- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

If you work for Uncle Sam, then do you consider yourself lucky, satisfied or is going to work a daily grind?

Just which civil servants like working for the government? Who gets the most satisfaction from the job? Some of the answers may surprise you.

The composite happy civil servant: A Hispanic or Asian woman under age 40, according to the latest federal job satisfaction survey — which polled a whopping 211,000 government employees.

Blacks said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were the best places to work. Hispanics picked the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), GAO and Social Security Administration. Women said they preferred the State Department, GAO and the SEC. Feds under 40 went for the NRC, GAO and NASA.

Why would Asian-Americans (who on average hold higher level federal jobs) and Hispanics (who on average hold many of the lower-paying jobs) have such a high job-satisfaction rate. Good question:

A spokesman for the Partnership for Public Service (which compiled the report from earlier Office of Personnel Management data) said it could be as simple as the fact that one group appreciates its high-income status while another is grateful for the job opportunities the government has given them.

Many federal agencies, including some you may never have heard of, made the rankings in one category or another. That’s because the comprehensive survey is sliced and diced several ways, including which offers the best training, best teamwork and that old standby pay and benefits.

In pay and benefits category, the best-in-class rankings were the Federal Housing Finance Board, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Farm Credit Administration, National Endowment for the Arts and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

If “strategic management” is your thing, then check out employment with the Merit Systems Protection Board, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Office of Management and Budget, Export-Import Bank and the National Credit Union Administration.

Buy high, sell low

The rule of thumb in buying stocks or mutual funds is to buy when prices are low and sell when share prices are high. But emotion often plays a part. That may be what happened between Feb. 27 and March 5 when tens of thousands of feds bailed out of stocks (most leaving the international stock index I-fund) and moved their money into the safer treasury securities G-fund.

They thought they were escaping a market meltdown. What happened, however, was different. As of last week, the markets have recovered nicely. Shares of the I-fund were up more than $2 from their March 5 low. Shares in the G-fund were up 7 cents.

Millions of Thrift Savings Plan dollars were moved from the stock-index funds into the G-fund last month. People who had paid more for their I-fund shares sold them when they were down, because they were down.

The toughest call, many financial pros say, isn’t selling. Rather it is deciding when the market has recovered or is up enough to lure a panicky investor back into the pool.

Mike Causey, senior editor at Federal News Radio AM 1050, can be reached at 202/895-5132 or [email protected]

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