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Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

by Prince Of Petworth January 4, 2017 at 9:09 am 137 Comments

dc_neighborhood_news
Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

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  • UDPie

    Rave: Beautiful foggy bike ride into the office.
    Rant: Haven’t had pony time in such a long time. Since I broke my foot, then traveled a ton for work. I need to make it a priority – I’m so much happier with horses in my life!
    Rave: Spent most of my break making my home homier and more organized. It was a lot of work, but hanging bedside lamps, organizing the closet, donating stuff, and yes…putting together Ikea stuff, makes our home feel so much like ours.
    Rave: Won this round of a fight with our PM and landlord – they were doing illegal demolition (without permit, and nothing to code) and I worked through NYC Buildings and through the upper levels of the PM group and got them to suspend construction, agree to a restoration specialist. It’s been three months of work but I finally saw some movement!

  • mtpresident

    Rave: Citicards approved my disputed charge for the scam company purporting to sell “build-on-brick-mugs.” So glad that I use credit cards for nearly every purchase.
    Rant: So disappointed that it wasn’t a real product–they looked very cool!
    Rant: more middle-of-the-night discomfort for mtpbaby, and this time it was well after we’d gone to bed. Ugh. And it took quite awhile for him to fully settle, and well over an hour for me to get back to sleep. Double Ugh.
    Rant/Rave: party to celebrate dear friend’s life is tomorrow. I think it will be lovely, but I think I have a portion of me dreading it for some reason. I think I’ll feel better afterwards, though.
    Rave: Dear friend coming into town for tomorrow’s shindig. I’m going to bail on work early to go hang out for a couple of hours.

    • eggs

      Re: the mugs – I saw those on ThinkGeek’s site for sale, almost bought one for my husband for Christmas. Is that who you bought it through? You should definitely report it to whatever site had them listed for sale!

      • eggs
      • Anonamom

        I have bought those before as gifts (from ThinkGeek) and they were a huge hit! They are definitely real, mtpresident!

      • mtpresident

        That is definitely NOT who I tried to buy them from. The other outfit called themselves build-on-brick mug or something like that, and must have grabbed screen shots from think geek. Glad I ranted about it!

        • mtpresident

          Though, sadly, it is currently out of stock. Bummer! Perhaps they’ll be re-stocked at some point.

          • I looks like they have some in stock on Amazon. Including a few that are sold by Think Geek.

          • mtpresident

            You guys are the best! Didn’t even occur to me to check elsewhere….

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rant: Headache
    Rant: My workplace is normally a pretty happy and collegial place, but people are feeling awful unhappy these days (predates the election, though I’m sure that doesn’t help).
    Rave: Tea. Always tea. Today, it’s Rockville Raspberry, which my mother bought me purely for the name, but it’s actually good.

  • LittleBluePenguin

    Rant: I cannot get through to an actual human person on the phone with Washington Gas. I want to throttle them!
    Rant: I am going to miss my main concierge guy so so much! I almost started to cry when we started talking this morning.
    Rave: Packing is coming along, slowly but surely.
    Rant: Poor sleep – didn’t get to bed til after midnight, and then I woke up several times due to bizarre dreams – something to do with me being a publisher for Maurice Sendak’s sister? Weird. I don’t even know if he has a sister!
    Rant: EVERY SINGLE ESCALATOR at the Petworth metro was not working. I lived in NYC for a while so I’m used to hoofing it up and down stairs, but the difference there is that their staircases are nowhere near as long and deep as the Metro entrances/exits here. Watching an elderly couple try to navigate the non-working escalator should shame them, but Metro knows no shame.

    • Anonymous

      This morning? I rode a working escalator. Maybe it was a temporary outage. I wonder why the elderly couple didn’t take the elevator.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        I don’t know, but at 7:50ish this morning, not a single escalator was working.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        oh, and the elevator was on the opposite side of the street as the couple was – they had suitcases and I don’t think they were familiar with their options.

        • Anonymous

          I guess no one offered to help them?

          • LittleBluePenguin

            I don’t know, I caught sight of them as I was rushing through the gates and they were at the bottom of the escalator stairwell….

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Performance review. I hate doing them.
    Rave: The person I have to review today should be happy with my review; I gave higher marks that they gave themselves.
    Rave: Tea. Seriously y’all, tea is my life force.

    • mtpresident

      Lol on your last rave. Like sister, like sister? : )

      • Emmaleigh504

        We take our tea seriously : )

        • Quotia Zelda

          We get it from our mother!

          • Emmaleigh504

            Who got it from her mother.

