Submitted by indecisivewandering t3_10s5r8s in washingtondc

I am currently in the running for a GS5 ladder position and am wondering what my options are as far as living in the area should I get the job. I would be looking to rent somewhere close to a Metro station if possible (ideally 1/2h out by foot). I am coming from the Deep South having lived in the area around college, and have struggled to make even 30k/yr down here since graduating. I am legally blind, so being close to public transit is important to me. If I could be in part of the city proper, cool ,but I know that's not likely.

I want to make sure that I can afford something in the area on 40-42k/yr (I'm unsure if there's some COLA benefit I'm missing or not). I'd be open to moving into Baltimore if need be.

Edit: the ladder is 5-6-7.



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murphski8 t1_j6zp7aa wrote

Lots of people live here for 42,000 or less. You'll need a roommate for sure, but it's possible.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zqfpu wrote

I'm totally fine living with roommates, yeah. Since it's supposedly low-risk I could potentially continue with side businesses like my writing and music production?


dataminimizer t1_j6zrm62 wrote

You can definitely work side jobs as a fed provided they don’t conflict with your day job and you go through the appropriate channels to get them approved.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zsb5c wrote

That's great! Then yeah I mean.. I think I'll be fine? As long as I can work a side job(or two) and work out something with my medical situation, I think I'll be just fine.


dataminimizer t1_j6zt5gx wrote

Good luck! Happy to have another car-free member in the community. Check out Greater Greater Washington when you get here!

Edit: fixed my recommended org to something more appropriate for a person with vision difficulties.


nakedskier t1_j705v1w wrote

Not sure a blind guy is going to be biking regularly…


dataminimizer t1_j7072c7 wrote

Fair I missed that when I read his post, but at any rate, the things WABA advocates for make the city more walkable/navigable without a car anyway.


Administrative-Egg18 t1_j6zp0vd wrote

You said it's a ladder position - does that mean you'll be eligible to be promoted to GS-7 in a year and maybe promoted again a year after that? That might make it worthwhile to suffer financially for a year.


Fy0rG t1_j6zva8r wrote

Guaranteed promotion


EHsE t1_j76w987 wrote

no such thing, only noncompetitive promotion at the discretion of management


RainbowCrown71 t1_j70kqog wrote

5 for a year, then automatic 6, then wait a year for automatic 7. Then they have to hop jobs cause the ladder tops out at 7.


EHsE t1_j76wbz7 wrote

ladders usually skip 6


RainbowCrown71 t1_j77v9j0 wrote

That’s true, but OP posted that their ladder was 5-6-7, so they have one of those rare jobs that doesn’t apparently.


curioalpaca t1_j6zpolj wrote

Look around for group houses, it won’t be easy, but lots of people do it. I made 40k when I first moved to DC and usually made another 2-3k a year dogsitting. Good luck!!


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zq7z7 wrote

Thanks. Yeah, I'd be fine living in a group house if I had decent access to a Metro.. not sure if those two go hand-in-hand, but still. I'm unable to drive, is the kicker.


MidnightSlinks t1_j6zxyvx wrote

Group houses are everywhere and, if anything, tend to be closer to Metro stations (or popular bus lines) than not because they tend to be occupied by people who can't necessarily own a car.


purplebananers t1_j6zygsm wrote

Check out Clarendon and balston! There are Facebook groups of people looking for roommates. Sone of my friends lived there with roommates. Also get money from work for your metro commute. Good luck!


Separate-Sentence366 t1_j6zqm1d wrote

If you’re young, are willing to tolerate roommates and some of the other aspects of bohemian poverty, then I can see this being a good option for you. Living in a navigable city may drastically improve your quality of life—I know something of what it’s like to feel trapped in a suburban area due to disability. The freedom of movement could open a lot of opportunity for you, especially socially.

