How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

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CoastLawyer2030
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

anon_investor wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:05 pm
finite_difference wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:50 am
Have you requested a WFH/flexible work schedule? It seems silly for a City to lose a lawyer that’s doing their job over a schedule issue, so I would think they would want to try to accommodate you.
Not sure why this made me laugh. I used to work for a state government, flexibility is not something that local/state governments are known for... :beer
Yes. The odds of being able to WFH are basically zero. We have been back full time in person since last April (after the initial 15 days).

Government runs on a different wavelength.
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CoastLawyer2030
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

tashnewbie wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:00 pmETA: I just don't see why you need 2 jobs if you think $100k HHI is enough for you and your spouse (only you can determine that). If you decide to leave gov't job, I definitely wouldn't leave until probably the end of 2022 or early 2023, so that you can ensure your wife and new baby are well, you pay back the CARES Act 401k loan, and you have more time to plan.
After all of these posts I think I most agree with this (which is a combination of yours and other posts).

1. Pay off student loans

2. Pay back CARES Act distribution

3. Make sure wife/kids are healthy

4. Evaluate situation at end of 2022/beginning of 2023
UpperNwGuy
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Follow the money, or follow your personal desires. As is often the case with jobs, you have to make a choice, because you can't have it all. (By the way, 8-4 sounds like a pretty relaxed schedule to me. I retired after 40 years of 8-6:30.)
Last edited by UpperNwGuy on Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by anon_investor »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:04 pm
SrGrumpy wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:58 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:39 am
It’s not getting out of bed, it’s being told to be somewhere for a certain period of time “just because that’s the way we do it.” I will be done with my work today by 2:00 but will have to sit here until 4:00. It’s dumb.
It's not dumb, it's outrageous. How dare they pay you a ton of money to sit at your desk twiddling your thumbs for 2 hours.
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:39 amOf course I’m well aware it could be worse, but I would never let it get worse, because I value my time and flexibility over almost everything. That is why I turned down a big law offer years ago.
C'mon, admit it. You're kinda lazy. Maybe law isn't for you. Or working in general. The other law thread seems to indicate that 101% of lawyers hate their jobs.
The happiest lawyers I know are the ones with part time practices making $50-75k a year.

Not sure why law has to be a “nose to the grindstone” type of job. It doesn’t.

Since I prefer golf, hanging with my kids, and doing work on the house over work, yes, I’m lazy. I’m utterly fine with that label.
The happiest lawyers I know are like me, in-house lawyers at big companies that make near big law money but work 9-5ish. I think all my Fed gov attorney friends put in more hours than most of my in-house lawyer friends (aside from maybe the folks in big tech).

With a kid on the way, I serious recommend you consider not changing your financial situation until you have a better picture of how your life will work with a kid. I have 3 kids now, and I can say your costs and priorities definitely change once you start having kids. I was in biglaw working insane hours for my first 2 kids, and I definitely wanted a better work/life balance. Maybe after your kid comes, you decide you would prefer a simple 8-4 job. You say your spouse makes $40k now, maybe she decides she wants to take a few years off work? Definitely do not give up the good medical insurance at least while the kid is young. I have 3 kids, and 1 of them had some serious medical issues during his first year, and luckily we only had to pay a few thousand out of pocket, the insurance covered the rest. So do not discount the good employer subsidized health insurance.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Tribonian »

I’d try to pay off the student loans while fully vesting benefits over the next 4 years then reevaluate.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by anon_investor »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:15 pm Follow the money, or follow your personal desires. As is often the case with jobs, you have to make a choice, because you can't have it all. (By the way, 8-4 sounds like a pretty relaxed schedule to me. I retired after 40 years of 8-6:30.)
I think it is all perspective. I used to work 70-100 hours a week year round (biglaw), so when I went in-house working basically a 9-5ish schedule, it was a cake walk. Before going to law school I worked for a state government and it was a regular 9-5, and yet so many of my colleagues could not stand it, thinking it was miserable. So when I read countless BH posts about people who complain about 35-45 work weeks, I understand it, but it still seems crazy to me. Although, after being 9-5ish for a few years now, I don't think I could go back to 70-100 hour weeks again. So, my plan is to get to "FI" ASAP, but everyone has different priorities.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by namajones »

Lots of jobs can be boring, government or not. Government has nothing to do with "boring," from my 45-year experience in the workforce.