    • topscallop

      My supervisor consistently rates me higher than I rate myself on performance reviews. It’s hard for me to see myself objectively, I think.

      • After 2 go rounds of this with my current supervisor, I started to do my self review, then go back and inflate each score 10-20%, then still get higher marks from him.
        I realized that I am much harder on myself and really focused on the small issues rather than the big improvements. Now, in my 5th year in this job I am completely ready and willing to accept my praise (I got a lot at my mid year yesterday(!)), but I do still needlessly needle myself on the little stuff and sometimes paint the negative narrative that my review will be bad and I’ll be found out.
        Impostor syndrome is real.

        • Emmaleigh504

          Impostor syndrome is so real. I’m training a new hire and I keep thinking I”m giving the new hire crappy instruction. They are doing great, but I swear it’s nothing to do with me.

  • maxwell smart

    REVEAL: I recently found out that I my billing rate on projects is lower than several junior staff in my office with significantly less experience and expertise… which then makes me wonder if I’m being paid based on my billing rate, I’m getting screwed. Billing rates, while not publicly posted, are also not restricted access either – if you know where to look, anyone in the office could access them. I’m just not sure if I should talk to someone about it.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      If your billing rate is lower than the junior staff members, then I would assume your salary is lower too. I always thought billing rates were tied to salary. That’s why it gets convoluted with raises because they can only pay you so much before you get priced out of the contract–depending on the contract of course.

  • Anon

    Question: Has anyone used Command hooks for hanging up a curtain rod? Does it actually stay up? Or have you found another trick for hanging up curtains without drilling? (besides just tacking them to the wall…)

    • cachito

      I’ve been known to use a tension rod before, but then the curtain will only hang IN the window, and not have the nice overlap you may expect. But it is an easy, drill-free way to hang them.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I have not done this, but I use Command hooks for lots of things and have no doubt it would work for a lightweight rod for a curtain that just “hangs there,” provided you follow the instructions for surface prep (clean with alcohol, etc). If this is a curtain that you will be pulling open and closed multiple times daily or is particularly heavy, I don’t know.

    • Blithe

      This won’t work with all types of windows, but would a tension rod work? I’ve only used this for curtains that stayed in place though, so this might not be a great solution for curtains that you want to open and close a lot, or if you have kids/pets that might tug on them.

      • Anon

        There are already blinds in the windows, so I can’t fit a tension rod.

    • Just my opinion

      If this Is for a rental they are next to impossible to get off the wall (no matter what the directions say) and will probably damage the paint when removed. Just something to know ahead of time.

    • God Bless the Chickpea

      I’ve used Command hooks in three apartments to hang curtains for this very reason. They work as long as your curtains and the rod itself aren’t heavy (used them for floor-length blackout curtains and it took four hooks to hold them up. Second that they’re best for curtains you don’t want to mess with too much (I only used them in my bedroom to block light). They can strip paint though, as another person commented, despite what 3M says.

  • That One Guy

    Rant: Trying to make restaurant reservation for sister and BIL’s birthday but then realizing that the inauguration is going to make coming into the city a nightmare. Time to rethink things.
    Rave: Maybe it was going to bed earlier, but I’m in a good mood. (I probably just jinxed myself.)

  • Irving Streete

    Dilemma: Trying to balance the moral, political , financial and familial considerations of sucking up to incoming administration appointees in hopes of recapturing a higher-status job I once had, at least as a transition stopgap. The thought being that probably all politicals will be fired, but having someone who can step right away into this position would make everyone’s life easier (so they might keep me on for the better position while firing me from the worser position). It’s not like I’m at EPA or Labor or HHS, where the incoming appointee is actually making war on the American Dream…

    • BRKLND

      My personal opinion is that the more “normals” (I’m being somewhat facetious) we can get in positions like that to try to keep the extra crazy business from happening the better off we will be. By providing expert non-partisan recommendations of course.

      • Irving Streete

        I’m not a policy guy, so my influence will be pretty marginal, sadly, though I do have brilliant, progressive ideas to offer. ;)

      • anonymouse_dianne

        I am a GS’er and I would plus plus this. The more “normal” and more Bernie fans that hang around the better.

      • skj84

        I agree. I know people who don’t want to work for the administration and I respect that. But we need more progressive people in the roles. I don’t know if it will make any difference, but its giving some sort of balance. I have another friend who is in the same boat and I would totally support her decision if she decided to stay.

