroom.

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  133. Are you drunk or did you type that out on your "smart" phone?

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  134. Whoever wrote about being a jerk for not sending the stuff about getting an offer from an agency-- technically, until you pass clearance, they are all TENTATIVE OFFERS, so you have not actually accepted an offer-- that is what I was told by the PMF coordinator at my agency. SO, anyone without prior clearance could be waiting to write them.

    Also, there are a lot of jobs still out there that are being filled for PMF. And yes, I'd rather be a PMF competing against 800 people rather than 1,000's of people (many jobs on USAjobs get thousands of applicants).

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  135. The problem is that person did not say they were waiting to send the PMF program information on the position they accepted until it is offical. They said they were "curious as to how long it would take them to get the information before I sent it to them". I would not personally call that being a "jerk", but it does show a lack of ability to follow simple requests.

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  136. Thank you to the people who are calling out baby boomers. They are seriously the most selfish people in the history of the United States.

    Lowest tax burden/highest level of benefits/huge debt/plan to work until they die.

    Seriously baby boomers... get out of the way.

    I'll just leave this here: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-plan-to-work-into-their-70s-or-later-2011-05-17

    Also, 1/4 of all Feds could retire tomorrow if they wanted to. Most are on CSRS and would get approx 80% of their current salary, plus they don't have to pay payroll taxes and the standard deduction for elderly is higher than ours. But they don't because, come on, why would you retire when you can retire in place at your Fed job, do an hour of work a day, socialize and get STEP increases just for sticking around. Federal agencies are beginning to look more and more like retirement homes.

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  137. One thing this blog has provided is a sense that the PMF assessment process lets through some really ignorant people.

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  138. Though poorly written, he has a point. Baby boomers terk mir jerb!

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  139. There are plenty of people who would love nothing more than to retire now or in the near future, but the recession hit their retirement accounts really hard and thus they cannot afford to retire.

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  140. Today's whipper-snappers, with their internets and their walky-talky phones and their baggy pants, are ruining the real America that the older generation helped build. Kids these days want a fancy house an a rap music concert to go with it just for going to college! Fiddlesticks! They run around complaining about everything, like they deserve something better than what they've got. We of the older generation, on the other hand, were always worse off and never complained about anything!

    Who left the damn window open, and why isn't the Tee-Vee showing that Matlock character anymore???

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  141. Boo hoo, poor baby boomers who are crappy investors. You had your opportunity, we want ours, time to move on!

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  142. This blog has really gotten out of hand. Are these really the things we want next year's PMF hopefuls reading as they explore the program?

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  143. Yes, it is all just because they were bad investors. Another fine example of ignorance on display.

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  144. Shove it up your ass!

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  145. There you go folks. A potential future co-worker for some lucky PMF. What a fine example you are for all of us.

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  146. Eh. Maybe it is bad investing. I for one saw the writing on the wall and go into oil while it was cheap, then started shorting when the market started turning, and sold most of my oil interest before it dropped a while back. You can't place the blame entirely on that generation and bad investing. All you can really do is say that losing retirement was sort of avoidable.

    Other than that, there is a difference between feeling entitled and feeling the pressure of mounting debt with no job prospects. PMF was advertised as a means to alleviate some of that burden with a higher probability of success with no guarantee. However, the probability of success is at par with, and actually less successful for me than finding a job on my own. Considering the budget, I think the least that PMF could do would to allow us another year to get a PMF job considering the federal government didn't deliver because of the budget mess. But, we all know that won't happen.

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  147. Next year's PMF hopefuls should be reading all of this so that their expectations for future employment through this program will more closely resemble reality.

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  148. Maybe the economy and budget situation will be in a little better shape then it is for this year's class.

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  149. I'm not some brat who feels entitled to a job. I was a marine for six years. I went to good schools and worked hard. I'm about to start a family. I simply wanted to continue my public service, and I believed the PMF program was the best means to securing a position. I don't blame the program, I understand the budget situation. But while I've been working my heart out doing all the right things — networking, interviewing, calling coordinators — I've been met by silence.

    Recently, I've been offered a competitive appointment in the private sector, which I will soon accept. Not to sound arrogant, but I feel that if the PMF program does not open doors for people like me or my well-qualified peers, then it is a shame. We should be doing all we can to get idealistic, intelligent people in our government, instead of frustrating them. I've never felt entitled to anything, but I do feel let down.

    And to the people who continue to spout the mantra, just work harder and you'll get a PMF position, I would point out that they've only posted openings for about a third of the PMF class, and they don't seem in a hurry to post more. Working hard wont make 500+ jobs appear tomorrow on the PPS. In the meantime, people will be called elsewhere.

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  150. The PMF program cannot force agencies to post positions.

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  151. @5:23 ... Thank you.

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  152. Thank you for your service 5:23. I think it is quite clear that not all PMFs are fresh out of school with little or no experience, but I would imagine that most fit that profile and therefore many of them are part of that entitlement culture. Fortunately some professional experience will cure that in at least some of them.

