bryguy wrote: »
Have you been in a scenario where you served overseas where your family couldn't accompany you?
"Many embassies and consulates are in countries where harsh climates, health hazards, and other discomforts are prevalent and where American-style amenities are frequently unavailable. Personal security often becomes an area of concern, particularly in countries where there is political unrest or terrorist activity. For this reason, family members are not permitted to accompany the IMS on assignments to a number of overseas posts. However, careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States and advancing U.S. interests abroad."
7lowe wrote: »
The site seems to be acting up, and I can't get the quotes or advanced reply options to work, so I'm just going to answer/comment without quoting. Also, the answer to almost any question you can come up with is inevitably "it depends."
Sounds Good - We have to be somewhat security conscious in all we do, but this is a very generalized job. It is probably the most generalized IT job I know of. IMS are basically over all forms of communication. I am currently at a very small post, so I am a sysadmin, phone technician, network admin (in a minor way, mostly physical layer), and ISSO as well as being over comsec, crypto, pouch, mail, & even to a certain extent TV. You have to be somewhat open new challenges.The last few weeks I've even been having to work in SQL which is something I've never done before. The good thing is that there are usually specialists you can reach out to in DC or elsewhere that can help you out. If you go to a larger post you may find yourself doing 1 assignment for like 6 months (they often stick the newbies with the pouch). After a few tours most people get into more of a management position and do less hands on stuff.
bryguy - Family can make the decision tough and it's a personal decision, so I'm not really going to try and convince you. But, let me point out the family doesn't hold you back. In fact, the bigger your family is, the better your benefits are since you housing is based on your family size and your kids get free schooling. We thought long and hard about joining since we have a young daughter, but we decided the opportunities/experiences this lifestyle will allow her outweighs the cons (for us.) By the end of the year, she'll be 6 and will have lived in the US, China, & Fiji, & will have visited Hong Kong, The Philippines, Bangkok, Seoul, Vienna, London, Geneva, Frankfurt, and parts of France & Italy. She's in kindergarten and has well surpassed me in Chinese language ability (not hard to do.)
TKKJL wrote: »
I'm new to here and trying to absorb so many information!
Thank you all for so much reading so far.
I don't know much about Dept of State, are they similar jobs as GS Federal jobs?
My husband was in the Navy for 12 years as CTO and medically discharged 10 years ago. We've been trying to get a GS job in Asia and Europe with not much success. His Security Clearance expired almost 10 years ago so that limits most positions, it seems. Also dh noticed that applying process with usajobs site, too time consuming and frustrating. Is there a way to speed the application process? How long do they usually take until you can hear something from them?
TKKJL wrote: »
Is the pay scale in DoS lower than DoD GS jobs? What are the difference between the two department?
TKKJL wrote: »
Looks like dh might qualify for the position. He was in several foreign countries during the Navy career. He is a Network Analyst locally but have been looking for jobs in Federal sector or in California. 7lowe, thank you for your comments about your job. Are you working as a Info Mgmt Specialist with DoS currently? We would love to travel with dh's job like that. We homeschool and we are open to new, different environment. With your job, do you NEED to move every 2 years? Do they assign you where to go or do you have a choice where/ not to go? All those places you've been, were they a few months assignment?
TKKJL wrote: »
Could you tell me how easy/difficult it is to move up into next level? If dh gets in as grade 5, how long does he need to wait until he can get promoted? Also when you are in foreign countries, do they give enough COLA, housing expenses that offset low salary?
7lowe wrote: »
No shortcut on the process. For me it was a few hours applying on USAJobs & then forget all about it until I get a letter 6 months later inviting me to DC for the OA (Oral Assessment). That's at your own expense btw. If you pass that, they begin security and medical clearances which took about another 5 months. If you pass both of those, you go through Final Review (which is usually just a formality if you've made it this far.) After that you go on the register, ranked by your score on the OA, & when they have a new hire class they go down the register inviting people. Typically, there is practically no register for IMS. I believe veterans get extra points, so that should help his score/position as well.What do you mean by register?
From application to offer was about 1 year, about 14 months until I actually started.Wow, over a year!
Completely separate payscale & works in the opposite direction of GS. FS has it's own payscale. Here's a PDF: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/205552.pdf
Page 3 "Overseas" is mostly what you would want to look at.I think I read it their site that with Bachelor's degree, you get in as FS5, step 5, is it correct or do they start as step 1? Do people go up each step before moving onto next grade? (meaning you need to reach high step before going over to next grade)?
I am currently working as an IMS. I am finishing up my 1st tour. All of the countries I listed except China are either training or just personal travel we've done usuallly a week or so in length except for the European ones which we will do all of in 2.5 weeks this summer for our R&R. What is R&R? Is your work hour typical 8-5 or is it by shift/ on call? Do you get enough vacation days or weekend off time to travel around? For you next post, Fiji, did they assign you the place with no selection choice from you?