      • anonymous fed

        Agree as well. I support anyone in my agency who is in a similar position. Distasteful in the short run, but the potential to be better for everyone.
        .
        Even if they were to appoint someone fully sane and/or decent, I’d prefer having someone high up with experience and institutional knowledge.

  • Andie302

    Query: Does anyone have a brand of ceiling fan that’s not ridiculously expensive but that has worked well for you? It seems like everyone single one I’ve encountered is potentially going to fly off at any minute with some sort of ninja star-like incident, and I would like to avoid that if I’m installing them in three bedrooms! Thank you!

    • Anonymous

      “is potentially going to fly off at any minute…”
      .
      What makes you think that? I’ve never heard of a ceiling fan doing that (though I’m sure it’s happened at least once.)

      • FridayGirl

        I’ve seen several that have looked like that but I’ve never stuck around to find out! Hahahah!

    • Anonamom

      Andie, from my limited experience with ceiling fans, that wobbly-ninja-star thing is due to poor installation. Even an expensive fan will do this if poorly installed. There are things in the ceiling that will help to fasten better.

      • Andie302

        Agree on this and I’m hoping that whoever installs these knows what they are doing! To answer the question above, they wobble, make weird inconsistent noises, and if you turn up the power, the problems get worse. We only use our bedroom one now on low, the one I had in my last place was similar. Maybe it’s that I never notice well-installed ones!!!

        • Anonymous

          Thanks (I asked the question above.) I’m inclined to agree with Anonamom and the solution *might* be as simple as balancing the blades or tightening some screws. Lots of good information on the internet about fixing wobbly ceiling fans.

    • kgw

      We installed this in our bedroom this Fall and I love it. At the lowest speed (all we are using right now) it’s super quiet. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I5T1CF0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

      • anono

        I second minka aire. I replaced all the fans in my condo (for fear of them ninja-star-ing off my ceiling as well) with various Minka Aire fans. They are SO QUIET and seriously move the air around. I obsessively researched ceiling fans at the time, and they got the most consistent ratings. I am glad I am not the only one who had visions of a ceiling fan helicoptering off my ceiling and onto my bed as I slept.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I have 3 “Hampton Bay” ceiling fans (I believe that is basically the Home Depot store brand) and one Westinghouse ceiling fan and they’re all fine. A couple of them wobble a tiny little bit, but not an amount that I regard as unusual or concerning. A couple of relevant notes: all of mine are flush mount (no downrod) and I installed them all myself.

    • MPinDC

      I have three Hunter fans that have been solid and not-wobbly for many years. A bit surprising, since they were installed by a not-expert (me).

    • HaileUnlikely

      Besides the easy stuff noted above, a couple of other things that I would check if I had not installed the fan myself are:
      .
      1.) Is it installed using an appropriate receptacle, and if needed, mounting bracket, for a ceiling fan? Worst case scenario is that it is mounted to a receptacle made only for a light fixture which is itself mounted on a bracket that is made only for a light fixture. If this is the case, it may be in actual danger of falling down. When I bought my house (was in very bad shape; a buyer with more money and experience would have probably gutted it), I found two ceiling fans that were installed using equipment made only for light fixtures (not fans) and they were in serious danger of falling down.
      .
      2.) If it is a flush-mount, the mounting bracket needs to be perfectly level. If the mounting bracket is not perfectly level, then you can play around with the blades forever and it will still wobble. If it has a downrod, this is much less important (I am tempted to say “doesn’t matter at all,” but I’m not sure if that’s true, but having the bracket perfectly level is way less important with a downrod than with a flush-mount).

    • spookiness

      I self-installed 3 Lowe’s house brand units in my apartment. In my former house I had 2 Hunters installed. all were fine. The Lowe’s have been surprisingly good. Helps if the installation is with a small downrod instead of flush mount, and I am handier that some people, but the installation method is easier than it used to be. In years past I had experience with a few dirt-cheap ceiling fans which were hummy and rattly, but the Lowe’s units have really impressed me. They are quiet, balanced, and move good air even at low speed.

    • AMDCer

      Agreed to what everyone has said re: installation, but just to offer another brand, check out Lumens fans. I got one installed in my bedroom a couple of years ago and love it – and no rattles, wobbles at all.

    • Anon

      Big Ass Fans. They’re not cheap, but they sure are awesome.

  • CatieCat

    Question: We recently started using a dog walking service during the day. It’s $16/walk, which adds up over 20 walks or so a month, but is competitive with what else is out there. When I pay on the company’s website it asks me how much I want to tip the walker. I was kinda surprised by this. I know the walker is employed by the company and not making 100% of the $16, but if every walk ends up being $17/18 with a tip, it just adds up, ya know? Anyone go through one of these companies? If so, do you tip? Am I an awful person?

