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December 2, 2022

Reminder: Don’t Work at the IRS for Glamour, Good Cocktail Party Chatter

As we've discussed, if you want to dabble in public service or embrace chaos like never before or have a deep appreciation for irony, the IRS may be your employer or choice.  

However! You'll want to read Bloomberg's inside look to life as an employee of the IRS before dropping off an application because there are some quirks to the job that may take time to adjust to. 

Like, stagnant pay and not having an admin assistant:

A 16-year IRS veteran, Gaddy wishes she could share some of her own IRS troubles with her visitors. Her salary has risen only 2 percent in the last four years. The center lost its secretary and hasn’t replaced her because of a four-year-old hiring freeze throughout the agency, which means Gaddy and the remaining employees handle clerical duties, too. 

Rounding up your own office supplies:

The agency is so short on funds that some employees purchase their own office supplies, even though the IRS says they shouldn’t. “I buy my own pens,” says Catherine Ficco, a revenue officer in West Nyack, N.Y. “I buy my own clips and hole punchers and things of that nature. It’s not uncommon. There’s no money to order supplies or paper for my printer.”

An asshole trying to eliminate your job:

With a presidential election next year, Republicans seem determined to keep the scandals percolating. Texas Senator Ted Cruz may have set the tone in March, announcing his candidacy with a promise to abolish the IRS. He says its agents won’t be needed after he throws out the current tax structure and replaces it with a simple flat tax, enabling Americans to fill out their returns on postcards. Cruz wants them reassigned to border patrol duty.

An awkward social life:

“You go to a party, and if you say you are from the IRS, half the people move into the other room,” says Richard Schickel, a former senior collections officer in Tucson who retired in December 2013. “After a while, your wife and relatives get tired of listening to your stories.

And even recruiting your kids for tech support:

Many IRS veterans have similar stories about the software switchover. “It’s been really tough,” says Jenny Brown, a tax examiner in an IRS facility in Ogden, Utah, and president of the local National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) chapter there. “There were times when I actually called my sons and said, ‘OK, how do I do this?’ And they tried to walk me through, because there just aren’t enough people here to do it.”

Still, many at the IRS laud the health care and retirement benefits as well as the camaraderie they have with their fellow IRSers. And hey, the Service is still more popular than Congress.

Remember, it's that special time of year to consider your options. Don't write off the idea. 

[Bloomberg, Earlier]

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