There are many benefits to working as a govvie. While feeling the glow after hearing that your response to a request for proposal was the winning one is not one of them, job security, decision making power, and killer benefits are.
One ClearanceJobsBlog subscriber was curious if there are particular rules of engagement when deciding if the transition from a contractor to federal employee is right for them, and how far out they should give notice:
I currently work for a major federal contractor. A federal agency has recently extended me a direct hire job offer with a start date for several months from now. If I were to accept their offer, do you know if I am legally (or ethically) required to quit my federal contracting job right away, or would it be OK to wait until much closer to the start date? My contracting assignment is not with this federal agency. Second, given the federal role requires a clearance transfer, do you think the contractor would know if I accepted a job that begins months from now?
TIMING FOR GIVING NOTICE AND SECURITY CLEARANCE PICK-UP
This is a very personal decision, dependent on your situation. If you do not want a lapse in a paycheck, we would recommend waiting to give notice until the traditional few weeks mark, or being candid with your employer if you have a good relationship, so they have enough time to backfill your slot. Legally, you are not required to quit your contracting job until closer to your start date.
Your contractor FSO has access to DISS (or other clearance management system) and will see when another agency tries to pick you up. In this instance, you should be communicating with the security shop at the federal agency trying to hire you to see when this process will take place.
UNDERSTANDING DIRECT HIRE AUTHORITY
Per the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), “a Direct-Hire Authority (DHA) is a hiring authority that OPM can grant to Federal agencies for filling vacancies in specific occupations, grade levels, and locations when it can be proven that there is a critical hiring need or a severe shortage of candidates.”
When converting to a federal employee from a contractor, especially if you are supporting an entirely different government agency, it’s important to note whether the offer you have in hand is conditional or firm.
Giving notice to your current employer before you get the final green light would mean potentially no more green in your bank account!
Much about the clearance process resembles the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.” This case-by-case system is meant to consider the whole person, increase process security, and allow the lowest-risk/highest-need candidates to complete the process. However, it also creates a lot of questions for applicants. For this reason, ClearanceJobs maintains ClearanceJobsBlog.com – a forum where clearance seekers can ask the cleared community for advice on their specific security concerns. Ask CJ explores questions posed on the ClearanceJobs Blog forum, emails received, and comments from this site.