    • artemis

      A friend pays $25 a day for her dogwalker.

      • That’s insane! Is that more than one dog or special needs or something?
        I also pay $16 a day, but I’ve never seen an option to tip. If I bake I usually put a baggie of those items with a note on them and tip at Christmas.

    • FridayGirl

      Is this Wag or whatever it’s called or a different one? I think it’s reasonable if you need a walker, and you don’t necessarily have to tip although it’s particularly nice especially when the weather isn’t so great or if your dog isn’t particularly well-trained on a leash. I have a friend who walks through a company like this and they are sometimes tipped and sometimes not (although of course they always try to go back and walk the dogs where they’ve received tips, especially if they’re well behaved).

    • palisades

      I know this isn’t really the answer you’re looking for, but if you want to tip the walker, I would do it in person. Who knows if that tip money on the website is actually going to the walker

      • FridayGirl

        I disagree. I mean, leaving cash is fine but walkers do get tips… just like Lyft drivers get their tips. I’ve never heard otherwise. There would be a major uproar and the business would collapse if it was that shady.

        • Anon Spock

          How would the walker know there was a tip they didn’t receive? I feel like lyft would show up more readily.

          • FridayGirl

            Honestly, I feel like everyone is thinking way too much into this. I mean, people still tip their waiters at restaurants and how do we know the waiters get it? Most people hire dog walkers because they can’t be home — but I don’t think a semi-irrational fear should stop people from tipping if they feel someone did a good job.

          • FridayGirl

            Plus I should emphasize that these new on-demand walking services have the client tip AFTER the walk. It’s not like they have to do it when they hire someone. It’s exactly like Lyft.

          • Anon Spock

            Well, servers either get cash or they see the credit card receipt reflecting x tip. I’m not sure how that’s analogous to a 3rd party accepting payment on your behalf. I’ve never used uber, lyft, or am on demand dog walker; that’s why I asked.
            Tipping in cash would seem to quell any fears no matter how semi-irrational they may be.

      • JoDa

        I feel like we’ve all heard horror stories about companies that accept tips online or on credit cards and don’t pass them on to the person actually providing the service. However, every one of those companies is breaking the law, and their misbehavior shouldn’t be the primary concern of someone looking at a service company.
        .
        Unfortunately, $16/30 minutes is pretty standard around these parts. It’s a lot of money if you’re someone like me, who walked their neighbor’s dog at 13 for $3/30 minutes nominal (slightly >$5 real) and thought that was pretty good money at that age. But you have to ask yourself…would you, today, ask your 13-year-old neighbor if she’d like to earn some money by walking your dog? If the answer is yes, you’d be willing to give her keys to your house to do so, and, well, you have a young neighbor who would be willing to do that at the times you need it, then there is your solution.
        .
        The hilarious thing about that “job” (which I did 3x/week for 2 years) was that the dog owner was most concerned that I would steal from her home, so she insisted that my mom give her a copy of the fingerprints that were taken at a “missing kid kit” drive. About three years later, I woke up to blaring lights and sirens late, and saw her being led out of her home in handcuffs. She had been embezzling from the non-profit she worked for over several years, and ended up convicted of multiple crimes earning her a sentence of 20+ years in prison. So you were worried I would steal the things you stole? HAHAHAHA…well, I guess I know why you thought everyone was a thief!

    • kharr89

      Related: Does anyone have suggestions for a walking service that will walk dogs individually? My dog is dog reactive and it seems all the services I’ve explored only do group walks. Ideas?

      • MPinDC

        What neighborhood are you in? My dog walker does individual walks

        • kharr89

          Sorry, that probably would have been important information! I’m in Bloomingdale.

          • houseintherear

            Sophie Givens has been walking my pup in BDale for a few months now and she’s wonderful. He can’t be walked with other dogs, and is slow and old, and she’s nothing but patient and sweet all the time. She is on yelp as “Dog Walks by Sophie” or something similar.

        • MPinDC

          she doesn’t work in Bloomingdale — good luck finding someone!

      • FridayGirl

        Wag! does individual walks. It’s like an Uber for walkers. I’m pretty sure that’s what CatieCat above is likely referring to.

