Top 5 – Worst living locations to have a federal job

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I’m writing a little series on Top 5s. I’ll write my top 5s on various topics and I encourage you to write yours.

Millions of federal jobs, thousands of locations…So where are the worst places to be working as a fed?

1 – NYC – The most expensive place in the U.S. to live. Cost of living increases don’t really help. It’s not HQ so grades are still low.

2 – Baltimore – You are the field location HQ always comes to. They always bring the new bigwig by to show off and pay close attention when you are screwing up.

3 – San Francisco. See #1. Plus, all the cool tech companies make your workplace feel even more boring.

4 – Crane, IN or other ridiculously small town in the middle of nowhere that has random big gov’t facility.yes””> Some love it for cost of living.yes””> For those not married, it is a nightmare when driving 3 hours to Indianapolis is the nightlife.

5 – And for 99% of folks…the answer is DC…Too much stress, pressure, no place to live, cost of living is too high

What have been your worst places to live as a government employee?

**If you’re looking for your next federal job, check & make sure to sign-up for our top 10 openings each week by field**

===> Check out some of my other “Top 5’s” ====>

Top 5: Reasons You Didn’t Get the Promotion

Top 10: What Works in Social Media

Top 5: Ways to Handle a Boring Meeting

Top 5 Signs You Need a New Job

Top 5: Ways to Look Important at the Office

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Radiah Givens-Nunez

That’s funny NYC, is #1:>( it’s also difficult to obtain a federal job in NYC from my obsevations….

Andrew Krzmarzick

How about Atlanta? A southern city with charm, but the drivers are the most aggressive in the country! GDOT – more power to ya!

Sue Webster

In response to your post re. top 5 and your thoughts on the worst places to be working as a fed…while it is true that Crane IN is 2 hours away from Bloomington, it is also located very close to several unique and special small communities with a variety of offerings depending upon your interests. Bloomington, IN is located very close and is a college town full of entertainment and fun activities. The Crane Division Naval Surface Warfare Center offers employees the opportunity to serve our country. I would hate for folks to be turned away because they think the quality of life is poor when in fact, there are many opportunities nearby. You simply have to be open to checking it out!

Sue Webster

Correction. Crane IN is only 30 MINUTES away from Bloomington, IN, not 2 hours away as I posted late last night. Big difference. Very convenient to entertainment in the area.

Tony Edwards

Indiana University, a mere thirty minute drive from the Crane installation, has consistently ranked in the top 20 of “partying schools” in America according to the annual Princeton Review and was ranked #1 in this category in 2002. Bloomington, Indiana is also one of the most culturally diverse cities in the Midwest. So unless you are a total social misfit, the lower cost of living, the awesome rolling hills scenery of Hoosier National Forest, and the chance to use your science and engineering skills to support the war-fighters of America, all make NSWC Crane a great place to work, live it up, or raise a family. Crane is also a Nationally ranked agency for it’s hiring programs for disabled Veterans like myself…Thank You Crane!!!

Pamela Ingram

We tend to think we have the best of both worlds working at NSWC Crane. We’re only 30 minutes from Bloomington which has a pretty active nightlife. We’re also within 2 hours of Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, or Evansville; each having robust nightlife, arts, entertainment, etc. We have access to every activity we could want without the stress of commuting and working in an urban area. Our school systems are wonderful, traffic is never an issue, cost of living is low, and we have all the “small town” activities that many areas don’t have anymore. Commuting to and from the office is not a stressful event and is usually under 45 minutes. Southern Indiana has 4 distinct seasons of the year and each is beautiful. Not having the additional stressers that many areas have allows us to concentrate on supporting the Warfighter with fewer distractions. We feel we have the best living, entertainment and working conditions possible.

Carol Davison

I would imagine it would be at the North or South Pole or at sea because you are stuck there. You can always commute away from undesirable places.


Sorry guys…I think I got the Crane, IN wrong…A couple people in the past complained about it to me. Didn’t know it was so close to Bloomington.

I’m a big fan of college towns so that’s ideal.

For example, I’d love to work at the EPA Ann Arbor office.

Jenyfer Johnson

San Franciscisco is SO TRUE, and any government job within a 50 mile radius (if any still exist). I worked there years ago and it sucked. I was a GS-11, single mom with one kid and just scraped by, living paycheck to paycheck.

Now in South Carolina and the cost of living is so much better!!!!

Alan L. Greenberg

I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Govloop. Don’t dump on NYC. Sure, it’s expensive but you just have to know the angles. Plenty of reasonablly priced eateries and housing can be affordable with some minor inconveniences – like a small commute. No different than DC area when it comes to controlling living costs. Plenty of action and excitement. Most people that come from elsewhere & stay a while are delightfully surprised. Also – best bagels in America – toasting a NY bagel is considered an offense to New Yorkers. “It’s the water.”

Alan L. Greenberg

Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Long Island, Jersey City, Hoboken. Super market pricing is decidedly less outside of Manhattan too.

Margaret 'Meg' Doolittle

Yep, I relate with #4, Boise, ID is the nightlife and it is 2 hours away in the next time zone…so you have to plan to go. I don’t envy those in John Day, OR or Burns, OR because it is even longer and not on interstate roads to get to a larger city which isn’t closed down Friday at 10pm. I would like to live in a bigger city, just haven’t had the opportunity being a geologist, it is relatively hard to NOT go into the field, so being closer to the rocks is a good thing.

Earl Rice

How about Camp Arifjan, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they try FOB Anaconda. And, there are a large number of smaller places were the night life is the stray, or not so stray, motar round coming in, the commute includes dodging IEDs, and you never really know if the friendlies are really friendlies or just waiting for you to turn your back. There are many worse places than anything mentioned anywhere here.

Michele Bartram

My parents would say Guam, where they were posted in the 90’s. Islanders don’t like to grow fresh food even though it’s a tropical island, so most fruits and vegetables have to be flown in. With the tiny size, claustrophobia kicks in quickly (think “Castaway”). Typhoons hit often, the heat and humidity were awful, and every other week or so, a massive tree snake (they infest the island, having come in on planes from the Philippines) would climb into the electrical generators and blow electricity for part of the island. This was definitely the worst place they were ever posted!

Candace Riddle

I wasn’t a government employee, but thus far the worst places to live for me have been:

1. Tucson – too spread out, kind of isolated, and very very very expensive cost of housing especially during the winter months.

2. Washington D.C. – Worst commute ever, expensive. On a positive note, the NOVA region has great schools and easy access to 3 major airports.

3. Cambridge, OH – Well there is nothing there except cows.

Currently looking at Seoul, South Korea. I’ve been there. It is a beautiful city, but the cost of living is crazy. The current US Dept of State per diem rate is $350 USD.

Julie Chase

With the exception of Indiana, I agree. Here in MCIEast, it’s small, but comfortable. The bases in NC “help” the economy out a lot. The businesses around here are worried about the furlough though. In this area there will be about 4,000 civilians involved, both Navy side and Marine. But we look at it this way,it’s better than a BRAC, which would devastate eastern NC. You would have drag me kicking screaming and/or unconscious to work in DC. Decisions made there also make it difficult for the rest of cs.

Avatar photo Ramona Winkelbauer

J.F.K. characterized Washington DC as a “Place of Southern efficiency and Northern charm.” Not sure if that was before or after being elected to 1600 PA Ave. 😉