Saturday, April 19, 2008

Navy Needs Information Security Staff: But HR web site is down

If the world economy is headed downhill as fast as some pundits claim, a job with the US federal government might be a safer option than trusting one's future to free enterprise. Or so I was musing this morning when I decided to peruse usajobs.gov.

I found numerous Department of the Navy openings for something labeled "Information Technology Specialist (Security)." These openings were spread across the country so there was bound to be one nearby. And the listing suggest some urgency: "This notice is issued under the direct-hire authority to recruit new talent to occupations for which Department of the Navy has a severe shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need. As such, this notice is targeted to qualified United States citizens who are not current permanent Federal employees."

Bingo! I'm a citizen. There's a critical hiring need OR severe shortage of candidates, let's check it out. I was told to visit https://chart.donhr.navy.mil/. I boldly clicked and, well, nothing. Turns out that server has been off the grid for the past three hours and counting.

Okay, it's a Saturday and these are government jobs. Maybe Information Technology Specialists don't work weekends. I can dig that. So I decided to do a little more digging. What could I expect to earn in one of these jobs? Oh let's say, roughly, something between about $28,862 and oh, how about in the region of around $152,670 per year. That's about as useful as a prospective employer answering "Money" when a job applicant asks "What does the job pay?"

In the private sector a good IT security specialist can earn $150K. But it is hard to imagine a n IT security job starting at $29K (that's less than $14 an hour). So the government has an employment web site that urgently seeks information security specialists who could start at a pay level most people with the necessary skills would rate as "not worth it," rising to an upper pay level that is a whopping 5X the low end, applications for which cannot be accepted right now because the server is down.

People used to ask themselves "Who's running this country?" The question now seems to be "Is anyone running this country?"

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