What I Saw in 20+ Years Working as a Federal Contractor

JimBowie1958

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I have worked off and on for the US government as a contractor, usually in short 6 month contracts, though some were shorter and some went for years. I worked with many other software engineers who had worked in other agencies, and so this is my review of the people I met their culture and their attitude about the American people or heard about through friends. I have never been fired or given a negative review except twice and both were at a places I liked and worked at for many years and the bad reviews eventually were removed from my files. The worst places I left of my own volition, eager to work among competent people that did not make my skin crawl.

I am using a scale of -10 to +10, with -10 being outrageously incompetent, hateful of the American people and filled with jerks who would run down their own mothers for a COLA increase, and +10 being secular saints who got everything right, missed nothing and loved the USA and their fellow countrymen.

-10. At the bottom of the pile is the SEC. The Security and Exchange commission is the epitome of stupidity, incompetence, arrogance and disdain for anything about the people of the USA. When I read that there was a scandal regarding a good number of SEC employees who spent the entirety of their days downloading and trading porn on the job and doing things that should not be done on the clock I was totally not surprised at all. The SEC epitomizes the object of the phrase 'Who watches the watch dogs?'

-9.9 The Department of education has been described to me as a nest of communists and people who often sleep at their desks. Everyone I knew who worked there told me that they view the American people as an enemy, and themselves as martyrs suffering for the good of a thankless people. But I am also told these people are generally very erudite and well read. I think I would prefer them stupid as the SEC.

-8. The Department of Justus is competent, but maybe that is not a good thing. They have some of the most arrogant attorneys I have ever met in my life and humorless when around those not in their little club. It is full of sycophantic minions who engage in daily back-stabbing office politics for crumbs sometimes so measly as who has their desk a little closer to an attorneys office. I never heard one good thing said about the American people the whole time I was there and often heard insulting condescending things said about them, almost daily. The admiration I heard expressed there for any European Socialist state was almost seditious. The American people do not have any friends working at the DOJ, at least not in DC.

+5. The Department of Energy is a group of competent people, who said little about politics or the American people but the general impression I had was a positive one. Most of them were veterans of the energy industry and they had a hands on attitude toward problem solving and first understanding a situation well prior to tackling it. The only thing bad I have to say is that they were buying out older government people when I left and every one of the people that replaced them were minorities of various types. Not one new hire was a white heterosexual American-born male. I have seen this happen in many other government agencies as well. It would seem to explain quite abit of the prevailing government culture.

+7. US Postal Service; sharp people, every one. Never heard much positive said about the American people, but these people do know their jobs very well and they are eager to get things done. The same can be said for the US Treasury Department. Good people every one of them.

+7.5 NIH is very competent and they never missed a turn. Again, not much there I saw positive in their view of the American people, but like the US Postal Service they put mission first and stayed on top of things daily. No visible office politics or bad vibes at all.

+8 The IRS are, believe it or not, full of people who want to best serve the American people. When there was a series of scandals about IRS management policies in some offices out West, I knew of and one person personally who resigned their jobs for SHAME and none of the scandal involved any of them or people that they worked with. It was shame about the agency's reputation (they later went back). I had some very positive expressions about the USA and its culture and people. They are simply not the evil bastards that so many seem to think they are, and when I hear of some people wanting to defund the IRS and go to a flat tax, though I want a flat tax also, I do hurt in my heart for the kind of people I met at the IRS.

+9.8 The Defense Department has its incompetents, but they are very few and far between. That department is mindful of its service to the American people and full of unlimited commitment to us and the Republic. It was always clear that they were completely committed to their mission defending the American people, and I admired and was in awe of so many of the people I knew there. I wish I could have continued to work for them, but my slipped disk ended my career working as a contractor for them. I want to say that my last two people I worked for ( young black woman and an older white man) were the two best people I worked for in my twenty years. I still feel ashamed that I left them in such abrupt circumstances. I still feel I let them down, but I must give priority to my own health at this time. I wish to God I could still work for them.