There may also be a lot more opportunity for advancement in this area relative to a college town. But, to everyone else’s point, a GS5 position is going to put you in a tight spot financially. You’ll want to balance modest expectations on living situation and disposable income, and how you spend your free time. If you have an interest, hobby, special skill, or anything that could let you use some of your free time toward a second income, then I think this becomes a much better proposition for you. Lots of folks work in hospitality (bars, food service, etc) or in special interests (bike shops, speciality retail, teaching something) in order to give their budgets a bit of breathing room. As a young man in the late 90’s I kept a second job at a store that catered to my hobby and it subsidized the hobby, gave me some budget padding as I moved up the ladder, and filled my free time in a way that earned rather than spent.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zu1j4 wrote

The mental health boost of being able to navigate a city.. my god it'd be great. I am totally fine with the bohemian poverty, right now I barely make 1,200/month without the chance for friendship or anything. I'm in more of a retirement community than a college town, which makes things markedly worse for meeting people around my own age.

The only slight concern I've got is affording medical treatment/travel to Duke hospital but my family could likely chip in, and there wouldn't be the need for a 6 hour drive each way anymore.


solidrecommendations t1_j6zwx9b wrote

Amtrak from DC to Durham … not terrible (have done it myself)

There’s also MegaBus


Separate-Sentence366 t1_j72bzj8 wrote

Seems to me like you should make the leap.

And like the other reply here, I’ve taken Amtrak from DC to Durham and it’s not bad. You’d be able to navigate it all on your own—metro to Union Station; Amtrak to Durham; Uber to Duke and then the campus is pretty walkable. The busses would probably be even cheaper.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j72djj1 wrote

Yep yep. At this point I only go about once every 2 months, hopefully this changes over time. My doc has said at some point the less we need to see each other, the better/more stable my condition is.

I ought to save up for the months in between now and the FO, put in a few months on the job and maybe I'll get to contracting at some point in the near future. The thing is at my current job it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything? Public procurement though feels like the work is a lot more meaningful and impactful.


solidrecommendations t1_j6zlvcs wrote

Don’t do this to yourself … it will definitely be a struggle


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zm8t7 wrote

I have been making next to nothing here for the last three years. After 120 applications this is the first one to give me an interview. Is it possible to live even with roommates at this point in the area, or is 50k the bare minimum now?


solidrecommendations t1_j6zn3g5 wrote

If you take into account the higher cost of living here, $42k may effectively be less than you’re making now. This is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Is it possible on $50k? Sure, it’s possible, but you will not have much left over after basic expenses (and yes, you will need many roommates).


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zo90q wrote

I know its expensive, but you know what that says to me? There's some actual opportunity. Where I'm living I am housebound, and most people are lucky to earn 14/hr. If it's less than what I made, I'll just grit my teeth and work my way up. I just can't see another way out after barely clearing $300/week the last 3 yaers.


solidrecommendations t1_j6zp20o wrote

I’m not sure where you live in the South now, but there are a number of places there I’d suggest that have lots of opportunity but aren’t as expensive as DC (Raleigh or Charlotte, for example).

And then what is the job and field (and promotion potential)? Just because it’s a job in DC doesn’t mean it has lots of upward mobility.

Lots to consider. But to answer the question you started with: no, that’s not enough money in my opinion.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zr7yz wrote

It's 0300, on a 5-7 ladder. I'm in the worse Carolina, I'll put it that way. I have looked into Charlotte, but it's much more of a car dependant place than the District, so it feels like a non-starter as someone who can't drive.


LuciusAurelian t1_j6zsdog wrote

If you get a roommate you can do it. You'll be skrimping and probably rent burdened, but you'll live.

What job series? Is there opportunity to jump onto a higher ladder after GS7?


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zsx9l wrote

0304 iirc?... and I am not sure. I'd probably jump into another series if that would be possible without taking a huge pay cut, or try to contract if everything else fails.


The_4th_Little_Pig t1_j6zwm5u wrote

Just to let you know that’s a very irregular ladder, I was a 5 in DC five years ago and it was rough. Just be prepared to not be able to afford much, but if you can transition to a different ladder and series after your first year shoot for something that at least leads to a 12.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zxvay wrote

Interesting. I had always thought the more common ladders were on the lower end. The sad thing to me is I have been applying for all these 1302 roles in contracting thinking that 3 years of purchasing experience will do the trick.. apparently it doesnt if I lack knowledge of FERS shrug so I feel locked out of those more common ladders that go from 7-11/12.


