Ed Delaney
3 months ago

FEMA expectations

There was a question on JobCase a few days ago asking about experience hiring on with FEMA.

Perhaps things have changed with the new administration.
About two years ago, I went through the hiring process to be on an on-call FEMA emergency management team. I'm retired, and had been in wildland fire for many years. It seemed like a "win-win" situation.

We got to the "offer" stage, and the conditions of hiring were shared with me. I was to be on-call 24/7 for two years. If I failed to respond within 24 hours, I could be "fired." When I asked about these terms, the response was that there were no exceptions. Could I take a vacation from being on-call with my wife for a short period during my commitment? No. Take it or leave it. The HR person I dealt with admitted he wouldn't accept those terms.

The pay offered was considerably lower than the "AD" or administratively determined wildland fire pay rate for the same position (as a retiree, that wasn't a concern). In wildland fire, when you're through with one assignment you get a "breather" before going on another assignment. That wasn't part of the deal when I applied.

It was with some regret that I concluded that I had to turn it down. I've a PhD in the area I was to work in, with a decade in wildland fire management teams. My objective was to contribute skills and experience that were apparently in need, but the conditions were the functional equivalent of wearing a home-detention GPS ankle bracelet for two years.

To clarify, if I had been determined to be unacceptable to the agency for any of myriad reasons, no offer would have been made. An offer to hire was made. Keep in mind, this was for an "on-call" role, with no compensation for being on-call. It was only when the offer was made that terms of employment were made available for me to review.

After about 20 years as a federal employee, the arrogance of the agency far exceeded anything I'd experienced.

Note, my experience may have been absolutely unique... As they say, "your mileage may vary."

1 Comment
Lawrence White

I haven't seen any mention about the rigors and inflexibility associated to the FEMA On-Call jobs. This information is so helpful and important to anyone interested in pursuing these type of job roles at the organization. Thanks for sharing your experience with the community @Ed Delaney . Much appreciated!