        • CatieCat

          It’s actually not Wag. We use Rover (which is the same as wag) for overnight stays. Its a local operation called Wagamuffin. There are a ton, District dogs, and others. So its not like some big tech company keeping most of the money. It’s a mom and pop operation in the first place, then they hire walkers. Im just so conflicted. I guess Christmas came and went and I didnt give anything. Ugh

          • JoDa

            Rover keeps 15% of the advertised rate. It’s not nothing, but it’s not “most.” I sometimes sit with Rover (I travel a lot, and also want free time, so my calendar is not particularly “open”), and I’ve found them to be fair. At the same time, I’ve only had a rare tip, and only for going far above and beyond. If I felt I was worth more than my advertised fee, I’d increase my advertised fee…

      • Anon Spock

        Rover and dogvacay offer walking. You can check doesn’t own a dog or takes 1 dog at a time in filters. I’ve used both sites for boarding, but I’ve had great experiences across the board.

      • CatieCat

        I second the recs for Rover and Wag. Check out District Dogs (i think.) Not sure if they do bloomingdale. I think some companies will charge a premium to have it only be your dog. I think ours may get a solo walk, but only because there’s not other dogs nearby.
        Also, my pup is leash/dog reactive, but oddly does ok in group dog walks/daycare. So maybe your dog will do fine..

    • It’s just me

      This is strange. When I had a dog, I’d tip the walker at Christmas. Something like a week or two of what I paid him in cash.

      • FridayGirl

        Some of the new on-demand walking set-ups don’t always give the same walker to the same dogs. That’s why.

  • BRKLND

    Rant: Ugh! Despite entering at exactly 9 am I still was not able to get tickets to the NMAAHC for a weekend day. I’m not picky about timing I wish that you could just put how many tickets you want and then they offer you what times/dates are still available. Waiting in a queue for one specific time for 20 minutes makes it so that all the other times are also being taken.
    Rant: Did not get selected for the job I wanted despite being a “very strong candidate” – I asked for feedback on what to improve with no response. Job searching is officially the worst.
    ???: Applied to a couple other agencies, one of which I know I am qualified so I am keeping my fingers super crossed for an interview. I thought it was supposed to be easier to get a gov job if you are already in a gov job?
    Rave: I currently have a job.

    • Quotia Zelda

      Yeah, I gave up when I was still in the queue after 15 minutes.
      And I hear you on the job thing, too. It sucks (Also, I don’t need an awkward in-person meeting to hear that I didn’t get the job [which hey, I knew that because I didn’t get an interview] but they still think I’m really swell. A phone call would have been just fine. Clearly, not being bitter is still a work in progress.)

    • the museum was awesome

      The same-day tickets go up on the NMAAH website at 6:30AM. If you want your pick of the schedule for the day, I recommend that you go online right when they open it up for the day. I did this last week and it worked beautifully. Then I went back to bed :)

      • BRKLND

        Good to know. I was trying to do it in advance so I could take a friend and her daughter but they live out of town so I’m not sure same day would work. Can you request up to 6 tickets on same day as well?

        • Museum was awesome

          Max is 4

    • FridayGirl

      “I thought it was supposed to be easier to get a gov job if you are already in a gov job?”
      .
      It is but you’re still competing with vets and other people with non-competitive status, plus any within-office hires.

      • BRKLND

        I know I am more just whining in frustration as I have been searching for almost a year and have had two really close but not quite hires and its starting to make me sad.

      • Formerly ParkViewRes

        Also, even though they’re not supposed to there’s so much cherry picking. They post the job, might even do interviews, but all along they knew they were going to hire Joe Smith for the position. Announcement closes, Joe Smith is hired.

    • CatieCat

      How odd: I forgot to log on, logged on at 9:40, and 5 minutes later had tickets for a weekend at the end up april. Wondering if being on my cell instead of a desktop helped…

  • MPinDC

    Rant: Home sick with sniffles and sneezing
    Rave: Spicy soup for a late breakfast
    Rant: Wish my cooking elf had made cornbread
    Rave: Time to read a good book especially with a snuggle dog, fuzzy blanket, cup of hot tea (Constant Comment, and I’m not sure if it was my mother or grandmother who always drank this tea)

    • LittleBluePenguin

      oh! Constant Comment is one of my absolute favorites! I can remember coming in from playing in the snow and my dad setting out mugs of piping hot Constant Comment and Sweetzel’s spiced wafers….yum!