That said, being unhappy comes with a cost--sometimes a very high cost.

You seem still to be young enough to recover from mistakes. Do what makes you happy.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by celia »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:05 am But again, ya, 8-4 is not my thing.
But as a taxpayer, I expect you to be available during work hours. I hate when I call a govt agency at 4:15 and no-one answers. It seems you should be taking a lunch break on your own time and then need to stay to at least 4:30.

As far as ‘boring’ find another task to do within your department. At least do some prep for the outside lawyer so we don’t have to pay them so much.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

celia wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:26 pm
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:05 am But again, ya, 8-4 is not my thing.
But as a taxpayer, I expect you to be available during work hours. I hate when I call a govt agency at 4:15 and no-one answers. It seems you should be taking a lunch break on your own time and then need to stay to at least 4:30.

As far as ‘boring’ find another task to do within your department. At least do some prep for the outside lawyer so we don’t have to pay them so much.
I am making it my career mission in government work to get rid of these outside attorneys as much as possible. Ninety percent of our most interesting cases are being handled by outside counsel. Meanwhile I am sitting here combing through public records requests to make sure we have redacted all SSNs and Driver’s License numbers.

It’s a maddening waste of government resources.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by ThankYouJack »

celia wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:26 pm
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:05 am But again, ya, 8-4 is not my thing.
But as a taxpayer, I expect you to be available during work hours. I hate when I call a govt agency at 4:15 and no-one answers. It seems you should be taking a lunch break on your own time and then need to stay to at least 4:30.

As far as ‘boring’ find another task to do within your department. At least do some prep for the outside lawyer so we don’t have to pay them so much.
Makes me think of a recent video I saw where a lady got pulled over for texting and driving and said "I pay your salary" to the police officer. That didn't go well ;)
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

anon_investor wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:15 pm
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:04 pm
SrGrumpy wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:58 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:39 am
It’s not getting out of bed, it’s being told to be somewhere for a certain period of time “just because that’s the way we do it.” I will be done with my work today by 2:00 but will have to sit here until 4:00. It’s dumb.
It's not dumb, it's outrageous. How dare they pay you a ton of money to sit at your desk twiddling your thumbs for 2 hours.
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:39 amOf course I’m well aware it could be worse, but I would never let it get worse, because I value my time and flexibility over almost everything. That is why I turned down a big law offer years ago.
C'mon, admit it. You're kinda lazy. Maybe law isn't for you. Or working in general. The other law thread seems to indicate that 101% of lawyers hate their jobs.
The happiest lawyers I know are the ones with part time practices making $50-75k a year.

Not sure why law has to be a “nose to the grindstone” type of job. It doesn’t.

Since I prefer golf, hanging with my kids, and doing work on the house over work, yes, I’m lazy. I’m utterly fine with that label.
The happiest lawyers I know are like me, in-house lawyers at big companies that make near big law money but work 9-5ish. I think all my Fed gov attorney friends put in more hours than most of my in-house lawyer friends (aside from maybe the folks in big tech).

With a kid on the way, I serious recommend you consider not changing your financial situation until you have a better picture of how your life will work with a kid. I have 3 kids now, and I can say your costs and priorities definitely change once you start having kids. I was in biglaw working insane hours for my first 2 kids, and I definitely wanted a better work/life balance. Maybe after your kid comes, you decide you would prefer a simple 8-4 job. You say your spouse makes $40k now, maybe she decides she wants to take a few years off work? Definitely do not give up the good medical insurance at least while the kid is young. I have 3 kids, and 1 of them had some serious medical issues during his first year, and luckily we only had to pay a few thousand out of pocket, the insurance covered the rest. So do not discount the good employer subsidized health insurance.
Thanks for this perspective.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by rich126 »

I can relate to this and the usual comments that come along. I originally spent 15 years in federal government and had a blast working with very sharp people doing unique technical work but I didn't want to be a government lifer and the last 5 years we had new managers yearly which slowly eroded morale and caused more and more sharp people to leave, including me.

I then returned 13 years later and eventually had a job that was boring. Partly because it seemed like no one really cared about the work getting done. I was making more than you and sure it was easy money but clock watching 8 hours a day is tough (not that I would want a job that requires me working 10, 12 hours a day either) so I left.