The_4th_Little_Pig t1_j6zynfy wrote

Do you have a bachelors degree? I started with a 5/7/9/12


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zzl5p wrote

I do, yes. Political Science. That is the thing, I keep getting denied because "lack of experience" or somesuch.. when I literally have on my resume "Purchasing Assistant, 3 years, 40h/wk".. getting a ladder like you mentioned would be awesome.


The_4th_Little_Pig t1_j700ruf wrote

If you recently graduated apply for pathways program jobs, if not get your year of experience and start applying for better jobs. If I could recommend something, look for someone who specializes in writing degrees for federal jobs and pay to have your resume made, that will help you a lot.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j702f4e wrote

I sadly graduated in 2020 over Rona, so hiring freeze + L + Uncertainty. I will look into getting my resume rewritten.. could very well be a good.. what,$80 well spent? If it means I can finally snag a GS7 I'd be a lot happier and comfortable moving.


solidrecommendations t1_j6zrzl9 wrote

The one thing you’ve got right is that you won’t need a car if you live in DC. And busses within DC are free beginning in July and I believe city residents will also get a $100/mo subsidy to use on Metrorail.

Still, a GS-7 is sort of the bare minimum I’d consider for DC (with roommates). You might need to look far outside of the district on a metro line to live a manageable lifestyle.


Wizardof1000Kings t1_j70b8qw wrote

You won't be able to afford living near the metro. You'd better figure out how you are going to get to it.


EC_dwtn t1_j6zwzai wrote

I'm from one of the cities in the south that people say has a lot of opportunity, but one of the first things I noticed when I moved here was how many people with disabilities seemed to be living independently (commuting to work on the Metro, hanging out at bars and restaurants, etc).

Normally I'd tell someone not to move on that salary, but in OP's case there could be a lot of benefits that aren't available in 98% of the rest of America.


roofrat69 t1_j6zwbat wrote

Love this attitude. As long as you’re willing to tolerate roommates and generally stick to dive bars, you’ll be fine. Btw, that’s the best way to do DC anyway. At least it was. Fuck the wharf.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zxa1d wrote

Barring my medical condition getting out of control (I had some doc lie to me about a retina detachment.. turns out I just need regular monitoring), I'll be in a lot better place mentally. I'd be totally good with dive bars, Black Cat metal nights (got to see The Hu before I left, good times), and not spending all my money on booze.


RagingOrgyNuns t1_j70t883 wrote

There is a COLA for DC. My spouse is GS 9 (I think) and DC has a pretty good adjustment.

And it is totally possible to live here while making 50K. Yes, you will need housemates/flatmates, but not "roommates." I was making $14/hour and doing fine with housemates when I moved here.

Just look for a group house for the best bargain. Maybe near American University, Howard University, or Catholic University where other people will be looking to share (not just undergrads, but grad students as well).


indecisivewandering OP t1_j71xl7o wrote

> There is a COLA for DC.

Regarding the COLA, is that posted when there's a job available on USAJobs, in general? I always assumed it was, but around here because things are so "cheap" (they're really not) you often get employers hiring for a range of 40-60k... then obviously hiring at the lower number. The range I saw for this position was offering much more than 40k but I am going in with the assumption I'll earn nothing since I'm just starting out in the federal service.


Content-County-9327 t1_j6zpvqf wrote

You need at least 2 roommates. Some neighborhoods are more affordable than others. For example, a group home in Petworth would probably work for you.


roadnotaken t1_j6zm25m wrote

Baltimore is very far if you work in DC. We can’t recommend anywhere without knowing the approximate area in which you’ll be working, but regardless, that is not enough money to live alone. You’d need multiple roommates, in a group house. Also be aware that you’d be eligible for low income housing at that salary. But even at a discounted rate, I think you couldn’t live alone. It’s just not enough money.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zmq80 wrote

I would be open to living with roommates, if that's what it takes. I would be working in Northwest DC. I have been making a horrible salary here, and basically see this as my chance out, even if it is super low pay for a 25 year old, it's double what I made last year.