Your first 2 tours are entry-level (EL) directed tours (you are assigned with little choice) that typically last 2 years. After those, you choose where you want to go, but it's a competetive bidding process as to whether you get it or not. Most tours are 3 years.What happens if you didn't get picked for the post you desired? Do they appoint you somewhere random? Do people stay more than 1 tour continuously (for example, if you liked China, can you stay there 2 more years)? I'm just curious, why don't Dept. of State keep people in each post permanently (it seems that it cost a lot more to move folks around every 2-3 years). Also do you know if they give you priority country/region in selecting posts if you speak the language or have a family member from nearby country?
Homeschoolers are lucky IMO, as you don't have to factor in the quality of schools when looking at assignments. You still get the benefit of the education allowance as you are able to get reimbursed for materials, etc... Do you know if this is set amount regardless of school expense? (meaning if tuition cost more than the reimbursement, we need to pay additional)?
There are a few regional type positions where you would do more short term TDYs, but most positions are in one place for 2-3 years. Do short term TDYs accompany family?
All IMS hire in as a 5(with step varying on degrees,certs,experience,etc...). After 18 months you get an admin promotion to a 4. Promotions beyond that are competitive and are done by a panel on an annual basis. Before you worry about becoming a 3, you worry (not really) about getting tenure which should follow the admin promotion by a year or two. How long it takes to make 3 or higher just depends on you, your performance, and your reputation.
Benefits vary by the post you are assigned to. You can browse around here for examples:U.S. Department of State
Mostly what you want to look at are the COLA, Hardshipt Differential, & Danger Pay. Genericly speaking, you can save LOTS of money when posted to places with lower cost of living and then in those with higher you will still be able to get by, but don't plan on saving a lot. In Canada & some European posts they give you the LQA listed at the site above and leave it to you to find housing within that or pay the extra out of pocket. However, at the vast majority of posts, they just provide you with housing directly.
A lot of larger posts have comissaries where you can purchase items cheaper, or if there is a military base nearby you may be able to shop there. We have DPO & diplomatic pouch too, so we can order things from Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc... But, liquids are quite restricted so plan ahead in shipping those if you'll need them or just buy them locally. I did the currency & metric conversion & came to the cruel realization that I'm currently paying about $12/gallon for milk. Even so, I've still saved a LOT of money while being posted here.
What do you mean by register?
I think I read it their site that with Bachelor's degree, you get in as FS5, step 5, is it correct or do they start as step 1? Do people go up each step before moving onto next grade? (meaning you need to reach high step before going over to next grade)?
What is R&R? Is your work hour typical 8-5 or is it by shift/ on call? Do you get enough vacation days or weekend off time to travel around? For you next post, Fiji, did they assign you the place with no selection choice from you?
What happens if you didn't get picked for the post you desired? Do they appoint you somewhere random? Do people stay more than 1 tour continuously (for example, if you liked China, can you stay there 2 more years)? I'm just curious, why don't Dept. of State keep people in each post permanently (it seems that it cost a lot more to move folks around every 2-3 years). Also do you know if they give you priority country/region in selecting posts if you speak the language or have a family member from nearby country?
Do you know if this is set amount regardless of school expense? (meaning if tuition cost more than the reimbursement, we need to pay additional)?
Do short term TDYs accompany family?
What do you mean by shipping liquid ahead?? (I don't know what kind of liquid that you want to ship)?
the_Grinch wrote: »
You do have to remember there is a lot added onto the salary. I believe you get 16% on top for where ever you are station. There will be hazard pay for some locations which is another add on. Add in the fact that they are paying for your housing, so unless you are carrying a mortgage here and living abroad you nipped a major bill right in the butt. 7lowe can cover most of it, but obviously there is a lot more then the base salary to factor in.
hema07 wrote: »
Thank you for a great active forum.
I am in the process for applying to this position. I currently work for DHS as an ISSO supporting one of the major financial system. I have been in the IT Security field for 12+ years. My work has been more towards compliance and audit. Can some of the senior member tell me if that would be a good match?
Thank you in advance.
hema07 wrote: »
is there any chance that they will match base salary to my current salary? I then need to come in higher than FS-5.
7lowe wrote: »
Right, many people take a pay cut coming in, but the benefits more than make up for it. Free housing is one of the biggest of course.
[h=5]Grade and Starting Salary Range: FP-05, $42,948- $63,071
Initial Salary, Salary Increases and Tenure:[/h]Initial salaries are determined in accordance with paragraph 1 or 2 below:
Initial salary for new employees is at the FP-05 level, depending on such factors as education, certificates, and specialized experience. Salaries are determined at the time employment offers are made.
Entry-level salary for current or former federal civilian employees will be set at the rate, within the Foreign Service grade to which they are appointed, that is nearest to the base salary rate of their previous federal assignment, provided the work performed in the previous position is relevant to information management activities.