Right now I'm looking around again because I'm bored. Making good money and within 2 years of retirement but I'm likely to leave because I don't like boring bored. I like thinking and solving problems during my work day so I can relate to you. I never had the family situation to consider so if I screwed up, I was the only one to pay the price.

At your age you got a lot of time left to be bored/miserable. I would first trying to find some other position in the government before leaving. A lot of government jobs are tough to get and if you want to return you may have a long path back. Also I've known more than a few that thought it was greener outside of government only to regret it later. It really varies on what you like to do and the situation you end up in.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by celia »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:53 pm I am making it my career mission in government work to get rid of these outside attorneys as much as possible. Ninety percent of our most interesting cases are being handled by outside counsel. Meanwhile I am sitting here combing through public records requests to make sure we have redacted all SSNs and Driver’s License numbers.

It’s a maddening waste of government resources.
Don’t ever leave. We need more of your kind working for the public good.

Part of the problem with governments is that there is a turnover at the top whenever someone else is elected. Decisions, rationale, past ageeements, etc get lost and the newbies aren’t aware of what previously happened. I’m currently working on something with my city that happened because the later folks weren’t aware of what earlier folks did. So if you can find a way to link things over time, that might prevent future problems.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by sschoe2 »

Enjoyment and stimulation at work is a first world problem.

I guess it depends on your profession. In my profession (Chemist), most private sector companies treat their science staff so bad that people would knife each other for such a job. In my last job search I spent a lot of time targeting Fed jobs and usajobs.com because I'd had it with the low pay, no benefits, and permatemp crap in the private sector. I put in over 200 applications all over and got only about a dozen referred to hiring official and a few calls with an MSc and 5 years experience. I had some positions stop accepting after they got 75 apps, and some report they had over 1,000 applicants who met the minimum qualifications.

In short, I'd have taken it and kept it to retirement and just shut up about any downsides given my profession. Even my current job has some downsides that I gloss over because good pay and actual benefits.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by dziuniek »

I would leave once:

1. Employer contributions are vested (or close enough). Also, that's a pretty darn good match)
+
2. Student loans are paid off.

As someone mentioned prior, handcuffs get tighter. I'm in for 5.5 years now and need:

4.5 years to vest minimum pension
and

5 more years on top of that to vest retiree healthcare -> that's where the real money is at...

After that I'll be 45 with the last 15 years of work experience in state service.

The handcuffs get real tight when you have a Scarlett letter on your resume for that long. :twisted:
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Dave55 »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:50 am I initially had a much longer post typed up, but basically it comes down to this. I have two jobs -- one that is meh but very easy (City government) and one that I love (my solo practice).

The city government job pays $65,000/year; good healthcare; good benefits; $16,000 contributed by employer to retirement (already 65% vested, vests incrementally over next four years). The job is extremely easy but incredibly boring (public records requests, boring research projects, etc.). All the fun litigation stuff gets sent to insurance counsel.

I also hate, hate, hate having to show up 8-4. I never had to do that at a firm or at my private practice, and I hate it.

I also have my own solo practice, which I started two years before I accepted the city government job. When I did take the government job, I scaled my practice down so that I only accept cases that I like and clients that I like. Now I thoroughly enjoy my private practice, much more so than when it was all I was doing. Hours are only 10-15 hours per week and it makes $60-75,000/year.

Financially, our net worth is $261,000. We are 33 and have $209,000 saved for retirement, with an expected $80,000 to be invested per year as long as I'm at the City job.

On that note, we only spend about $70-75,000/year. My wife makes $40,000/year, which means at any given moment, I could probably leave the City job and we would be more than fine. I could leave today if I wanted to do so.

I go back and forth as to how long I should stay at the City government job. On one hand I hate having to show up and do boring work; on the other I will never find an easier job that effectively pays me $100,000/year (salary, health insurance, retirement) in my life.

Basically I am working the City job for the benefits and to accelerate retirement savings. But how long should I stay here?

Should I set a target asset amount? A specific date and time? My plan was to work 4-5 years, and by that time student loans will be gone and we will have well over half a million saved by age 37. My guess is we will be closer to $750,000 by then.