roadnotaken t1_j6zqcc4 wrote

Living with roommates would be essential, and group house here can be very competitive. It's like whole other job interview. If you are very determined, have no debt, and work hard, you could hopefully make it. But do not underestimate the difficulty. There are also a lot of up front costs with moving, so be prepared to have thousands on hand for first month/last month and security deposit, plus all of your moving expenses.


giscard78 t1_j6zplsw wrote

> GS5 ladder position

What’s the top of your ladder and what is your job series? (eg 1102 contract specialist (I have no idea if this series exists at this level)) if you can grin and bear it with roommates, cooking every meal at home, and doing a lot of free things then it might be worth it. If you can get up to a 7 or 9, you won’t be living like a king, but your breathing room will definitely go up. If you can get to those grades then transition to another ladder or series, it’ll take some years, but you can go up.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zqt44 wrote

The role is in 0300 and is 5-7. The goal would be to put in a few years and jump to another ladder by the time I'm 30, or an entirely different series (if that's possible).. I'm aware I don't have nearly as much later movement with a 1302 but the ironic thing is despite 3 years in purchasing I've been denied at GS7 for every 1302 I've applied for.


Vortex2121 t1_j71ffxi wrote

get in with the 0300. After you prove yourself for a few months let your supervisor know you have procurement experience and are willing to get COR training (if you have a COR level 1 get COR 2). I know a few people who started out as GS-5s and worked their way up (granted it took decades) to a GS-13 step 10.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j71wcie wrote

How difficult would it be to get to a GS12, if I'm not on a ladder position? The ideal would be to get a contracting (!102, sorry) position and work my way up but that seems highly unlikely.. is it possible to get some type of FERS related certification as a civilian? Would that help me at all when applying to these jobs?


Gumburcules t1_j728eek wrote

> How difficult would it be to get to a GS12, if I'm not on a ladder position?

If you've got a college degree and your 5-7 ladder is in the same field, you'd be on a great track.

I doubt you'd be able to jump straight from 7-12 since 12 requires a year of experience at the 11 level and it would be very hard to argue that your GS-7 job provided you with GS-11 equivalent experience, but I imagine you could probably get in on a 9-11 ladder pretty easily especially if your 5-7 job is competitive service.

From there you're just a good connection or desk audit away from 12.

Also, don't listen to the people saying you can't make it here on that salary, you absolutely can. As others have said you'll definitely need roommates, but thousands of people come here every year and find rooms in group houses. I know NPS Park Rangers start at GS-5 and there are a lot of them who work here and live together. I'm not sure how you'd connect with them (maybe there's a subreddit or message board somewhere?) but it might be a good place to look.


Vortex2121 t1_j725efz wrote

Honestly I don't know. It really depends on your supervisor. Do you mean FAR? FERS is the retirement plan.

By the time you hit GS-7 you can transfer jobs with a different ladder. Also, I would look into Schedule-A disability hiring authority. Makes it easier for the employer to hire you.


Vortex2121 t1_j725o7y wrote

But anyway, FAR certs are easy enough to get as a civilian if you meet the requirements and your supervisor wants you to have it. It takes a year after you get your COR I to get your COR II (at least for my agency)


indecisivewandering OP t1_j72bkea wrote

FARS, yeah.. recognized that slip-up after posting.

Just so I sort of have this correct.. even if I'm in a 0300 role, when I hit GS7 I could potentially transfer over to a 7/9/11 1102 ladder on an internal announcement, simply because I'm already at that grade in any series (+3 yrs private sector work experience)?

I already do have a Schedule A letter.. seems like I'm either not using itt correctly, or it isn't pushing me in the direction I need to go.


scotch_please t1_j6zqtys wrote

How come you're considering Baltimore and not the DC suburbs off the metro trains? The area between North Bethesda and Shady Grove on the red line has high rises at slightly lower prices than DC while still being accessible to downtown by train. Montgomery County in MD also has a program for moderately priced apartments if your income qualifies (yours should). The link to that info is below. I'm not sure if you would have to live in the area for a minimum of a year before you qualify but either way, it's an easy way to knock off a few hundred dollars every month in rent:

This area also has a lot of private landlords who rent out their condos at slightly lower prices than the corporate owned high rises. You could make a post asking for advice on the suburbs off the other lines. I've never lived in those neighborhoods so I can't vouch for walkability but it's one way to save money by still living near the train.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zrqxe wrote

> How come you're considering Baltimore and not the DC suburbs off the metro trains? The area between North Bethesda and Shady Grove on the red line has high rises at slightly lower prices than DC while still being accessible to downtown by train.