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  153. 6:47....begone you troll

    I don't think agencies are looking to advertise jobs on PMF anymore. I'm looking at the USAJOBS website and I see jobs being posted that potentially could be great for PMF hires. Is OPM doing enough to get the word out?

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  154. Troll? No, just the truth. It is something quite obvious to most of those who have spent time in the workforce.

    It is not as simple as just switching a regular position to a PMF position. In some cases it can be done and maybe that should be better advertised, but often there are reason why they cannot do so.

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  155. I think PMF/OPM is scared b/c their budget comes from the fees the agencies pay when they hire a PMF.

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  156. @ 7:10 No, not truth, just outdated ideas. Ive been in the workforce for a number of years, and youre just off base - young people today dont want entitlements, they want opportunities to do meaningful work, almost to a fault. Might want to pick up a copy of any academic business journal in the last 5 years and take a read through. Today's generation is not a group of mortgage bankers from 2005, or free love brats of 1968 - paradigms have changed, as have this generation's expectations. It would do you well to keep up.

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  157. I have nothing to keep up on. I noticed it a bit when I was working on my masters, I really started to pick up on in through several years of working during interaction with students and new hires, and it became patently obvious when I went back to get my PhD. It was amazing how easy it was to tell the difference between graduate students who had prior work experience and those who came straight from an undergraduate program, especially when working as a TA.

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  158. Up to 154 total PMF hires now.

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  159. I love how the PMF hires have suddenly jumped from 118 yesterday to 157 currently. Nothing like a little survey to light a fire under people.

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  160. OPM sent out a status update survey to everyone on Wednesday.

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  161. Good for them. Of course that wouldn't have been necessary if people just followed directions.

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  162. I assume that survey must not have gone to those who already reported that they accepted a position.

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  163. OSD did a fine job in selecting its group. 3/5 are vets. 2 of 5 are Ivy League. As an Ivy League Vet, I'm especially pleased. Although I wonder why all 5 weren't vets. I think they wanted to seem fair and give hope to non-vets that they too can make the OSD cut.

    Glad I didn't apply, b/c the vets they selected are SUPER impressive.

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  164. I think things may be moving a bit more now. I just got a call today asking if I was still interested (had received a tentative offer before). I had accepted another job in the non-profit sector, but was told that the PMF process could be expedited for waiting finalists.

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  165. Re: Security clearance

    I got an offer pending Top Secret clearance. I was told by PMF from my school from last year who also needed a TS clearance that the process would take a long time and one wouldn't be able to work until it was nearly completed. She had to wait several months before she was able to begin working b/c her clearance was taking so long. With this in mind, I steeled myself for a tortuously long wait. I've traveled abroad extensively and listed numerous foreign contacts.

    Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised that my "interim clearance" was processed yesterday, after about two weeks after I submitted it. My supervisor emailed and asked if I wanted to start working on June 20th.

    The moral of the story is that depending on the agency, your interim clearance may come through quickly allowing you to start working while it's being completed.

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  166. Interim clearances should never take more than a month or two. The interim clearance is essentially a thorough credit and criminal background check. Keep in mind that getting an interim TS does not guarantee you'll get a full TS.

    Full TS clearances can take as little as 2 months (that's how long mine took when I did an internship that required it, but I have very little travel and few foreign contacts) and probably up to a year or year and a half depending on how backlogged the investigating agency is and your foreign travel/contacts.

    There are also some positions where you cannot work until you have a full TS. There may be other reasons for this, but the one I'm aware of is that if your position requires access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) then you must have a full TS. I doubt very many PMF positions require SCI access though. It's usually only handled in intel agencies or by more senior employees/officials.

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  167. I know that people think top secret clearance is something to brag about, but it really is not that big of a deal considering how many people have it. Sure, it is a process to get approved, but as just noted, SCI is really where things start to get interesting and it is likely that few if any PMFs will be in line for that.

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  168. Anyone with a security clearance worth talking about (SCI), does not talk about it.

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  169. my mobile contract is up this month, and i'm considering my options. in general, is a gov-issued blackberry pretty standard (i'll be at State)? or is it possible to get credits toward a personal phone bill?

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  170. I think you need to plan on keeping your own phone.

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  171. @8:23 - agreed.

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  172. 854,000 people hold top-secret clearances.

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  173. @12:40 How do you know the backgrounds of the OSD PMFs? I'm curious what I was up against.

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  174. SCI isn't a security clearance level, fyi. It's a type of information to which one is granted access. You just need a TS to be eligible for SCI access.

    @8:23/10:30 -- I disagree. I have SCI access and I talk about it. It's fun.

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  175. Then either your level of SCI is not worth talking about or you don't have the professional sense to not talk about it.

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  176. 12:01, again. I was mistaken in my last post. Not all SCI requires a TS. Some of it is at the Secret level. For practical purposes, though, you need a TS because such a small percentage of SCI is classified at the Secret level.

