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Job Cuts Don't Surprise Federal Workers

Depressed businessman sitting on stairs wearing a pink shirt.

The federal government and the private sector handle cutbacks differently. In "Corporate America" the ax falls suddenly, which not only leaves the terminated employee without a job and income, but also without a pension plan.

But the federal government warns its employees of cutbacks several months in advance so that terminated employees have a way to support themselves when the pink slip arrives. The advance warning gives federal employees a couple of options for how they want to deal with the impending cutback.

Options for the downsized

Those options include buyouts or early retirement offers. However, agencies must get approval from the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget to permit workers to retire earlier and get pre-deductions buyout payments of $25,000, according to The Washington Times.

What's more, federal employees can see which agency is planning to downsize, reorganize, or offer buyouts and early-outs on federal publications and Web sites, such as the Government Accountability Office's site www.gao.gov.

Veterans are protected

The old adage, "last hired, first fired" applies when federal cutbacks happen. Typically, longtime employees and military veterans are safe, reports The Times.

Additionally, federal agencies also want to retain their female and minority employees. In fact, the Clinton Administration developed a buyout program titled, "Diversity Gains," which would target longtime employees so that the "last hired, first fired" rule wouldn't wipe out the number of federal female or minority employees.

What happens when you are terminated?

If you do find that your federal job is on the chopping block, make the most of that time by updating your skills or taking advantage of educational opportunities. What's more, you can use the advance warning to network with veterans in different industries to find employment using job search engines, such as the Veterans Career Network.

Federal agencies do their best to prepare employees for downsizing. However, what happens after the downsizing is up to you.

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