Interesting.. I honestly hadn't noticed after living in the area for 4 years a few years back. I always thought the inner ring of suburbs was still very car dependant, so it was a wash between DC and Baltimore. Sure, you're closer, but my life would still be bound by whatever car dependant place I happened to end up in. Your commentt opens up a lot more options, than you.

I used to live in Arlington out of a group house and it was a mental struggle.


scotch_please t1_j6ztqx1 wrote

I'd say most of the suburbs are generally car dependent but the stations that run through them often have housing built within walking distance. The North Bethesda and Grosvenor stops have at least 2 apartment buildings within short walking distance of each. This area isn't people's first choice because the night life is lame and you might have to take a bus to the grocery store but if those aren't a priority, I would check it out.

Are buses an option for you? If so, Montgomery County is also very accessible by bus routes and you could expand your search out a few miles from the red line on that stretch. The North Bethesda stop has a grocery store at the base of one apartment building. Generally I'd prefer struggling in this area and saving a couple hundred a month instead of living paycheck to paycheck down to the last dollar in downtown DC. You can find cheaper rentals in DC than the suburbs but it'll be at the cost of safety and/or grocery access. In the suburbs you might be able to swing renting a studio or just having one roommate instead of sharing a group house.

If you find a higher paying job after a few years, then you can move closer to your place of work or perhaps you'll find you don't mind the train commute that much.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zutnh wrote

To be honest when I'd get off at stations my immediate assumption was that those buildings were all offices. Cool to know that TOD is taken at least somewhat seriously. Regarding nightlife, yeah I don't really mind if its lame. That it exists at all is nice from where I'm sitting right now.

Busses would be an option, its just about whether they have signage/accurate schedules. Currently, my area has no busses other than to take tourists around, and the paratransit is only available by calling.. if you're within .5 miles of an unmarked station.

> If you find a higher paying job after a few years, then you can move closer to your place of work or perhaps you'll find you don't mind the train commute that much.

Indeed. And hey, at least after that point I'll be able to have made connections at work and built a life for myself.


DCGinkgo t1_j70u166 wrote

Suburban bus routes in general no matter where they are usually a PITA . Often fine during "the rush" whatever that means in COVID (still) times. But off-rush & on weekends they can be a nightmare to get anywhere within a reasonable period of time. Stick to being close to Metro for real flexibility & service.


pecanorchard t1_j704mt9 wrote

I live out in the Mount Vernon area and got by for years without a car. My commute was a bus then metroing into DC which was deeply not fun, but not as bad as commuting from Baltimore. There is a grocery store within walking distance, and a few restaurants as well. It's a harder life without a car but doable.


[deleted] t1_j70bwul wrote

The only issue with said area now is that the yellow line is out of commission until May-ish and the shuttles add a considerable amount of time to the commute.


pecanorchard t1_j71ys0w wrote

Is it? I drive to Franconia metro now but I still see trains to/from Huntington, just on the blue line and not the yellow line (so, impacting the other side of the yellow line) now.

If it does shut down again, yeah I think the shuttle thing would not be fun for a legally blind person to figure out the first time, but there are always a lot if employees around to ask for directions.


InfamousHospital1812 t1_j6zv05o wrote

I made this account simply because all the advice you are getting saying not to do it or it’s not possible is flat out wrong.

Yes. You 100% can live in/around Washington DC for 40-42k a year. There are thousands of federal employees and others who do just that. Every other GS-5 for example. Almost every congressional office pays staff assistants and legislative assistants less than that. Sometimes significantly less than that.

