Federal jobs can be a bad fit, so many of us leave

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By Lisa Rein and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux

Veterans who’ve joined the government find it’s just too bureaucratic. They bristle at the resentment they feel from colleagues who know they went to the head of the hiring queue. They acknowledge that they don’t always fit in: Just below the surface, deep culture clashes in their offices simmer.

These are some of the issues at the root of why veterans don’t stay long in federal jobs, say former troops still working in government and those who’ve quit.

With new data out showing that veterans leave within two years on average despite the Obama administration’s sustained efforts to hire them — a shorter average tenure than non-veterans at most agencies — we asked some of them why.

Like non-veterans, former service members move on for a variety of reasons, from better opportunities to relocation for family reasons. But veterans say a federal office cubicle can be a bad fit after military service, with limited opportunities to advance.

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