  • RabbitRabbitRabbit

    Rant: Woke up with a stye and managed to slam my forehead into the dryer door. Today’s not looking very good at this point.
    Rave: At least that scoop of chocolate gelato in my coffee this morning added a little bit of happiness
    Rave: The Other Mrs. Rabbit has to burn a vacation day (she’s maxed out again) so we’re playing tourist tomorrow. I’m finally going to get to see NMAAHC.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Question: can anyone recommend a service to sell stuff on ebay or Craig’s list? I have some appliances that are new and never used (eg a juicer I bought when I was diagnosed with cancer) and I’d like to sell them for space. I know such people exist I just don’t know how to locate them.

    • Blithe

      Would TaskRabbit do things like this? I know this sounds funny, but have you checked Craig’s list? It’s possible that people / services that can do this for you might advertise their services on Craig’s list.

    • textdoc

      I don’t know of a service that you could outsource the selling to, but… if you can’t readily find one and if it’s too much hassle on your end to do it yourself, maybe the next best thing would be to donate the items to Goodwill (or similar) and take the tax deduction (and enjoy the benefit of the cleared space, if not the cash)?

  • Blithe

    Question for the PoPulace: Major Rave: Yesterday I saw a job that I’m interested in! But: The deadline is tomorrow, and I’ve never done an application through USAJobs. And I won’t have time to get anyone else to proofread. If anyone has suggestions, advice, tips, tricks, warnings about pitfalls, I’d appreciate it.
    Rave: At least the deadline is one minute before midnight— instead of the old school CoB cut-off.
    Duh: Managed to locate a copy of my transcript. (Yes!) And I hope that I can get it scanned, save it to a flash drive as a pdf, so that I can send it as an attachment. If there’s another/better way to do this, again, I welcome any and all suggestions.
    Rant: Haven’t found a copy of my undergrad transcript – yet.
    Ravish: I’m really excited about the possibilities that this job could offer me. Yay!

    • Anonynon

      Advice on USAJOBS: Avoid like the plague…bottomless black hole

      • FridayGirl

        Not helpful. Blithe, you can try the trick where you paste the job announcement in white font at the bottom of your application. I’ve heard that’s a thing. But I’ve never tried it and can’t guarantee that it won’t make you look funny.

      • textdoc

        +1 to FridayGirl on this — that was a totally unhelpful reply.

        • Anonynon

          Yup. Totally necessary

      • ae

        Blithe asked for advice, anonynon gave his/her opinion. Nothing wrong with that.

        • textdoc

          I’d take advice like “Avoid USAJOBS” a lot more seriously if it came from a more seasoned job applicant — say, a current Fed with 10-15 years of experience — than from a contractor in his mid-20s.

          • FridayGirl

            Ha, yeah, I was going to say… ae, I don’t think you’ve met Anonynon before.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I have no firsthand experience but have heard from many people (including successful applicants) that it is much more important to figure out what specific keywords they want to hear and to use those specific keywords than to write beautiful eloquent prose, under the assumption that it will first be screened by a computer and/or by a person with zero subject-matter knowledge who is really just looking to see if your application checks all of the right boxes.

      • Blithe

        Thanks! I really appreciate your suggestions! I will be re-reading, and re-re-reading your comments when I get bogged down by –my less than useful — desire for eloquent prose.

    • MPinDC

      An obvious tip, but answer every question and submit all the documents requested (hope you find your undergrad transcript!)
      If you have to answer questions about your level of expertise (from expert to no experience), give yourself the highest rating that you can reasonably justify. And make sure your resume reflects the level of expertise
      Include performance metrics if possible
      Be detailed but concise!
      .
      also check out gogovernment org application tips

      • textdoc

        +1 to “If you have to answer questions about your level of expertise (from expert to no experience), give yourself the highest rating that you can reasonably justify. And make sure your resume reflects the level of expertise.”

      • Blithe

        Thanks for the link! Update: There’s a possibility that a copy of my college transcript will get delivered by tomorrow! I’m still looking — but glad that I have a plan b, since my time will be much better spent on dealing with the application.

    • textdoc

      Try to pack your resume with keywords from the job announcement.
      .
      Keep in mind that preparing a good application via USAJOBS can take several hours. Get a copy of the online questionnaire so that you can “rehearse” your answers, especially if there are any open-ended questions with textboxes for answers. (If there are any textboxes, make sure to use keywords in your responses.) You want to knock them over the head (via your resume and via any textbox answers) with examples of how your experience fits what they’re asking for.
      .
      I recommend these guides:
      .
      http://wayback.archive.org/web/20120308002531/http://www.sanford.duke.edu/career/graduate/documents/fed_resumes.pdf
      http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs141p2_023462.pdf
      https://web.archive.org/web/20070305201856/http://www.federaljobsearch.com/insiders/insiders
      .
      Past PoPville discussions of the application process for federal jobs,:
      .
      https://www.popville.com/2014/01/from-the-forum-resume-service-for-federal-job/
      https://www.popville.com/2013/03/dear-popville-looking-for-advice-on-finding-a-federal-job/
      https://www.popville.com/2012/02/random-reader-rant-andor-revel-432/#comment-440183
      https://www.popville.com/2012/01/random-reader-rant-andor-revel-419/#comment-433245

      • MPinDC

        I knew this question had been discussed in previous R&R’s but don’t have your searching skills!!