I’m not saying it will be easy. You will have to be intelligent with your money. The easiest way to make it work would be with roommates. If you know people up here. Otherwise, many people use Facebook, Craigslist and other sources to find roommates. If you want to live alone that gets harder but a quick search for apartments under $1,200 (~1/3 of your monthly salary) came up with 240 results. Options exist.

In terms of where to look that is metro accessible, look near stops on the green/yellow line in the north like columbia heights, Georgia Ave-Petsworth, Fort Totten. You may also have luck on Green Line in the SE like anacostia. Red line look north again in the east (Noma, Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood, Takoma). I don’t think Virginia will have good walkable and price conscious options near the metro stops.

Good luck, don’t listen to people trying to discourage you. Many of them don’t even live here. DC is a great city and can always use more people who want to be here and are willing to grind it out in the government to do so.


MedicalSpecializer t1_j6zqily wrote

if you’re within 10 minute walk of Union Station or your work is right off the red line, Baltimore is absolutely possible if you live in Midtown, Bolton Hill, or Mount Vernon. Those parts of Baltimore have reasonably good public transit. I’m a GS-7 and that’s exactly what I do. It’s provided me a lot of breathing room and I’m able to save money. Otherwise, a group home in DC is going to be your best option.


Adorable_Ad7581 t1_j6zoovv wrote

You'll need a few roommates, but as long as you accept your situation and everything that'll be coming with it I say go for it.


Not_Cleaver t1_j6zqd8i wrote

You’re not going to be able to do this easily in DC. You’re going to have to have roommates. And probably in the burbs. Though there are some more or less than legal basement apartments that might be $1000 a month.

As an aside, I lived in an English basement in the District making about $30K from 2011 to 2017. So, it’s possible. But it’s a miserable existence. I had to pinch each and every penny.


ladyorthetiger0 t1_j6zthhj wrote

Look for an available room in a rental house. Definitely doable on $40k to live near metro, maybe farther out from downtown or in MD but still by a metro station.


EC_dwtn t1_j6zxfj5 wrote

I said this elsewhere, but one of the things that struck me when I first moved to DC was how many people with disabilities seemed to be living full, independent lives.

You'll be broke, but you seem to already know that. Just as a heads up, the roommate/group house process is probably far more competitive than what you'd expect. You should be prepared to have to apply to a bunch of places before you get accepted into one that is a good fit.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zzbl1 wrote

> I said this elsewhere, but one of the things that struck me when I first moved to DC was how many people with disabilities seemed to be living full, independent lives.

It's a damn beautiful thing, ain't it? :D I wish it was more common to have that available in this country. That same opportunity to just walk down a street with my cane and a purpose, as odd as that may sound to non-disabled people. The opportunities for me to live a full life as a disabled person in DC are second to none.

I remember oee day walking to my crummy internship, seeing a blind woman who looked to be in her 30s walking with a cane. That moment showed me that even if I do go blind, it's still possible to live a good life, be employed, etc.. It isn't hopeless.

People sometimes ask me why I don't leave for the EU because of my 2nd passport. EU countries might have more public transit and options in aggregate, but I don't speak German.. do you think the Germans would hire a blind American unless I am top of the top? Much less navigating bureaucracy in a language you do not speak, which you cannot read? I grew up here, I am staying here, and even if I get paid lower than average I will feel good serving the country that brought my family from nothing.


giscard78 t1_j700uvt wrote

> seeing a blind woman who looked to be in her 30s walking with a cane. That moment showed me

yo I’m sorry, I really wish you the best, but I gotta ask, how does a blind person see this? I am genuinely asking


indecisivewandering OP t1_j7026rt wrote

At the time I was able to see a lot better. I have a degenerative retina condition. I've been half blind since I was a teenager, and have been losing my vision (conscious of it at least) for the last 20 months. Before that I literally thought seeing a ring of light moving around myvision when I blink was totally normal.


Practical_Awareness4 t1_j6zuaoe wrote

Yes, you can live here on that salary. Yes, you will need roommates. If you eat at home and spend modestly, you'll be fine. Plenty of college students and interns live here. I find this forum to be quite discouraging when it comes to questions like this. Like... how are people supposed to get their foot in the door with such negativity. Plenty of people move to big cities with little money and make it work.


