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Can I ever get a federal job after being fired from one?

Bureaupat has the answer

By Bureaupat Jan 19 2010, 06:00 AM

Dear Bureaupat:

I was terminated from the federal government. What are my chances ever to work for the federal government again? Should I not even bother applying because it's hopeless?

Dear Hopeful,

As long as criminal offenses are not the reason for your termination, the official answer is that you always have opportunities to work for the government regardless of your past.

Not knowing the specifics of your situation, the first question I would ask is whether or not you had career status.  If you did not achieve career status, then your particular situation will provide you an opportunity to not overtly disclose your past, since you were never a career federal employee.   That is, since you never attained career status, you are only eligible for federal jobs which do not require the submission of a SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, which would document a termination.

So as long as the application and/or interview process does not query your distant past, there is no need to disclose the past.

Most interviews these days are behavior-based and focus on job-related experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills and abilities. However, if you are asked why you left the past federal position, it serves you well to be honest: period.

Now if you achieved career status, I recommend you check the Nature of Action Code in Block 5-A of your SF-50 as it is required for as this proof of prior federal service prior to submitting and application.

If it is coded, 357 (termination) or 385 (termination during probation/trial period), you may still apply but your chances are slim if not impossible to land a federal position.

Remember, even if you get through some of the agency human resource screens, you will be interviewed and the hiring official will choose a candidate with a stellar record versus one that is questionable.

While I don't know all the facts of your situation, I hope these hints and words of wisdom serve you well.

Yours in Gov,



More Q & A from Bureaupat:

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Read More: Office Of Personnel Management (OPM), Careers, Surviving The Bureaucracy, Dear Bureaupat


August 29, 2010 4:47 PM

I worked for the post office for 22 years.

I was terminated in 2001 for misconduct.  I had a physical altercation with a co-worker.  I was terminated, he was not.  I had an EEO case prior to my termination.  That is another story.

I am applying for another federal job elsewhere.   What are my chances.  In the past nine years, I have educated myself with a bachelor's and master's degree.  I have no criminal record, never been arrested, a law-abiding citizen.I have a notary license and nine years of acquired skill sets.  Notably,  I had a very good work record before the incident happened. I would like to get back into the government where I belong. 












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