I guess I'm just looking for a benchmark. Any advice appreciated.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

sschoe2 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:22 pm Enjoyment and stimulation at work is a first world problem.
Thank you for summing up my quandary in a much simpler fashion than I could.

Some have asked “how can you complain that it is boring, but like that it is easy,” and the above is generally the answer. The practice of law is generally fun because someone is paying you a hefty sum to figure out a very complicated problem.

As I have alluded to in another exchange in this thread, this just isn’t the case in government work. All of the complicated litigation gets referred to outside counsel. You are left with going through public records requests, researching silly issues, or going through labor negotiations where you have a hard time paying attention because you are so taken aback that this many government resources are being used to determine if firefighters get time and a half on Columbus Day.

Private practice is not a panacea, but it is certainly more interesting than government work.

The hitch, however, is that I’m well aware this government job provides a nice spring board at a nice time in my career. Someone else has correctly mentioned that this could ultimately get leveraged into a more interesting and substantive government job.

Financially speaking, without this job, my household income is likely $100,000/year until I increase the private practice. With this job it is effectively $180,000 plus extremely generous benefits.

The question, therefore, is how long you put up with the mundane government job. I asked in my initial post whether you would use asset targets, net worth targets, financial targets (e.g., payoff student loans, vesting schedules), etc.

So, I’m well aware I’m lucky enough to be dealing with a first world problem. But those are the cards in my hand, and I’m just trying to figure it out.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

dziuniek wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:33 pm I would leave once:

1. Employer contributions are vested (or close enough). Also, that's a pretty darn good match)
+
2. Student loans are paid off.

As someone mentioned prior, handcuffs get tighter. I'm in for 5.5 years now and need:

4.5 years to vest minimum pension
and

5 more years on top of that to vest retiree healthcare -> that's where the real money is at...

After that I'll be 45 with the last 15 years of work experience in state service.

The handcuffs get real tight when you have a Scarlett letter on your resume for that long. :twisted:
In case I wasn’t being clear, the city pays all 24% of employee salary to the retirement fund. The 14% that is categorized as an employee contribution immediately vests. The 10% that is an employer contribution vests an additional 20% every two years.

Because my salary is roughly $65,000, this amounts to about $16,000/year. I have thus basically always added this amount to my salary, so stating the compensation is $65,000 is a bit of a misnomer. It’s really $65,000 plus $16,000 all employer-paid retirement contribution, for a total of $81,000. That plus platinum healthcare ($500 deductible) is a nice cushion.

I have been here a little over a year, so the 14% part of the contribution ($9,100) is fully vested, while 20% of the 10% employer contribution ($1,300) is also vested. This is already 65% vested. This will go up incrementally every February.

As I’ve said before I generally agree with you that paying off the student loans is a no-brainer.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

[quoted post removed by admin LadyGeek]

I am applying my particular job situation onto my particular job situation, and not making any general comments about government work. If you read through all my posts in this thread it is pretty clear I am talking specifically about how my own particular law department functions, which I can best summarily describe as “stimulating work gets outsourced for political reasons” while “boring work gets done in-house.” And yes, that boring work includes mind-numbing labor negotiations.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by SrGrumpy »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:53 pm I am making it my career mission in government work to get rid of these outside attorneys as much as possible. Ninety percent of our most interesting cases are being handled by outside counsel. Meanwhile I am sitting here combing through public records requests to make sure we have redacted all SSNs and Driver’s License numbers.

It’s a maddening waste of government resources.
Use your gig as a springboard for political power. Make the right political connections, run for office or work the backroom? Lot of excitement there.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by jerrysmith »

I work at a University and the fact that it's not exciting is what I like about it.
I get the in office 5 days per week problem.
It could be that once you've been there a while longer you can negotiate some remote work.
I may have missed it but are your wife's benefits, specifically insurance as good?
Kids one day?
If yes on insurance I'd pay off any debts and set a savings goal both investment and cash then dip.
But as someone that's mid forties I'd try to talk my early 30s self into staying.
Good luck
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Abe »

JoeRetire wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:58 am I don't understand why anyone would stay in a job they hate, rather than pouring all their energies into a job they love.
Some people don't have any choice.
Slow and steady wins the race.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by greg24 »

I think you should revisit the situation in a couple years. Now is a bad time for a major life change. Your perspective may change greatly after the child arrives.