+11 The US Marshall's service is above and beyond the most competent and devoted service to the American people I ever met. I felt like I was working for John Wayne sometimes. These were some of the toughest, bravest and most devoted people I have ever known, everyone of them a hero or a hero as yet not known.. Ruby Ridge just confuses the hell out of me because that was so contrary to the kind of men and women I met working for the Marshall's service. If we are fated to be ruled by an agency that took over the federal government and ran it from the top, while it would not be the Republic I am loyal to, were the rulers to be composed of the Marshall's Service, it would be a paradise, I have no doubt.

+7. Overall, the US federal government has some of the best people in the world working for it, but also some of the worst, as it should be, I suppose. But the variance I saw between agencies emphasized in my mind the importance of the leadership establishing a solid, people oriented culture from the very tip top and how it permeated on down to the desk jockey's themselves.

Obamacare is not typical of our government. The problem is that this government simply has bad leadership, and who is surprised by that, as it comes from the Daley political machine from Chicago?
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Anyone who worked this long as a Fed. contractor and not mention the ease of frauding the system by said contractor - I find suspicious.
It is like an open bar to an alcoholic. The incredibly open checkbooks to pay virtually anything you give them is not something to go unmentioned.
 
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JimBowie1958

JimBowie1958

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Anyone who worked this long as a Fed. contractor and not mention the ease of frauding the system by said contractor - I find suspicious.
It is like an open bar to an alcoholic. The incredibly open checkbooks to pay virtually anything you give them is not something to go unmentioned.
Umm, you know what a cotar is?

They don't play that kind of thing, unlike urban legend media may say. The contracting company watches even closer so the cotar wont find anything.

The fraud is in the bidding system which is archaic and counter-productive.
 
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JimBowie1958

JimBowie1958

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Why would anyone believe anything that you say?
Because unlike socks like you, I actually have the experience to back up my claims, Nimrod.

I have seen things not normally talked about at most of the jobs I was at, but frankly, I don't give a shit what libtards like you try to think anyway about anything I say.
 
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It is just a stupid post anyway that reeks of a serious overestimation of his own capabilities and performance.

Some bottom-feeder type contractor dismissing his own poor performance reviews as eventually removed from his files while attempting to pass broad brush judgement on the personnel in large diverse organizations some with over a hundred thousand employees, give me a break what a pointless exercise.
 
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JimBowie1958

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It is just a stupid post anyway that reeks of a serious overestimation of his own capabilities and performance.

Some bottom-feeder type contractor dismissing his own poor performance reviews as eventually removed from his files while attempting to pass broad brush judgement on the personnel in large diverse organizations some with over a hundred thousand employees, give me a break what a pointless exercise.
Lol, whatever floats your boat, Teady. If you don't like it, move on, bitch.

I gave the number of times I was given disciplinary action, and that I had generally good reviews. Otherwise it is difficult to get decent jobs and head hunters stop using you and you pretty much stop being a contractor unless maybe you move to another city.

You plainly don't know what you are talking about.

But think what you want, I really don't care about what libtards think, but lurkers and any open minded people will decide for themselves.

The things I saw surprised me a number of times both in good and bad ways.

But over all our government is very proficient and competent...with a few exceptions. The agencies people need to be most mindful of are the ones, it seems, that are meant to help you; those are the ones that blind side you with regulatory snares and penalties that you have no criminal rights against.

Cant really see what is so outrageous about that in your mind, but who gives a fuck? I don't.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Anyone who worked this long as a Fed. contractor and not mention the ease of frauding the system by said contractor - I find suspicious.
It is like an open bar to an alcoholic. The incredibly open checkbooks to pay virtually anything you give them is not something to go unmentioned.
Umm, you know what a cotar is?

They don't play that kind of thing, unlike urban legend media may say. The contracting company watches even closer so the cotar wont find anything.