      • Blithe

        WOW! You’re an awesome, awesome resource textdoc! Thank you very, very much! (repetitions were deliberate.)

    • Andie302

      Take your resume and add bullets to each position with wayyyy more detail than you think is necessary. I ended up with like 4 pages the last time I applied for something. No one is going to judge you for a long resume, but an HR person that knows nothing about the position and does some kind of mysterious key word search might exclude you if there isn’t a ton of information available. The more detail, the better.

      If there’s a question where you’re waiving on whether you do it “some, or some without supervision” etc., choose the one that has you doing the task more often.

      I hope this helps!

      • textdoc

        +1 to “wayyyy more detail than you think is necessary.” I think the last time I redid my USAJOBS resume, it was like 8 pages long.
        .
        In my experience, the biggest single hurdle is making it past HR. HR is not looking to extrapolate, put two and two together, etc. — you have to spell everything out very clearly and use as many keywords as you can, in the hope that they’re satisfied and advance you to the next level.

      • eggs

        Yep, a good friend of mine is a civilian for one of the military branches and his is about 12 pages long.

      • Blithe

        Thanks for these suggestions! My next step is to print out the job description and highlight the key words. Then I’ll read through my cv and see where I can appropriately stick them in.

    • MPinDC

      For proofreading, try reading the document backwards.

    • textdoc

      On the transcript and attachment: I think USAJOBS allows you to create a base resume and to upload a bunch of documents. I’m fairly sure you can upload your transcript as one of those documents — just get the process started by opening a USAJOBS account, creating a resume (you will need to pad your existing resume with LOTS of details/examples and keywords from the job announcement), etc.

      • Anon Spock

        Yup. You can upload a bunch of different documents.

    • ZetteZelle

      Good luck!

      I was able to get a Fed job from outside the gov’t. The key for me was working off the job description and the additional-info questions. I opened a copy of my basic resume in one Microsoft Word window, and pasted a copy of the job description, qualifications and informational questions into a second Word document. With the two documents side by side, I went through the job description line by line. When the job description said that the job required someone to “Act in a high level analytical capacity,” I found a spot where I’d done analysis and replaced “Prepare analyses on xyz” with “Act in a high level analytical capacity in preparing reports related to xyz.” I then highlighted “Act in a high level analytical capacity” in both documents, so I could see both how much of the description & questions I was capturing in my resume, and how much of my resume related to the description. I wound up with about a 60-75% match between my resume and the agency-provided description/questions. Once I was done with this work in Word, I pasted the resume into USAJobs. This enabled me to get past the HR screening.

      • textdoc

        ^^^ Excellent advice from ZetteZelle. For each job you apply for, tailor your resume as much as you can to reflect wording from the job announcement.

      • AB

        This is good advice. Doing this is the only way I’ve gotten first referred and then interviewed. No luck yet on selection but the first two steps are important hurdles.

      • Blithe

        Thank you for taking the time to walk me through this. I really appreciate your excellent — and very specific — suggestions!

        • dcd

          I am late to this, but have only two things to add – the advice I received many years ago mirrors what others have said – seeding your resume or the answers to whatever those questions are called (I forget, it’s been so long) is essential. I believe in many instances, submissions are sun through an algorithm that looks for certain words and phrases. Second (and I hope this is not needed), don’t get discouraged. It’s exceedingly hard to get hired from outside the government, especially with veteran preferences, internal hiring, etc. Many moons ago, when I applied for some jobs, I learned later they already had identified who they intended to hire, and only posted the job because it was required (The Rooney Rule for Government). No one I know was hired on their first try with the government, with the exception of the junior lawyers who all went to work for Homeland Security when it was first conceived (and we’re definitely NOT in that kind of hiring situation now). Good luck – I sometimes yearn for one of the jobs I applied for (which might be the biggest sinecure in the government – the exception, not the rule!).