As someone said earlier, maybe the side gig will either flourish or wither, and make the decision for you.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

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I removed a contentious interchange regarding government employee work ethics. As a reminder, see: General Etiquette
We expect this forum to be a place where people can feel comfortable asking questions and where debates and discussions are conducted in civil tones.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by 123 »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:12 am ... we are expecting in August...
The arrival of a child (or a 2nd child etc) can dramatically alter your, and your spouse's priorities. I would not plan to do anything different until perhaps a year after the child's birth.

A child may make the required 8 - 4 routine more intolerable, or you may find that you relish that 8 - 4 pretty much guaranteed peace and quiet.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by JoeRetire »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:05 am
JoeRetire wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:58 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:50 am I initially had a much longer post typed up, but basically it comes down to this. I have two jobs -- one that is meh but very easy (City government) and one that I love (my solo practice).

I guess I'm just looking for a benchmark. Any advice appreciated.
I don't understand why anyone would stay in a job they hate, rather than pouring all their energies into a job they love.

Find a way to enjoy every day in your life as much as you can.
This might be semantics, but I only really hate the schedule. The job is boring but tolerable. I like the people here.

But again, ya, 8-4 is not my thing.
"hate, hate, hate"
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by ThankYouJack »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:09 pm
anon_investor wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 12:05 pm
finite_difference wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:50 am
Have you requested a WFH/flexible work schedule? It seems silly for a City to lose a lawyer that’s doing their job over a schedule issue, so I would think they would want to try to accommodate you.
Not sure why this made me laugh. I used to work for a state government, flexibility is not something that local/state governments are known for... :beer
Yes. The odds of being able to WFH are basically zero. We have been back full time in person since last April (after the initial 15 days).

Government runs on a different wavelength.

I've had quite the opposite experience.

I think too many people assume the status quo (whether it's government or another big institution) but if one is an exceptional employee that will be tough to replace, exceptions can often be made. It typically won't hurt to ask and have a candid conversation with one's supervisor especially if one provides a lot of unique value and is considering leaving.

I also think times are changing (especially with COVID) and the public sector will have to continue to be more flexible to compete for personnel with the private sector.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by JoeRetire »

eye.surgeon wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:51 amThis idea that you have to love your job is a very younger generation, romantic and for most, unrealistic notion.
Yup, that's me - a very younger generation, romantic, unrealistic 67 year old. :oops:

Maybe you oldsters think it's fine to "hate, hate, hate" your job. For younger folks like me, I'd rather put my energies toward something I like doing. As a matter of fact, that's what I did over my career. IMHO, in the long run that makes for a better life and pays off financially as well.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by djpeteski »

Will you need office space and furnishings? A secretary? Phone system? I would get those kinds of things in place first. Then, I would attempt to book about 4 to 5 times the amount of work you are currently doing. Then jump ship. I think in the long run you would regret not doing it sooner.

P.S. I am an older guy (54) saying this.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by JoeRetire »

Abe wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:25 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:58 am I don't understand why anyone would stay in a job they hate, rather than pouring all their energies into a job they love.
Some people don't have any choice.
That's fair. Although I think most people have more choices than they realize. Certainly the OP does.
Sometimes it takes effort to change jobs and find a good one.
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Firemenot
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Firemenot »

djpeteski wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:03 pm Will you need office space and furnishings? A secretary? Phone system? I would get those kinds of things in place first. Then, I would attempt to book about 4 to 5 times the amount of work you are currently doing. Then jump ship. I think in the long run you would regret not doing it sooner.

P.S. I am an older guy (54) saying this.
These days there are virtual law firms you can join which are really just a bunch of solo practitioners plugging into an IT/billing infrastructure. I also know plenty of solos that just do it all themselves. There are so many options these days. You can even contract with legal secretary and paralegal services where you get just the amount of services you desire. In my view it’s never been easier than today to be a solo attorney.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by tashnewbie »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:08 pm As I have alluded to in another exchange in this thread, this just isn’t the case in government work. All of the complicated litigation gets referred to outside counsel. You are left with going through public records requests, researching silly issues, or going through labor negotiations where you have a hard time paying attention because you are so taken aback that this many government resources are being used to determine if firefighters get time and a half on Columbus Day.
This might be the case in your locality, but I know there are government attorneys who are doing more "sophisticated" legal work. I don't have direct experience, but some of my law school peers were working in state government (Attorney General's office) doing complex appellate litigation (some cases even went to SCOTUS). So I think it's just factually incorrect that all government work is uninteresting or mundane. Are there other government options in your area? Would you be willing to move to another part of your state to get access to potentially more interesting government work?