The fraud is in the bidding system which is archaic and counter-productive.
I live about 15 miles away from the nations largest warfare munitions production plant.
About the only people that even know it is here is people from around here. On Google maps it has little black and gray areas and modified images. It is not a secret that it is here - just no one is allowed in and there are no aerial photos of it - so only locals really know much about it.
Anyhow...obviously this means there are contractors all over this area providing all kinds of services/products. I know many of them, have neighbors that are contractors etc. etc.
I would say the average work week of these folks is about 10 hours. They usually work in binges...sometimes 60-70 hour work weeks. But then, especially during the summer, they go days and days not working at all. Weeks even.
My next door neighbor works for a video company that makes videos for them. Oh my God...he might - might work 7-8 hours a week. The company bids jobs padding the time and materials by ten fold at least. And they are far-far from being alone.
 

SteadyMercury

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You plainly don't know what you are talking about.

But think what you want, I really don't care about what libtards think, but lurkers and any open minded people will decide for themselves.
It has nothing to do with liberal/conservative, although it doesn't surprise me someone who must spin anything in their mind as one or the other would be the same one who thinks as a bottom feeder contractor they can make sweeping judgement about the people in organizations with staff over 100k.

Cant really see what is so outrageous about that in your mind, but who gives a fuck? I don't.
I tried to explain above. The ratings themselves aren't outrageous I've got no ax to grind for or against any govt organization, just the fact that one bottom feeder contractor thinks he can provide useful evaluation of that many people, hilarious.
 

SteadyMercury

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I would say the average work week of these folks is about 10 hours. They usually work in binges...sometimes 60-70 hour work weeks. But then, especially during the summer, they go days and days not working at all. Weeks even.
My next door neighbor works for a video company that makes videos for them. Oh my God...he might - might work 7-8 hours a week. The company bids jobs padding the time and materials by ten fold at least. And they are far-far from being alone.
Your mileage may vary.

When I was a government contractor (software eng) we worked 40 hour weeks and the range on that was pretty tight, rarely less than 38 rarely more than 42. The USAF guys we worked with had about the same schedule.

Anecdotal to be sure, but just sayin' there are contractors who work regular hours weeks.
 
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JimBowie1958

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Anyone who worked this long as a Fed. contractor and not mention the ease of frauding the system by said contractor - I find suspicious.
It is like an open bar to an alcoholic. The incredibly open checkbooks to pay virtually anything you give them is not something to go unmentioned.
Umm, you know what a cotar is?

They don't play that kind of thing, unlike urban legend media may say. The contracting company watches even closer so the cotar wont find anything.

The fraud is in the bidding system which is archaic and counter-productive.
I live about 15 miles away from the nations largest warfare munitions production plant.
About the only people that even know it is here is people from around here. On Google maps it has little black and gray areas and modified images. It is not a secret that it is here - just no one is allowed in and there are no aerial photos of it - so only locals really know much about it.
Anyhow...obviously this means there are contractors all over this area providing all kinds of services/products. I know many of them, have neighbors that are contractors etc. etc.
I would say the average work week of these folks is about 10 hours. They usually work in binges...sometimes 60-70 hour work weeks. But then, especially during the summer, they go days and days not working at all. Weeks even.
My next door neighbor works for a video company that makes videos for them. Oh my God...he might - might work 7-8 hours a week. The company bids jobs padding the time and materials by ten fold at least. And they are far-far from being alone.
You're basing this on general perceptions, when a lot of contractors are people who work as required and are on call 24/7. Take system admins for example, if they have a crisis on the network they might have to work 48+hours straight through. They might not have a need to do much more than ten hours a week most of the time though. That is not an easy schedule though it might seem to be. It plays hell with family life and you need to prove you have adequate backup to take a lengthy vacation.

I have been offered jobs with that kind of schedule for much better money, and I have turned it down every time. I am not going to be a slave to the random problems with a computer system.

Those folks have a cotar that knows exactly what they do and that cotar can shine by blowing the whistle on any abuses and get raises and promotions and cash awards, depending on the shop. He has no reason to bypass said incentives to do his job and risk his career by NOT doing his job.
 