Fy0rG t1_j6zw34t wrote

I started as a GS-7 at $40K in a job that had a guaranteed 7-9-11 promotion.

(My previous job I was making $80K)

It sucked but I had to work 2 jobs to make up the difference for 2 years.

Eventually after 4 years I was making the money i left and from there it was off to the races.

I guess what I am saying is you are going to start with another job and a roommate but eventually it will work out. Feds provide great opportunities for promotion.


much2doboutnada t1_j707crh wrote

I have an available room in a group house, walking distance to the metro if you are interested. PM and I can provide additional info.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j71xz11 wrote

How competitive are group houses, and where could I find info about how to interview/bid for them? I assume Facebook or something?


Vortex2121 t1_j71f293 wrote

Roommates for sure. But also, when you move here make sure to register with WMATA that you have a disability. My coworker has a disability and they provide them a metro shuttle van to get them to and from work. (They have to schedule in advance but it's free!)


Avocadofarmer32 t1_j6zviar wrote

What about living in Rockville or surrounding areas with a roommate? You’re right on the metro and rent is much cheaper.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j6zxl84 wrote

to be perfectly honest (prolly should've included this in the OP) I had this impression that the entire area outside of DC was suburban sprawl. Even with the metro, apartments close to Metro was some kind of luxury thing that the "not rich but still upper middle class" people could afford.. think Arab international students. A lot of them I knew lived out in Bethesda. Glad to hear there's more options than "downtown DC but really we just mean a few NW neighborhoods" aand shlepping myself to/from Baltimore everyday.


scotch_please t1_j6zyr1r wrote

I would probably skip apartment searching in downtown Bethesda and off the Medical Center stop because it's an expensive neighborhood. But anything further up the line toward North Bethesda/Rockville, you'll have rental prices drop a bit.


aup123 t1_j726cwu wrote

If you want to save money but dont care about your own well being you can try to find a place by the Naylor Road metro.


foreverurgirl t1_j6zxxbu wrote

Check out DC’s IZ program and get on the ball early.


glamopticon t1_j701782 wrote

I agree with what many have mentioned — DC is one of the more accessible cities in the country and a good place to find disabled community. I was wondering, since you said you’d applied to higher-paying jobs but this one is the one that is panning out, have you looked into the non-competitive process for federal jobs?

A voc rehab counselor wrote me a schedule A letter once — wasn’t hard to get. I didn’t end up going that direction, but I know some who did who it really worked out for, and they moved up the ladder from there.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j70338x wrote

I already have a Schedule A and utilize it in every opportunity. Maybe my resume should be rewritten by a professional? I got a very generic letter from my glaucoma doctor, I am uncertain what getting a second doc who has followed me more closely would do, tbh.

I have heard slightly different things - does applying to positions "open to the public" while using Schedule A give any benefit, or is it only the non-competitive roles? My current opportunity was under Schedule A and a few federal/military/spouse hiring authoritties.. I was joking around w/ a former Navy friend that I probably got past 20 dependas.


glamopticon t1_j703rva wrote

Gotcha — honestly, I am not familiar enough with the process to answer that, but it does look like they have a link or email to ask questions/speak to a recruiter on that site, if you haven’t already been down that route.

Best of luck!!


OneFootTitan t1_j702zbh wrote

I think if you look on the red line at Rockville or Shady Grove you’ll get more affordable options. r/MontgomeryCountyMD might have people with more specific experience of finding apartments within your price range if that’s the route you want to go. Good luck!


indecisivewandering OP t1_j703ccd wrote

Thanks! It's only after a bit of looking around I recognize this is a purely DC sub, which makes sense. A lot of the Southern (insert large city name) subs include the suburban hellsprawl that goes around them.. I mean it's all one contiguous mass so it makes sense.. I'll look around that other sub, thank you.


thenewbasecamper t1_j704lhk wrote

I think you could consider a building around the Tenley town metro. You will have a good chance of finding a roommate as well because of American University being close


Butts-carltonhere t1_j704wss wrote

Do you have a college degree/working on one? Because that ladder SUCKS and you should be looking at 7/9/11/12 ladders. Or at least 7/9. Single digit ladder that ends at a 7 sounds like a dead end.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j709ybc wrote

I have a degree in political science and about 3 years in purchasing. After over 100 applications this is the first one to give me an maybe it's my resume that is fucked up somehow? I'd love to be on aa 7/9/12 ladder but there seem to be issues whenever I apply at a 7, as if I'm not qualified or something. Every time I have applied for a purchasing or contracting role at a 7 or 9, I've had maybe 1 "eligible" in 30 applications, and no referrals to the hiring manager.


