Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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'My name is Joe, and I am a fed'

OK, all you put-upon feds out there. Time to speak out.

A federal employees union is providing you with the megaphone. It’s a new blog called “I am a Federal Employee,” located, coincidentally, at

The blog is the brainchild of the National Federation of Federal Employees, which created it to serve as a tool where feds can “counter the recent attacks levied against federal employees by members of Congress and the media.”

Here’s part of one entry: “I have worked at the San Francisco VA Medical Center for over 22 years. I am writing to address the misconception that federal employees are underworked and overpaid. In the bay area, the private sector hospitals have always paid a higher salary. So why have I stayed her for over 22 years? I have stayed because I am proud and honored to take care of our veterans …”

Early posters to the blog hold various jobs—nurse, firefighter, social worker, clinical psychologist—that defy the “faceless bureaucrat” stereotype.

We’ve talked to lots of organizations that represent feds, and one thing we’ve often heard is that feds really need to get their own stories out there as a way to combat widely held misconceptions about the federal workplace.

In other words, those who advocate for feds believe it’s important to put a face on federal workers, rather than let certain members of the press, Congress, and various think tanks do all the talking and create a caricature of who you are—to suit their own purposes.

This seems like a decent start.

So what are you waiting for?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Jun 28, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Wed, Aug 3, 2011

I've worked for three different agencies. Everywhere I have worked it has been the same old story...."there's no money for upgrades". I see people who actually refuse to do what is in their job description and they get the upgrade or QSI or are a higher grade than I am. Now I am too close to retirement to try going outside of the Fed Govt. If your boss likes you, you get ahead and if they don' go nowhere!

Mon, Jul 11, 2011 Utah

What we need to do is get some issues put on the ballots where the public can vote for laws instead of expecting our "ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES" to vote for them. For instance, how about a law that states if the budget is not signed by the beginning of the fiscal year Congress and the Senate, as well as the President stay in session until it is, that includes bringing in pizza and port-a-potties. Talk about overpaid and underworked. What have they done in the last several years for the country?

Mon, Jul 11, 2011

I am an RN and a federal employee - for 24 years now. I love caring for the vets, that's why I am here. They are unique. I do agree with some of the things that has been written previously. In the facility that I work in, management is only interested in numbers, they do not really care about the vets. As an RN at a federal facility, we work under a "locality pay" system. This means that each year or so, a survey is taken of area hospitals (area hospitals can mean as far as 50 miles away). One hospital that is included in our "area" is one of the lowest paying hospitals in my state. Then they take an average of what the RN's are paid, and that is what we get paid. The doctors get "retention pay" and a bonus of $15,000 per year for "pay for performance". They get extra to actually do what they were hired for! The nurses get only their paycheck, and are given some of the doctors duties to do so that the doctors get their "pay for performance".

Fri, Jul 8, 2011

It seems to me that the ones who are truly overpaid, underworked, and incompetent are members of Congress. They seem to excel at stomping their feet and holding their breath until they get their way. Or crying and whining when they don't.

Fri, Jul 8, 2011

I've worked in two separate agencies and had two vastly different experiences. Currently I work for the VA--patient centered care and all that. Administration is only concerned with money, don't want pay nurses, only physicians and only want to placate employees enough to keep them quiet, I am a GS-7 who performs 80% of the job responsibilities of her GS-13 supervisor. I had been a GS-11 with my former agency, but dropped out of the workforce for several years and took the loss of grade because I needed the job. What a mistake! My agency has wrung every last drop of motivation out of me, not to mention the way my supervisor treats me. I told my daughters to use me as an example of someone not to emulate. It is humiliating to be treated like this at work and to see the work I do denigrated by politicians who couldn't handle have the work thrown at the average federal employee every day. Let the bullies walk in our shoes--see the loss in benefits and pay. Let them take a pay freeze and pay more for their benefits (which are far better than mine, for working far less.) It'll never happen!

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