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JimBowie1958

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I would say the average work week of these folks is about 10 hours. They usually work in binges...sometimes 60-70 hour work weeks. But then, especially during the summer, they go days and days not working at all. Weeks even.
My next door neighbor works for a video company that makes videos for them. Oh my God...he might - might work 7-8 hours a week. The company bids jobs padding the time and materials by ten fold at least. And they are far-far from being alone.
Your mileage may vary.

When I was a government contractor (software eng) we worked 40 hour weeks and the range on that was pretty tight, rarely less than 38 rarely more than 42. The USAF guys we worked with had about the same schedule.

Anecdotal to be sure, but just sayin' there are contractors who work regular hours weeks.
Lol, you had no database administrators, or network administrators? You had no 'Bataan Death Marches' to finish a job as it neared deadline?

Your pay would seem to reinforce an impression that you aren't near the top of the food chain exactly, as I have seen starting Java developers come right out of college and pull over $100k as government contractors, and Oracle developers with ten years experience can make $85k, DBA's pull around $150k and north of that depending on experience.

Sounds like you had a cushy little software MAINTENANCE job on a very low demand system that a high school kid could have maintained just as well.

roflmao

But if you have a job in this economy and make an honest living, congratulations. You are a vanishing breed these days.
 
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iamwhatiseem

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Umm, you know what a cotar is?

They don't play that kind of thing, unlike urban legend media may say. The contracting company watches even closer so the cotar wont find anything.

The fraud is in the bidding system which is archaic and counter-productive.
I live about 15 miles away from the nations largest warfare munitions production plant.
About the only people that even know it is here is people from around here. On Google maps it has little black and gray areas and modified images. It is not a secret that it is here - just no one is allowed in and there are no aerial photos of it - so only locals really know much about it.
Anyhow...obviously this means there are contractors all over this area providing all kinds of services/products. I know many of them, have neighbors that are contractors etc. etc.
I would say the average work week of these folks is about 10 hours. They usually work in binges...sometimes 60-70 hour work weeks. But then, especially during the summer, they go days and days not working at all. Weeks even.
My next door neighbor works for a video company that makes videos for them. Oh my God...he might - might work 7-8 hours a week. The company bids jobs padding the time and materials by ten fold at least. And they are far-far from being alone.
You're basing this on general perceptions, when a lot of contractors are people who work as required and are on call 24/7. Take system admins for example, if they have a crisis on the network they might have to work 48+hours straight through. They might not have a need to do much more than ten hours a week most of the time though. That is not an easy schedule though it might seem to be. It plays hell with family life and you need to prove you have adequate backup to take a lengthy vacation.

I have been offered jobs with that kind of schedule for much better money, and I have turned it down every time. I am not going to be a slave to the random problems with a computer system.

Those folks have a cotar that knows exactly what they do and that cotar can shine by blowing the whistle on any abuses and get raises and promotions and cash awards, depending on the shop. He has no reason to bypass said incentives to do his job and risk his career by NOT doing his job.
I was a sys admin from 1998 - 2001. Bar none the easiest job I ever had. We employed Linux servers to do everything...thus little troubles. We had around 30 servers and supported about 240 desktops in 4 locations. Yes there were some pretty tough times when a virus/hardware problem arose - but for the most part - leisure. There were many weeks when I doubt I did 5 hours of actual work. This was when Napster was alive and well...man did I ever have a music collection.
 
