Working for the Government: What are the Perks and Disadvantages?

The Government Sustains the Nation

According to the words of Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence, "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness --That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men." This quote speaks to the fact that the purpose of a government is to protect the rights that a nation feels are inherent to its citizens. The United States of America, being a large country with a population of more than 300 million people, requires a large government to protect the rights of the people. This government needs people who work to operate, administer, and support the aims of the government.

Finding a Government Job

Being that the government is an extremely large entity composed of three levels (federal, state, and local) that are all divided into various units that serve different purposes, there is a high demand for jobs in the government. The best source for finding federal government employment is the United States' job directory online at This website provides a comprehensive database of federal government job postings across the country and abroad. For state and local jobs, the best place to look is the website of the government or municipality in which you are seeking a job.

Benefits of Government Jobs

The rewards of government jobs are quite expansive and can motivate many people to apply for them. Employees who work full time for the government receive excellent benefits including life insurance, tuition assistance, medical and dental coverage, vacation time, sick leave, and retirement plans. Government jobs also offer much greater degrees of flexibility than their private sector counterparts do. A recent law called the Telework Improvements Act of 2010 granted all Federal employees the eligibility to telework (work from a remote area other than the workplace) to the maximum extent possible without diminishing performance or agency operations. Government jobs are also typically much more stable than private sector positions as the government is much less likely to lay off employees and it will not go bankrupt like many companies do.

Disadvantages of Government Jobs

The main disadvantage associated with a government job is that it generally pays less than its private sector counterpart does in some occupations. The difference is usually not huge, but it is considerable enough to warrant a mention. Even this factor is rapidly changing as a USA Today article in 2010 points out:
Overall, federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,046 in 2008, the most recent data available.
Another disadvantage of government jobs is the increased amount of bureaucratic red tape associated with the positions. Government jobs are typically more regulated than the private sector and employees may need to appeal to more people in order to get things done than their private sector counterparts.


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