Background Investigator no more!

One week from today, that is.

After 16 years of working as a Federal Background Investigator for FIS, NBIB and DCSA, I’m heading out to a new agency.

This was an extremely hard decision to make, I lost a lot of sleep over it. I know the grass is not always greener, I am leaving stability, I am walking away from an almost guaranteed supervisor slot and I am leaving for a GS9 position (that one really hurts). I have a lot to lose by walking away but for me, the scales finally tipped and it is worth the risk to go. I finally got the courage to jump so wish me luck.

I’m sure I will still check in from time to time to pass on my sage advice, hahaha. At least I’m still a Fed Investigator but no more gold badge and no more Ivory tower.


Congratulations! I wish you well. As the saying goes, no risk, no reward.


Good for you!!! Maybe you will find some quality of life. I have lost so much of my life from this job. I stayed because I’m a single mother and was able to flex my schedule for a good amount of time. I became a contract investigator believing that I was working for the good of our Country. After working in this industry, unfortunately I came to realize it’s not about national security and more about quantity and the root of all evil: money! Good luck to you Fed-investigator.


Good luck! Enjoy your new journey!

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Good luck! I left CACI after 18 years of doing this job. The final straw was when they were forced to give us raises to match the designated amount required for our levels, and they had the nerve to give me the starting pay for a level 2 when at that point I had already been doing this job for so long, and I realized they were giving me the same pay as people who had only been doing this job for 2 years. The nerve of them!!! In fact, diving further, I realized my pay had only went up by $12 over course of 18 years, which averaged about a lousy 65 cent raise per year.


I agree. These small raises we receive is actually an insult!

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Congrats! What made you make the jump? I have considered it as well.

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Just the same frustrations everyone else has with the agency, generally burned out and lost hope it is going to get better.

Magic 8 Ball says all signs point to time to go.


Good luck. Its always hard to walk away from something you like and that you have done for years, the people etc.

But you weighed in and decided what was good for you :slight_smile:

Good luck. It will never really get any better, just different and changing. I think to last very long in this job you have to just accept that, deal with the crap, and operate every day with yourself and your own well being and allegiance to your own country in mind. Allegiance to any of the private contracting companies should never come into play. They have no allegiance to their employees so it’s really just a matter of getting out of them what we can while attempting to help our country grant clearances and chug along with national security hiring. The job will always be around whatever company holds the contract.


Welp, it is all over now. It is a weird feeling. Looking forward to a new adventure.


Understand entirely.

I left 19 plus years in Contractor land, 4 contract companies, jumped ship for Fed life. 2.5 years in, No regrets.
Fed life is far better. You will never want for time off. Buy back military time if any, disability, etc.
Kee posting. Valued your inputs tremendously.

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Thanks all!

Just for clarification, was a Federal employee, OPM then for DOD when they took over the program, not a contractor. Continuing to be a Federal employee with DHS.


Tracking. Im sure there is a plan afoot. Knew a guy rising 13, took a 14 with DHS, then stepped back to a13…before accepting a senior 14 slot. Had a plan, stuck to it.

I wish there was a plan.

More like a blind leap of faith. Hahaha


Good luck, hopefully its a good fit…I see DHS hiring for lots of jobs lately, Asylum Officer, ISO, Fraud Detetcion, etc

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Best of luck to ya! I always say “if it doesn’t scare ya a bit, it’s not worth doing” Which is how I ended up in the BI world… :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Stay connected. Your insights are valued here.


I am now six months removed from the background investigator life, so thought I would update, if anyone is interested.

After the first two months, I was bored in my new role. It was difficult to go from hard charging, hitting the field every day, go, go, go, to basically standing still. I got a bit panicked and contacted my prior management at DCSA to ask to come back. Despite being told by the same management that I had a year to be reinstated, they now said that since I left for a GS9 position, I would have to return as a GS9. So much for reinstatement. Well, that made the decision rather easy and it also allowed me to let go of the safety blanket of returning to the old gig.

Fast forward to today, life is much better. I am still learning a complicated job and the learning curve is steep and frustrating at times. However, generally, I am much more satisfied in this role. My work-life balance is awesome, I work eight hours a day and then I am done. My phone does not ring after business hours, no meeting sources in the evening, no late night report writing, no catching up to meet ACDs on the weekend. I don’t start Monday morning with a slew of fires to put out and it is glorious. There is less flexibility in my work schedule than with DCSA but I have come to realize that a more rigid schedule keeps me to truly only working 40 hours and having a better work to home life separation while still working from home.

Working for DHS as opposed to DOD, is almost magical (although my long time DHS counterparts don’t believe me, so take it for what it is worth). The IT works, any issues are responded to immediately, Tier 2 actually calls you back the same day. I was issued two over-sized desktop monitors to work on, not a small laptop monitor to hang off my 15 inch laptop like I was with DCSA. I didn’t even have to beg for the big monitors, they just issued them to me. Best part is, fully paperless! No more giant printer taking up space, no stacks of cases or copious amounts of hand written notes, no PII to worry about, no supplies needed, my office doesn’t look like a Staples store. Full transparency, I at first freaked out and asked for a printer but was encouraged by local management to embrace the efficiencies of paperless. Another dream, one time card and no breaking down time. If I work 8 hours in a day, I just type in ‘8’ into the box, you know, like every other normal job out there. I am not bogged down in endless admin work that I have to find time to squeeze into my day. Admin work is expected to be part of the day and I am given whatever time I need to accomplish it, not 0.5 daily, lol. Did I mention no CUI?

My local supervision is fantastic, hands off, check in when needed and always available to reach out to. We are trusted to do the job. When we have to inspect new component groups, we have an introduction we have to give, much like with a Subject, however, I am free to make the introduction however I please, as long as I cover the required items. I am not forced to read a full page of non-sense. Again, trusted to accomplish the mission. We have deadlines and due dates but they are expectations to be met and treated as such, not things to beat over our heads with weekly. Policy changes come in the form of team meetings, with explanation and an opportunity to ask questions, not via email. Our report reviewers look at our reports and recommend changes which they send back to us for fixes. Again, there is an expectation of quality but they do not track the number of mistakes made or if you miss something. Reports are simply reviewed and returned for changes, nothing more, nothing less. It is amazing how different the stress level and tenor of the day to day is compared to DCSA.

In my current role, as I progress, my responsibilities will increase and I may be singing a different tune but for now, I am content. Going from a GS12 to a GS9 still sucks, still have to wear a suit, still have to travel (but is much more enjoyable as there are not hard production metrics to meet) and life still can be boring from time to time, so not all is sunshine and rainbows, hahaha.

At this point, I believe I made the right decision to leave (and stay gone) but time will always tell.


Very refreshing to hear details from someone who has been on both sides within a year to compare. Happy things are good so far!