Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Difficult choice

I currently work in a JD preferred position that I absolutel couchsleeper06/14/17
I would do it. You'll likely not ever make millions or patenttrollnj06/14/17
This is my thinking too. I don't really want millions or pre couchsleeper06/14/17
I'd take it. You'll get legal experience and will have great isthisit06/14/17
It is much easier to jump from a law job to a procurement jo thirdtierlaw06/14/17
Thanks for the input. PSLF is not the deciding factor, but i couchsleeper06/14/17
That's fair. So many people on here are looking to make the thirdtierlaw06/14/17
It really depends on where you are. This idea that governmen downwardslope06/14/17
From the tone of your post, I think it's clear that you're l mrtor06/14/17
I am absolutely leaning towards taking it. I appreciate the couchsleeper06/14/17
Here's my 2 cents. Current position: Pros - 80K, always inho2solo06/14/17
Thanks! The 60K offer is the highest pay point allowed f couchsleeper06/14/17
What kind of government position? mrtor06/14/17
Its with a port, so part of the city government but more spe couchsleeper06/14/17
couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 1:58 am)

I currently work in a JD preferred position that I absolutely hate, but it pays well (80,000) and is low stress with no more than 40 hours a week. I really hate the work (procurement) and management. There is no path to the legal department and I would rather not go into management. This is the only work experience I have other than bartending.

I received an offer for an entry level government attorney position, but it comes with a $20,000 a year pay cut. The work seems interesting and since its entry level, the pay can only go up.

I am nervous about the pay cut, but I am afraid that if I do not accept the position I will never get the opportunity to actually practice law. Not to mention the PSLF program is really enticing.

I have no kids or mortgage and in my early 30's. I live in a low to moderate COL living city in the south.

If you were in my position, would you take the offer? Is the potential upside worth the hopefully temporary cut to my income?

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patenttrollnj (Jun 14, 2017 - 2:28 am)

I would do it.

You'll likely not ever make millions or gain any prestige (unless it's a BigFed job), but it's stable and you'll have good benefits. Plus, you'll probably have to join a union, which will come with some perks (although, you'll have to pay union dues).

Also, if you ever want to return to a JD Preferred position one day, they may like the fact that you have a government job on your resume.

Good luck!

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couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 10:08 am)

This is my thinking too. I don't really want millions or prestige. I just want a normal middle class life with a 3 bedroom house in the burbs with enough money to save for retirement while also being able to afford a vacation every now and again.

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isthisit (Jun 14, 2017 - 6:42 am)

I'd take it. You'll get legal experience and will have great bennies and guv'mint job security.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 14, 2017 - 6:42 am)

It is much easier to jump from a law job to a procurement job than the other way around.

I think you should make the switch. Just know that the work probably isn't as exciting as you think it'll be. You may work more hours. Government attorney positions aren't always 40hr weeks, some are, some aren't and you typically won't know until you're there. Finally PSLF is not a guarantee, so I wouldn't let that be the deciding factor.

You spend too much of your life at work, you shouldn't do something you hate.

If you don't mind me asking, what don't you like about procurement?

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couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 10:01 am)

Thanks for the input. PSLF is not the deciding factor, but it is a nice benefit assuming the program lasts long enough.

Its hard to say exactly what I don't like about procurement; its a lot of small things. Overall, I like the contract drafting and negotiation aspect. My favorite part is construction agreements for multi million dollar projects. Its a rewarding process and you get to see the end product of your efforts once the facility/building/project is completed.

The worst part would have to be the bidding aspect and going back and forth with vendors and contractors over pricing. I'm not sure why, but I find that painful. Also, in my company at least, procurement seems to be the dumping ground for crap no one else wants to deal with. Sometimes that can be fun when there are contract disputes. I like engaging in settlement discussions and figuring out how to defend the company's position. Other times, its awful, particularly when the company decides it needs to cut costs. Then you end up on the phone with various vendors basically begging for price breaks.

I just don't think the position fits my personality.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 14, 2017 - 2:35 pm)

That's fair. So many people on here are looking to make the jump to a procurement or contract specialist position so it's always interesting to learn why people are looking to move the other way.

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downwardslope (Jun 14, 2017 - 7:28 am)

It really depends on where you are. This idea that government jobs are secure and you can get raises is often a myth. In some states, there haven't been raises since the last decade and they can and will fire attorneys at will. It may take you 8 years to vest in a pension that is not secure, while you have to sit around in a position where you are getting no raise for 8 years.

In short, it really depends on the state. If the state/municipality has good finances AND offers raises (there are states that have neither or offer only one), then I say go for it. If not, then skip it. For example, I just moved from a city with billions of dollars of pension debt that had an alternative to social security pension plan. The wages were also in the low $60s. There is just no way I'd take a job like that. Sometimes when new administrations come in, they clear out entire legal departments. I see you are in the South, so this is a prime area for getting neither or one of the options, but not both.

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mrtor (Jun 14, 2017 - 9:53 am)

From the tone of your post, I think it's clear that you're leaning toward taking it. I agree that you should to pursue something that will make you happy. However, you need to look at everything objectively and avoid perceiving the other side's grass as greener.

Many government jobs offer stagnant or very minimal wage growth, which could result in it taking years or decades to recoup that cut, if you ever do. Make sure you fully understand PSLF too. Many people fail to grasp the difference between federal and private loans, and simply assume the program will forgive everything. You are entering a ten year commitment as well. If you exit the program in several years for any reason -- not liking the work, bad boss, more lucrative private employment offer -- you may very well end up owing even more than when you began PSLF.

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couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 10:06 am)

I am absolutely leaning towards taking it. I appreciate the advice because I am trying to not let my current unhappiness lead me into worse position.

I do think that the growth opportunities will better in the long term once I can put an actual attorney position on my resume. I don't like procurement and can not figure out another way out of it.

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inho2solo (Jun 14, 2017 - 10:25 am)

Here's my 2 cents.

Current position:
Pros - 80K, always 40 hpw, low stress
Cons - You hate it, there's no where to go from here. Oh yeah, and you hate it. Likely never find a unicorn job letting you practice law from here.

Government position:
Pros - It's the Unicorn Job you weren't supposed to find. It seems more interesting/better fit for your personality (at least, appears unlikely to require you to do the sort of haggling you most loathe). Potential to be a jumping point for other gov't attorney jobs in future.
Cons - Assuming 3-4% raises, it'll take you ~ 10 to 8 years to get back to your 80K. But this might be tempered if the current 60K offer is like an introductory/trial period rate?


Overall, I think I'd take it. I'm thinking if after a year or so it started to suck, I could probably get back into procurement.

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couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 11:00 am)

Thanks!

The 60K offer is the highest pay point allowed for the Level 1 position. While they never said it was a probationary period, it seems I should be able to promote into the next level quickly (by gov standards anyway).

I think I am going to accept it. You're right; I can always go back to JD preferred, but this will be the only opportunity to move into an attorney position. I graduated law school years ago, and I am shocked I got the offer at all.

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mrtor (Jun 14, 2017 - 12:09 pm)

What kind of government position?

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couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 2:20 pm)

Its with a port, so part of the city government but more specialized.

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