ETA: I understand not wanting to relocate and potentially leave a solid social network for a job that may not be any better (grass isn't always greener). But I think it'd be worth exploring all of your options in the places you'd be willing to live. Worst case, you just fall back on your solo work, which, as you've said, provides a lot of security. I assume you are, but definitely consult with your spouse about all this.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

djpeteski wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:03 pm Will you need office space and furnishings? A secretary? Phone system? I would get those kinds of things in place first. Then, I would attempt to book about 4 to 5 times the amount of work you are currently doing. Then jump ship. I think in the long run you would regret not doing it sooner.

P.S. I am an older guy (54) saying this.
In case I wasn't clear about this, I've had my side practice up and running for three years. I already have my website, my phone number, a virtual assistant, a secretary I pay quarterly, my office, etc. It's all set up.

I'm sitting here right now about to file something that's due today.
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vanbogle59
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by vanbogle59 »

History is full of people holding pedestrian jobs for money while the pursue their real interests.
Einstein comes to mind. George Bernard Shaw. It's a big list.
Especially if you include the ones that only kept the day job until they had enough to set out on their own.

Usually, when their stories are told, it's not boredom that was the issue. It's the pull of some other passion.

I'd stay in a "boring gov't job" forever if it gave me something else I really wanted.
I'd leave this afternoon if I didn't need it and had compelling competing interests.
In fact, at different points in my career, I've basically done both!
Carpe Diem.
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cchrissyy
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by cchrissyy »

I agree about staying where you currently are for another year or two

Question:
If you decided to build your firm full-time, do you really think it be a grind?
or
was it only a grind when you did it before due to the fact it was new?

my thinking is that any new business is hardest in the first year or two whereas growing a firm that already has established clients would not be so hard. you can perhaps get referral business from your existing clients. you can raise your rates. you can hire an assistant.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Thesaints »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:50 am I guess I'm just looking for a benchmark. Any advice appreciated.
In my opinion, the first thing you need to do is setting your sights. For some 750k NW and 70k/yr. expenses are a fortune. For others they are a pittance.
Which is the case for you ?
Clearly, by staying in city job your upside is limited, but so is your downside. Is that upside good enough for you ?
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by dcw213 »

OP, from your posts you sound like someone who enjoys your "me time" and ability to do what you want when you want to. I was the same way. Then I had kids. Your life will change tremendously and you will find that, at least for a while, your personal leisure time will likely be significantly curtailed. The fact that an 8-4 schedule is something you loathe made me chuckle. Get ready for a new world of starting your day parenting at 6am or earlier for years to come!

I would strongly suggest staying in your job for the next few years, at least until you get a handle on being a new parent. It is great but can be a shock to the system and for me and others I know, being in a known and stable work situation was very helpful.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by sschoe2 »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:08 pm
sschoe2 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:22 pm Enjoyment and stimulation at work is a first world problem.

The question, therefore, is how long you put up with the mundane government job. I asked in my initial post whether you would use asset targets, net worth targets, financial targets (e.g., payoff student loans, vesting schedules), etc.

So, I’m well aware I’m lucky enough to be dealing with a first world problem. But those are the cards in my hand, and I’m just trying to figure it out.
Until you retire. Most jobs are 90-100% mundane and don't make use of your maximum potential. As a chemist I spend a good amount of time doing technician level stuff like run an autotitrator or filling a grad cyl with powder and dividing the weight by the volume to get bulk density. However, there are times I get a challenging project to do.

I'm sure doctors don't feel very stimulated treating 100 cases of the sniffles per week or a dermatologist treating 100 cases of acne or dealing with the ridiculous amounts of paperwork. It sure isn't like House MD or Chicago Med.

