Know Your Limitations

Good Morning,  The title of this blog post says it all.

Knowing your limitations is key to beginning the federal career process. In talking with many people who have asked me for help in the federal process I have heard consistently limitations of what prevents others from being successful. Generally speaking, we aren’t talking about potential, education, or experience, but a limitation on how much salary one expects, that they can’t travel for a position, or they can’t relocate, or that they feel they should apply for positions at a higher grade, these are examples of self-imposed limitations, and of course they may have a tremendous amount of standing.

There are always the usual suspects that come to mind. If you have children, do you want to move them out of school to an entire different education system? Can you make a move in the middle of a term? If you’re taking college courses, do you drop your programs? What about giving up your social connections that can be hard to redevelop under any circumstance. In the end you have to do what’s best for you, but when you’re looking at the option of realizing your potential career goals, these questions have to be taken into a certain context to better appreciate your fulfillment. Children adapt, new church families can be found, more social engagement can occur, etc.. Find solutions that work for you and your family and outline your plan.

As much as I empathize with these limitations, we are hopefully talking about the route to your dream career. If I told you that to have your dream career in 5 years you would have to move two times, carry a 50 lb rock on your head for 1 hour a week, and dress up like the Easter bunny to have that career would you do it? I hope you said yes!!! The good news is hopefully the worst thing you’ll have to do is relocate to your ideal job in order to get a jumpstart on moving forward to your ideal career. I realize and know from experience that it is very hard, VERY HARD to relocate for a job, sometimes it’s less painful when your move is paid for, but as we will see moving forward in blog posts, relocation expenses are generally paid to higher GS positions vs entry level and that means sometimes we have to negotiate with ourselves what’s important.

This post isn’t only about relocation, it’s about understanding what it’s going to take to get where we want to be in the future. This can be written out in a goals list which I strongly encourage or on your cell phone, computer etc. When I realized the hoops I would have to jump through to get into the Marine Corps, it was daunting to be sure, but my recruiter made it a bit easy as he gave me a check-list of things I had to get done and how fast they needed to get done. You should make a check-list for yourself based on your wants, needs, and overall career goals.

  • Create your ideal career and think about what is going to have to happen for you to obtain it.
  • Will I have to move? Should I move?
  • Will I need more education?
  • Can I get this position based on my current experience level?
  • Should I consider a position overseas to help me move up faster in the GS ladder?
  • Can I use Veterans preference to gain a better salary in this position?
  • Can I get a position in this field at the bottom GS grade and move up the GS ladder by experience?
  • Can I get the position I want if I have to have a longer commute?

These are only a few questions to ask yourself. BE truthful here so you can develop your game plan moving forward. Now navigate to the post marked Expert Profile to find out how to put your best foot forward from the beginning of your beginning.



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