          • Blithe

            Thank you for your kind — and wise — words! I unexpectedly came upon this job description — and it seems like a very good fit for my somewhat unusual skill set. While I won’t be overly discouraged , or at least I hope I won’t, if I don’t get it, I’ll be extremely happy if I do!

      • ZetteZelle

        The key really is to be specific even when it seems weird or awkward. If the description says “analyze financial figures in Excel,” don’t mention that you’ve “used Excel to analyze finances”–to a human being these two things mean the same, but I don’t have faith that a human being will make the call as to whether you make the cert or not.

        • Blithe

          Wow! Thank you for making this point! Not only would it not have occurred to me, I probably would have deliberately tried to mix things up a bit to avoid being repetitive. I will do my best to write for the computer.

    • Blithe

      Many thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement, suggestions, and links! I very much appreciate your help with this!

  • topscallop

    Rant: apartment hunting. We have one application in but I’ve sent so many inquiries and gotten back hardly any responses!
    Rave: things coming together for my upcoming work trip that has had me stressed for weeks. I have a lot to do but hopefully it will pay off. And either way I get a few days of free time in Thailand and get to miss the inauguration
    Rave? On a lot of the blogs I read/facebook posts I’ve seen in the past few days, people are raving about the Netflix documentary on Minimalism. I kind of want to watch it this week but then will I feel even more pressured to clear out all the things? Or inspired?

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      My wife and I watched it over the holiday. It did inspire me to clear out some of my clothes, but then again I try to do that 2-3 times a year. For me, it was a nice reminder to live my life how I want and don’t feel pressured to buy things. They touch on how minimalism doesn’t look the same way it does for him as another person. It was an interesting doc.

  • Anonamom

    Query: Can any of you lawyer types tell me how difficult it will be to move jurisdiction of a family court case from DC to Maryland? Do I need to file in DC first to get it moved, or just file in Maryland? For what it’s worth, MD does definitely have jurisdiction now.

    • Anon Spock

      The Google tells me it takes a motion. There is a handbook for dc family law online, and it may include this info or give you a number to call for more info.

  • Rave/rant?: I lost a decent amount of weight without really trying, eg I lost muscle. It’s nice to see the number on the scale go down 5-6 pounds, but I don’t think anything fits differently and this just reinforces my need to focus more on weight training.
    Rant: I really think Christmas should be January 25th, that way we can enjoy the lights and music through the dull drums of winter. I feel like I should give up my Swinging Christmas station, but I’m just not happy with any of my replacements.
    Rave: made delicious white bean, kielbasa, spinach stew-type stuff and had leftovers for lunch.

    • Anon Spock

      If you’re weight training, I’m guessing it’d be tough to lose that much muscle in short order. Water weight maybe?

    • Quotia Zelda

      Well, Christmas does go through Jan 6 (Epiphany), so you’ve got a few more days yet.
      And that’s one (of many) thing that’s so great about living in s. Louisiana. When the Christmas season ends, the Carnival season begins, and it’s full of parties, parades, and king cake to get you through the winter. By the time Lent rolls around, spring is beginning, days are getting longer, and things don’t seem so dire.

  • anon

    Question: Have any Popville ladies gotten the HPV vaccine at an age where it isn’t covered by insurance, and if so, how much did it cost? Any idea whether it’s cheaper to go through one’s regular doctor vs. some kind of clinic?

    • artemis

      I got it and paid out of pocket. This was almost eight or nine years ago, so I don’t quite remember. But I *think* it was around $250 a shot, and there are a series of three. I just went to my regular gyno. You could call Planned Parenthood and ask what it charges. I plan to pay out of pocket for it when my son is old enough. From a public health standpoint, we really should be vaccinating boys as well as girls.

      • Anonamom

        Artemis, your insurance will most likely cover Baby Artie’s series. It is now a standard offer at most pediatrician’s offices for both boys and girls, and is also covered by the vast majority of insurances for both boys and girls. Pseudo-stepson got it at 14 and it was completely covered. Generally, insurances only pay for vaccines up to a certain age, which varies from insurance to insurance, vaccine to vaccine, but in general, it will be covered for children.

    • SKT

      I wasn’t over the age limit, but my insurance at the time didn’t cover it. There are 3 shots at $180 per shot, and I had it done at my OB/GYN (Capital Women’s Care).

    • anon

      Thanks. Planned Parenthood is telling me it’s $285 a shot, and there are three shots, so I think I’d better shop around.

      • anon

        Looks like Minute Clinic (formerly CVS Clinic) is cheaper than Planned Parenthood — $235 per shot.

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