I have seen a lot of that also (people with 25, 30 years of service), waiting until the buyout will be profitable to them. They will run the calculations each time a buyout is offered.
And, depending upon the field, young new bright ideas, well unless it is some sort of a scientific or technical job, there will be no place for bright new ideas. Most of the careers fields are bogged down in regulations (with no leeway what so ever to be imaginative). So why do we push that so hard, other than it sounds good.
Now, let’s go back to why staffing is so rule driven. And part of why it takes so long to hire a person. The vast majority of it is because of the rules of law themselves. Why are there so many rules of laws, doubles checks, etc. Because, we can’t trust managers to do the right thing during the hiring process without them. Without the rules of law, we would return to the spoils system from back in the 1880’s and earlier. At that time, almost the entire civil service changed every 4 to 8 years, as new Presidents came in. Do we want to go back to that?
I remember when the President came out with that 80 day hiring mandate. I looked at it and went, if management selects someone without a security clearance, it’s going to take at least 90 days to get one. So how will I ever make the 80 day model. But, I found ways to keep the numbers down.
Likewise, you can go to the OPM site and review the laws on RIF, and tell exactly where you would sit in the pecking order, and see how many would go before they get to you. As most folks here know, I am a 30% or more Disabled Veteran. I would hate to see a RIF, because once they get rid of all those non-Vets, guess who would be left to pick up the work load.