President Reagan's hiring freeze has made it almost impossible for anybody to get a government job. There are three major exceptions. You can still get a government job if:
(a) You are an unemployed Republican politician, (or Democrat who can prove he had a political lobotomy prior to Nov. 4).
(b) You were promised a job prior to Jan. 20 and have a good lawyer and a sympathetic judge.
(c) You already have a government job!
Thanks to President Carter's civil service reform, Reagan has a record number of political and patronage-type jobs to offer people. They include thousands of Schedule C personnel who do everything from running Cabinet offices to preparing BLTs for VIPs, plus about 800 non-career jobs in the $50,000-plus Senior Executive Service and hundreds of vacant "career" slots in the SES, which has about 8,500 positions.
Most career SES jobs are "encumbered" (a government term meaning somebody is in it). Most of the non-career jobs are "unencumbered" and those that have warm holdover bodies in them won't for long. The career SES personnel can be transferred and/or fired (if they get bad report cards) 120 days after Reagan or their immediate political supervisor takes over.
Thanks to some less-than-heads-up-thinking by the new administration, Reagan extended the freeze back to Election Day. While he was the president-elect at that time, he was not the president-in-fact, a point that thousands of disgruntled job seekers and their lawyers are making in half a dozen pending individual and class-action lawsuits. Nobody doubts that Reagan could order the freeze effective Jan. 20. But most people doubt he could make it retroactive. A lot of people frozen out of jobs will probably get them -- if they don't find other work, or starve first.
Thanks to the strange nature of any federal hiring freeze, the only people who really benefit from them (other than, some might add, the taxpayers) are people already on the federal payroll. The freeze did not stop promotions (except at the Department of Energy). And it has made some government workers more valuble to their agency because they are the only people who can be found to replace comrades who quit, retire or die.
Good secretaries, for example, are being sought more than usual in-house be executives who have lost a secretary and can't go outside the agency for a new one. Raiding is becoming commonplace in some spots.
Because government personnel offices can only feed upon in-house personnel (except for emergency replacements in the health and protection fields) agencies are looking inward to fill vacancies. Typical case is the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Because of normal turnover, it has dozens of job openings -- from typists to cytology technicians and therapeutic radiologic technicians. It is even looking for a labor-relations specialist, but it can't go outside the Defense Department. The same situation holds true for other agencies. They can recruit, but only within the family. If you are a Defense type, and a nurse, chemist or air-conditioning equipment repairman who wants to work in Bethesda, give them a call at 295-1742.
So here is the situation: Most of the political jobs are, if not taken, at least spoken for. If you were promised a job and then caught up in the freeze, wait around. The courts may put you on the payrole yet. The only sure way to get a government job these days is to have a government job. That sounds like the kind of thing Ronald Reagan was running against, doesn't it?