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JimBowie1958

JimBowie1958

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I live about 15 miles away from the nations largest warfare munitions production plant.
About the only people that even know it is here is people from around here. On Google maps it has little black and gray areas and modified images. It is not a secret that it is here - just no one is allowed in and there are no aerial photos of it - so only locals really know much about it.
Anyhow...obviously this means there are contractors all over this area providing all kinds of services/products. I know many of them, have neighbors that are contractors etc. etc.
I would say the average work week of these folks is about 10 hours. They usually work in binges...sometimes 60-70 hour work weeks. But then, especially during the summer, they go days and days not working at all. Weeks even.
My next door neighbor works for a video company that makes videos for them. Oh my God...he might - might work 7-8 hours a week. The company bids jobs padding the time and materials by ten fold at least. And they are far-far from being alone.
You're basing this on general perceptions, when a lot of contractors are people who work as required and are on call 24/7. Take system admins for example, if they have a crisis on the network they might have to work 48+hours straight through. They might not have a need to do much more than ten hours a week most of the time though. That is not an easy schedule though it might seem to be. It plays hell with family life and you need to prove you have adequate backup to take a lengthy vacation.

I have been offered jobs with that kind of schedule for much better money, and I have turned it down every time. I am not going to be a slave to the random problems with a computer system.

Those folks have a cotar that knows exactly what they do and that cotar can shine by blowing the whistle on any abuses and get raises and promotions and cash awards, depending on the shop. He has no reason to bypass said incentives to do his job and risk his career by NOT doing his job.
I was a sys admin from 1998 - 2001. Bar none the easiest job I ever had. We employed Linux servers to do everything...thus little troubles. We had around 30 servers and supported about 240 desktops in 4 locations. Yes there were some pretty tough times when a virus/hardware problem arose - but for the most part - leisure. There were many weeks when I doubt I did 5 hours of actual work. This was when Napster was alive and well...man did I ever have a music collection.
Linux network admins do tend to have a cush job, as it is very stable, open source and you don't have to wait for some retailer patch to address issues. Nice job.

BTW, I don't mean to sound insulting when I talk about anyone's pay scale, etc. Just being honest, as I see it any way. I worked almost exactly 20 years before my disk herniated and I would gladly take a $40k a year job if I could do it any more, but pain and meds get in the way now.

I envy you still working.
 

SteadyMercury

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Lol, you had no database administrators, or network administrators? You had no 'Bataan Death Marches' to finish a job as it neared deadline?
Nope, we didn't run the system we just developed and deployed software on it.

Your pay would seem to reinforce an impression that you aren't near the top of the food chain exactly, as I have seen starting Java developers come right out of college and pull over $100k as government contractors, and Oracle developers with ten years experience can make $85k, DBA's pull around $150k and north of that depending on experience.
When did I mention my pay? Weird something I've not said can "reinforce impressions" with you, maybe those logic skills are one of the reasons for your sporadic work and bad back?

Sounds like you had a cushy little software MAINTENANCE job on a very low demand system that a high school kid could have maintained just as well.
Nope, it was a new system that managed the targeting of the US strategic nuclear assets.


But if you have a job in this economy and make an honest living, congratulations. You are a vanishing breed these days.
The words of someone well used to making excuses for failure.
 
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JimBowie1958

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Lol, you had no database administrators, or network administrators? You had no 'Bataan Death Marches' to finish a job as it neared deadline?
Nope, we didn't run the system we just developed and deployed software on it.

Your pay would seem to reinforce an impression that you aren't near the top of the food chain exactly, as I have seen starting Java developers come right out of college and pull over $100k as government contractors, and Oracle developers with ten years experience can make $85k, DBA's pull around $150k and north of that depending on experience.
When did I mention my pay? Weird something I've not said can "reinforce impressions" with you, maybe those logic skills are one of the reasons for your sporadic work and bad back?

Sounds like you had a cushy little software MAINTENANCE job on a very low demand system that a high school kid could have maintained just as well.
Nope, it was a new system that managed the targeting of the US strategic nuclear assets.


But if you have a job in this economy and make an honest living, congratulations. You are a vanishing breed these days.
The words of someone well used to making excuses for failure.
Anyone claiming to work as a software developer for the government and never had themselves or anyone with them working more than 42 hours a week is a liar.

Your whole post is a fraud as are you.
 

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I have worked for many years in industry and commerce, yet I see incompetence within large corporations and wondered how in the hell they made it this far and why were they still in business.
 

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