Butts-carltonhere t1_j76g1si wrote

3 years in purchasing - does that mean 3 years in federal procurement?


indecisivewandering OP t1_j77428i wrote

It does not. I've been working in the hospitality industry ordering eeverything under the sun for resorts to function.. However I had assumed it to be equivalent experience, enough to get my foot in the door with a 1102 position as a GS5 or somesuch. I would honestly love to take a COR/FARS related cert if one is available for civilians, because what I'm doing now feels meaningless. I have basically made all the systems my company uses because before me they hadno one doing this job. It's kind of a lot.


Butts-carltonhere t1_j7dhilo wrote

So then yeah, that doesn’t count as experience for a federal contracting position. But a bachelors qualifies you for a GS 7 and you have work experience that should make you look good for a contracting and procurement early career position.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j7dm732 wrote

I graduated in 2020.. would I still be available for such an early career position? I had always assumed "early career = Pathways = locked out outside of the 2yr window".

> doesn’t count as experience for a federal contracting position

So on most applications when it asks if you have "equivalent experience".. that doesn't refer to private sector work? I'm only finding this out now .-.


LattaCooties t1_j709vel wrote

I was making less than 20k a year after taxes and was able to live in DC just fine. Found cheap housing with roommates. Ate a lot of instant ramen.


Wizardof1000Kings t1_j70a1mk wrote

It may be doable, but idk if that is do if you need to be close to the metro. Rent near the metro is much more and most the places you could afford are driving distance from the metro.


LeoMarius t1_j70ft4q wrote

Look to share a place.


RainbowCrown71 t1_j70l3uw wrote

Do you get transit benefits as a fed? How many days do you have to come in? I moved to Prince William and I now pay $2,300 for a 3-bedroom when I was paying that much for a one bedroom in DC proper. And I have VRE next door that’s free with the transit subsidy.

Otherwise, I agree that you’ll have to be creative. A GS-12 is when it starts getting financially stable if you’re single. This region is not cheap.


indecisivewandering OP t1_j71vznm wrote

I am unsure about transit benefits. The telework footing is only 2-3 days each week. they also aren't offering relocation bonuses which.. god yeah this'll be a tight move if I end up making it.


kake-in t1_j70sggg wrote

It'll be tight, but doable with 40k/year. As many people have said, you should definitely plan on having a roommate or few. If it's possible to stay with friends for a little bit (could just be some weekend before you relocate), try to visit apartments or group houses in person. Several friends who moved here from out of the area were scammed on facebook/craigslist housing.

Also people have mentioned it, but negotiate for commuter benefits! I had no idea it was a thing when I first moved to the city and barely scraped by that first year.


marc0011 t1_j70vsmz wrote

Around $40k myself. Living in a house paying $650 rent in a house that is a few blocks from MD. It can be done.


TheDeHymenizer t1_j71vdu4 wrote

Yes but things will be very tight for a very long time and your going to need to be very disciplined in your budgeting and scout out older buildings especially in Southwest and north east


Midnight_Morning t1_j7230t2 wrote

I've done it on $37k a year and lived in low income housing apartments. Check out Fort Chaplin apartments. Benning Road metro station is right down the street and you are on several bus routes as well.


ComradeShyGuy t1_j7dl83d wrote

Live as close to work as possible in a group house. Do not underestimate traffic here.


boldFrontier t1_j70o9ze wrote

I worked in DC as a GS-5 for a year. My mother paid for half my apartment and I still barely made ends meet. In the end it was worth it for my career but very, very difficult.