Seeking Non-Federal Employment
While You Are Still Federally Employed
The "seeking employment" rules are more restrictive than most Federal employees realize. The financial interests of any entity with which you are negotiating or have an arrangement concerning future employment are deemed to be the same as your own for purposes of the conflict of interest rules. There are criminal penalties if you participate in any DOI matters that affect the financial interests of a prospective employer. Furthermore, the Office of Government Ethics interprets any form of communication regarding prospective employment with a non-Federal source (other than requesting a job application) to be seeking employment. You must receive a written waiver from an ethics counselor before you participate in any particular matter at DOI that affects the financial interests of a prospective employer. Such waivers are only granted in limited circumstances.
You are no longer seeking employment when either you or the prospective employer rejects the possibility of employment. You are also no longer seeking employment if two months pass after you send an unsolicited resume and you receive no indication of interest. Any response to a prospective employer that defers discussions until the foreseeable future does not terminate employment discussions.