From what I am told it is similar with engineers, accountants pretty much every profession you can name.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by oldfort »

JoeRetire wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:02 pm
eye.surgeon wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:51 amThis idea that you have to love your job is a very younger generation, romantic and for most, unrealistic notion.
Yup, that's me - a very younger generation, romantic, unrealistic 67 year old. :oops:

Maybe you oldsters think it's fine to "hate, hate, hate" your job. For younger folks like me, I'd rather put my energies toward something I like doing. As a matter of fact, that's what I did over my career. IMHO, in the long run that makes for a better life and pays off financially as well.
It sounds like the OP hates, hates, hates work. Some of his whining about starting at 8am reminds me of college freshman who thought it was so unfair they had to show up for an 8am class. He wants to be able to go home at 2pm. If you want a 9am-2pm job with a lunch break so you can sleep in and hit the golf course every afternoon, then you want a part-time job.
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JoeRetire
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by JoeRetire »

oldfort wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:11 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:02 pm
eye.surgeon wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:51 amThis idea that you have to love your job is a very younger generation, romantic and for most, unrealistic notion.
Yup, that's me - a very younger generation, romantic, unrealistic 67 year old. :oops:

Maybe you oldsters think it's fine to "hate, hate, hate" your job. For younger folks like me, I'd rather put my energies toward something I like doing. As a matter of fact, that's what I did over my career. IMHO, in the long run that makes for a better life and pays off financially as well.
It sounds like the OP hates, hates, hates work. Some of his whining about starting at 8am reminds me of college freshman who thought it was so unfair they had to show up for an 8am class. He wants to be able to go home at 2pm. If you want a 9am-2pm job with a lunch break so you can sleep in and hit the golf course every afternoon, then you want a part-time job.
Let's be fair. The OP has a part-time job in addition to a full-time job. The dilemma seems to be about continuing the full-time job or not.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Goal33 »

Are you asking me?

I'd say in the government position until I retire. Sounds like there's no pension?

How about you stay in until the retirement vests fully... I know it's a small number, but it's a milestone to hit. Revisit then?
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by hicabob »

sschoe2 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:11 pm
Enjoyment and stimulation at work is a first world problem....


The question, therefore, is how long you put up with the mundane government job. ....
Until you retire. Most jobs are 90-100% mundane and don't make use of your maximum potential. ...

From what I am told it is similar with engineers, accountants pretty much every profession you can name.
Try starting your own biz if you want maximum stimulation and being able to use your maximum potential!
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by dziuniek »

123 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:52 pm
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:12 am ... we are expecting in August...
The arrival of a child (or a 2nd child etc) can dramatically alter your, and your spouse's priorities. I would not plan to do anything different until perhaps a year after the child's birth.

A child may make the required 8 - 4 routine more intolerable, or you may find that you relish that 8 - 4 pretty much guaranteed peace and quiet.
+1 on waiting until after the child is born.

Those benefits might come in real handy in case something goes wrong.

a) during pregnancy - health insurance coverage
b) developmental - health insurance coverage


- I don't know OP's particular coverage in their particular state/county/town, but my state health insurance is insanely good.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by finite_difference »

oldfort wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:11 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:02 pm
eye.surgeon wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:51 amThis idea that you have to love your job is a very younger generation, romantic and for most, unrealistic notion.
Yup, that's me - a very younger generation, romantic, unrealistic 67 year old. :oops:

Maybe you oldsters think it's fine to "hate, hate, hate" your job. For younger folks like me, I'd rather put my energies toward something I like doing. As a matter of fact, that's what I did over my career. IMHO, in the long run that makes for a better life and pays off financially as well.
It sounds like the OP hates, hates, hates work. Some of his whining about starting at 8am reminds me of college freshman who thought it was so unfair they had to show up for an 8am class. He wants to be able to go home at 2pm. If you want a 9am-2pm job with a lunch break so you can sleep in and hit the golf course every afternoon, then you want a part-time job.
An 8am job potentially means waking up at 6am or earlier depending on the commute. Not everyone is a morning person. In college you can wake up at 7:45am and go in your PJs ;). I think an inflexible job schedule is absolutely a negative. I prefer not to have my schedule micromanaged assuming I am meeting all my deadlines and performing well. Is job inflexibility somewhat of a first world problem? Yes. But that’s 99% of the problems on this site.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by unclescrooge »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:13 pm
dziuniek wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:33 pm I would leave once:

1. Employer contributions are vested (or close enough). Also, that's a pretty darn good match)
+
2. Student loans are paid off.

