July 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm #182658
I’m a non-traditional student, single status, and currently enrolled in a MPA program at one of local universities in the D.C. metro area. I already have a Masters in another discipline. I’ve been trying to get a federal government job for several years, but would get knocked out of the running when competing with veterans.
So I finally decided to be “sneaky” (okay, not really) and go back to grad school in order to apply to federal internships and get my foot into the door that way. Well, my plan worked! I’ve been selected for a 1-year Pathways internship and the background check is current in progress. I have no doubt that I will pass the background check.
So what’s the problem? I’m currently a defense contractor with one of the big defense contracting firms in the area. I would be taking a 58% pay cut by accepting this internship. It would also mean taking out a student loan, which I haven’t had to do because of my current, nice salary. I have savings that I can dip into for 12-months, but my savings will pretty much be used up after 12 months. And if I do not get converted over to a permanently employee after 1-year, then I’m really SOL. I have a mortgage too.
Ideally, I would have loved to landed this internship next summer, when I’m almost finished with my MPA….because I wouldn’t have to go into student debt at the age of 35. Granted, it would be only a 20K debt, which isn’t too extreme…but still…debt is debt.
I know I’m holding the “golden ticket” because a lot of students and veterans are trying to get their foot into the door. If I knew that more Pathways internships will be available next year with this specific agency (it’s actually an agency that I’ve always wanted to work for…which makes the decision harder for me), then I would give up my seat in the Pathways program for this year.
Too bad we aren’t allowed to deffer internships for a semester or 2. If I proceed with accepting this Pathways internship, then I’m going to be student poor at the ripe old age of 35. Ugh. This is going to be a financial hardship for me for 12 months and I don’t know what I will do if I don’t get converted over after the year is over.
What would you do in my situation? Do most Pathway interns get converted over to permanent employees?
July 14, 2014 at 6:48 pm #182662
Tough situation but I’d probably take it.
Most of Pathways interns do convert (can’t say 100% as varies by agency and depends on things like gov’t shutdown vs retiring wave and lots of openings)
July 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm #182660
I was a pathway for almost a year and just recently converted.
I know all agencies handle thier pathway program differently but ours gave students the option of part-time or intermittent to allow flexibility for classes and/or a second job.
I took a huge paycut as well but I knew that it would be one of the many sacrifices I’d take as I began my career.
To increase your chances of converting make sure to network within the organization! We were told the purpose of the program is to get students converted but it takes work from both ends.
Anymore questions let me know, I’d be glad to help.
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