Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ease my worried mind

Still researching the patent office job. From reading online (blogs, articles, etc) It seems like the biggest complaint is not having enough time to meet production goals. But there's some conflicting stuff out there. For example, 70% of survey respondents said that they "had to work overtime regularly to meet production goals." But at the same time, 60% of patent examiners are getting bonuses for exceeding production goals. So something doesn't add up there. Another thing I hear a lot about is a very high rate of attrition, particularly in the first 1-2 years of the job. Some numbers put it as high as 50% of new hires.

So I actually went digging for some hard numbers. And because everything is on the intarwebs, I found what I was looking for - production and attrition by Technology Center (TC) for fiscal year '06. The TC I'd likely be working in, 1600 - Biotechnology and Organic Chemistry, has a) the lowest number of counts required out of any art unit, which means that TC-1600 examiners are allowed the most time to earn each count; b) The highest actual production rate (almost 110% of the target count goal) which suggests that the time allotted is sufficient to complete the required production; and c) an attrition rate roughly in the middle of the pack of TCs, about 10% annual turnover. One thing I'd be interested in learning is the attrition rate by GS grade; my wager is that the GS-5/7/9 hires account for more of the turnover than the GS-11/12 hires.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm not scared of the rumors, and will still be registering for an interview after my next committee meeting - which is looking like it'll be on the 27th for February. Which gives me 46 more days to actually get some stuff to work.

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