If you have ever looked for a job, you probably know that it has its advantages and disadvantages no matter if it’s freelance, remote or traditional work. Working in the federal government just like any job has its pros and cons. On one hand, it offers flexible working hours, a steady salary, fixed incentives, etc. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages of working in the public sector such as slow career growth, as well as a high probability of closing the sector in which you work, and so on.
Still, the same percentage of shutting down can be in the private sector, and being freelance for example doesn’t guarantee you any stability. If you strongly decide on working in the government sector, you need to be fully acquainted with all the peculiarities of working conditions and requirements for applying for a job there and check the FederalResumeGuide because there are differences between those needed for the private sector and the federal position. So, let’s find out what are the pros and cons of being a public sector worker.
With frequent economic turmoil, job stability is the biggest advantage that a federal job may offer. For example, while in the private sector layoffs are quite common, the public sector rarely fires employees. Of course, it doesn’t mean that the people in the federal positions are not downsized, however, government layoffs happen rarely because public positions are not connected to the economy. That being said, no job is permanent, but the government one is the closest to it.
First of all, there is the FERS program according to which while you are working in a government position, you receive 1% of your salary per year for your pension. What’s even more, this program ensures medical insurance for you and your family after retirement for the same payment just as it was while you work. Besides, some public sectors can partially annul your student debt thus making it possible for you to save money for retirement.
Furthermore, unlike working in the private sector, a government position salary depends on your experience and the field of work you perform, so it’s highly possible that you’ll get good money even from the start. One more – you don’t have to be a resident of Washington, DC to work in the government because the federal position also means flexible jobs which sometimes can be remote.
Compared to the private sector, where overwork happens often, the federal position doesn’t engage in overtime. Moreover, you’ll get generous holidays and vacation days. That is because the work-balance is important for a long-term career.
Applying for a Job
Of course, as with many jobs, the public sector has its cons. One of the downsides is the job hiring process. It is slightly different from employment in another sector. For example, for a private sector position, an ordinary one-page resume will suit, for a public sector, a resume should consist of at least 7 pages.
The second thing that makes the jobs in the public sector less attractive is the bureaucracy. Employees often have to work with conventional and old non-technologies methods. Like in almost all governments in the world, the changes happen quite rarely and slowly. That’s why many workers get disappointed fast and that’s why they quit. This also leads to the fact that any of your ideas about work improvement won’t even be heard by the management.
Even though the layoffs didn’t happen frequently, the budget is determined at a high level, so your sector might be closed until new funding is found. The point is that if congress and the president cannot come up with the budget, the government will be closed. However, even in such a case, you get compensation. The worst thing is that when the government is shut down, you are not allowed to work anywhere, well at least legally.
If you get used to talking with your manager about the raise working in the private sector, things are different in federal sections. Even if you had good results during the working year, it doesn’t mean you can count on the raise. There is a GS job classification in the government which means that you get the grade for your job which is determined by the complexity and the level of education.
The government has created such a classification to get rid of favoritism so your supervisor cannot increase your grade. It doesn’t mean you cannot get a raise. Of course, you can, but it requires flexibility and a lot of time. Even if you start with a salary that is higher than the one you had in the private sector, it’ll be quite difficult to receive more money because many higher-paid positions limit your financial freedom. Besides, seniority plays an important role. It means if you work hard, you will have to wait until your tenure ages you into a competitive position.
When it comes to job selection, you should be ready that any job has its drawbacks and benefits, and the job in the public sector isn’t an exception. If you are looking for a federal position, you need to define that you are fit for the position if you are a military family member or a veteran. The next difficult step is applying because federal employment requires a specific type of resume and lots of interviews. However, once you get the position, you’ll receive job stability. It means it is unlikely you’ll be fired during an economic crisis. However, there could be times when the government is shut down and during that period you are not allowed to work anywhere.
The other drawback is the bureaucracy. It means that it’s highly doubtful that any of the work improvements you have can be applied. Besides, any technological changes take place quite rarely and slowly. However, compared to the private sector, you’ll have more days off and holiday days. While deciding which job you should go to work for, you need to consider all the pros and cons before making a decision.