As someone mentioned prior, handcuffs get tighter. I'm in for 5.5 years now and need:

4.5 years to vest minimum pension
and

5 more years on top of that to vest retiree healthcare -> that's where the real money is at...

After that I'll be 45 with the last 15 years of work experience in state service.

The handcuffs get real tight when you have a Scarlett letter on your resume for that long. :twisted:
In case I wasn’t being clear, the city pays all 24% of employee salary to the retirement fund. The 14% that is categorized as an employee contribution immediately vests. The 10% that is an employer contribution vests an additional 20% every two years.

Because my salary is roughly $65,000, this amounts to about $16,000/year. I have thus basically always added this amount to my salary, so stating the compensation is $65,000 is a bit of a misnomer. It’s really $65,000 plus $16,000 all employer-paid retirement contribution, for a total of $81,000. That plus platinum healthcare ($500 deductible) is a nice cushion.

I have been here a little over a year, so the 14% part of the contribution ($9,100) is fully vested, while 20% of the 10% employer contribution ($1,300) is also vested. This is already 65% vested. This will go up incrementally every February.

As I’ve said before I generally agree with you that paying off the student loans is a no-brainer.
Sounds like you need to stick it out a minimum of 4 more years until you fully vest.

Also, kids are expensive. So no one would fault you if you stayed another 20 years past that.

Also, you might enjoy this:
https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2019/0 ... e-at-work/
Last edited by unclescrooge on Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by FoolMeOnce »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:08 pm The practice of law is generally fun because someone is paying you a hefty sum to figure out a very complicated problem.

As I have alluded to in another exchange in this thread, this just isn’t the case in government work.
Please don't overgeneralize your individual experience to all government legal work. It isn't a universal truth.
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by theplayer11 »

8:00 is early?..
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by djpeteski »

CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:38 pm
djpeteski wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:03 pm Will you need office space and furnishings? A secretary? Phone system? I would get those kinds of things in place first. Then, I would attempt to book about 4 to 5 times the amount of work you are currently doing. Then jump ship. I think in the long run you would regret not doing it sooner.

P.S. I am an older guy (54) saying this.
In case I wasn't clear about this, I've had my side practice up and running for three years. I already have my website, my phone number, a virtual assistant, a secretary I pay quarterly, my office, etc. It's all set up.

I'm sitting here right now about to file something that's due today.
Really you have a couple of choices and they are all pretty good ones. It really depends upon the nature of your work and your ability to hustle for more of it. Paying off the student loans is a great focus, but could you do it sooner by being out on your own? Maybe.

Yea for me, I would try to book as much work as I could and once I had at least 4x, I would jump ship. And yes I would suspend retirement savings until the student loans are paid off. As a business you can put a ridiculous amount into a retirement account each year, so it is very easy to "catch up".
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by CoastLawyer2030 »

djpeteski wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:07 am
CoastLawyer2030 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:38 pm
djpeteski wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:03 pm Will you need office space and furnishings? A secretary? Phone system? I would get those kinds of things in place first. Then, I would attempt to book about 4 to 5 times the amount of work you are currently doing. Then jump ship. I think in the long run you would regret not doing it sooner.

P.S. I am an older guy (54) saying this.
In case I wasn't clear about this, I've had my side practice up and running for three years. I already have my website, my phone number, a virtual assistant, a secretary I pay quarterly, my office, etc. It's all set up.

I'm sitting here right now about to file something that's due today.
Really you have a couple of choices and they are all pretty good ones. It really depends upon the nature of your work and your ability to hustle for more of it. Paying off the student loans is a great focus, but could you do it sooner by being out on your own? Maybe.

Yea for me, I would try to book as much work as I could and once I had at least 4x, I would jump ship. And yes I would suspend retirement savings until the student loans are paid off. As a business you can put a ridiculous amount into a retirement account each year, so it is very easy to "catch up".
What do you mean 4x?
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Re: How Long Would You Stay in a Boring Government Job?

Post by Ramjet »

Despite being boring, I would keep doing what you are doing and aim at retiring early. It doesn't sound like you will get much fulfillment out of the govt. job or the solo practice.
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