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  177. I guess I should clarify. I don't go blabbing to everyone and their dog about SCI or my access to it. Clearly, I don't talk about the details of any SCI outside of a SCIF or to anyone without proper clearance/access. However, on occasion I'll explain SCI access and some basic information to trusted family member or close friend. It's not like the fact that SCI exists is classified. You'd be surprised what you can find on the internet (Wikipedia has some pretty good info about it). If you pay attention you can even find the the types of SCI that exist on the internet. I've also been given unclassified informational documents that contain such details.

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  178. You just explained exactly what I was talking about with regard to people with access to information beyond the top secret clearance that so many have. People with a high level of access don't (or at least shouldn't) talk much about it. While some people with top secret clearance will talk about it to anyone who will listen to try to make themselves look "cool", or to impress chicks :).

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  179. I guess we're in agreement then. I though you were saying that people with SCI access don't EVER talk about it to anyone.

    I would also venture to guess that most people don't really care about security clearances, SCI, etc. It can be an interesting topic of conversation, but for many I'm guessing it's something they forget about rather quickly after the convo.

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  180. @6:48 - everyone I know with a govt issued Blackberry has as personal phone as well, so they carry two.

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  181. @11:50 - their profiles are public on LinkedIn. I looked up a bunch of people from last year's class to see what background the people at my dream agency had. I think it worked b/c I highlighted some experiences and interest that some folks had on their LinkedIn profile.

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  182. WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?!

    Most. frustrating. process. ever.

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  183. Some agencies are just really, really slow when it comes to hiring.

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  184. @ June 3 12:40PM/June 4 11:50AM: In regards to the OSD process, about 200 people applied for the 5 (or 7) slots. Half of the applicants were Vets. OSD interviewed 13 people; about half of those interviewed were vets. Some of the vets were impressive, some of the non-vets were also very impressive. I was in the room and I would say it was fairly clear who was going to make the cut regardless of Vet Preference.

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  185. I got a tentative offer from an agency 3 weeks ago. I sent in the acceptance and other documents and still haven't been notified to do the background check. It's frustrating, because I have to plan to move, but can't be too serious until it's official. I am excited, but want it to be certain! I know it's agency specific, but for those who have received offers, how long did it take before you received your official start date?

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  186. I would send a short follow up e-mail just to ask if any further information is needed, which should initiate a response as to where things stand. It could also prompt them to move things along or allow you to see if there is a possible disconnect between the hiring official and HR.

    I was told by HR after waiting a while that they were waiting for some additional paperwork from the hiring official before they requested my transcripts, but found out later that the hiring official said they were waiting for me to send my transcripts to HR.

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  187. I might have to do that (again)! Thank you.

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  188. I would recommend proactive measures in favor of sitting by passively, for reasons mentioned by @6:28 AM. One or more parties may be waiting on information from you, but have not effectively communicated their needs to you, probably because they are under the impression that someone else has already contacted you. The trick is to not seem to pushy.

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  189. That's my goal, pmf fellow. When I previously inquired, I wad told that I would be notified when I was put into the system for the background check. The HR manager also told me that she would keep me informed of everything I needed to know That was one week after I sent the original paper work. Two weeks later and I'm a little concerned. I'm going to try to send another polite, not pushy email.

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  190. You should call them up and start screaming about how important you are and how lucky they are that you have even considered giving them your extraordinary services and that you are this close to taking your services elsewhere. That would definitely get their attention.

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  191. And, in a strange and not-at-all related set of coincidences, @7:00 AM would like to announce that he or she has suddenly been made an offer for @6:57 AM's position.

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  192. Oh, I failed to mention, i've already tried that. Didn't work ;)

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  193. Got an out-of-the-blue tentative offer today from an agency I spoke with at the job fair and then didn't hear a peep from afterwards. Don't give up hope, folks. (Although I certainly had.)

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  194. I also got contacted from an agency I hadn't spoken to in about a month with a tentative offer, so there's still some action. Also, I'm negotiating salary and it looks like while they're going to offer GS-9, it will be in the higher steps based on my previous experience.

    How does coming in above Step 1 affect future promotion to GS-11? Is it possible to carry higher steps with you?

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  195. You'll want to look here: http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/html/promotion.asp

    Example (all salaries in DC locality):

    Let's say you started at GS-9 Step 6 ($60,232). When you get promoted to GS-11, you increment your current step by 2 (GS-09 Step 8 = $63,673), then find the first step in GS-11 that meets or exceeds that number, which leaves you with GS-11 Step 2 ($64,548). After that, unless you are getting regular in-grade step increases, you will be promoted whole grades, and the next (for your second year) would be GS-12 Step 1.

    Hope that helps. I didn't know this until it was time for me to get a grade increase last year.

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  196. Thanks pmfellow, that is super helpful!

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  197. @6:14 - if your position requires a background check, you can't get a start date until the background check is completed.

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