Uncrack the Code of a Career in Public Service
The idea of pursuing a career in government, whether at the local, state, or federal level, is often overlooked due to a number of misconceptions about the type of jobs available, and the work that is undertaken in those roles. Rarely coming across as a particularly “glamorous” career path, it’s probably no surprise that there is a lack of understanding of the type of work available, but more importantly, how fulfilling it can be to pursue a career in government.
Who is Hired by the Government?
The simple answer to this question is “almost everyone”. From doctors, dentists, teachers, and engineers, to accountants, programmers, photographers, and chemists, there are hundreds of professions the government is looking to hire, so there’s every chance you would be a great fit. Take a look through your local state, county, or city government websites to see what they are looking for at the moment. For federal positions, check out usajobs.gov, where you’ll also find a huge amount of information about applying for government positions.
What to Expect With Government Employment
In full-time government positions, you can generally expect a much more stable career path than many jobs in the private sector, whose stability is based on profits and financial goals, and can sit on the knife-edge of the stock market fluctuations. Profits in governments are essentially not a factor at all when it comes to job security, and no matter what is happening in the financial world, the government keeps moving along, its function remaining the same.
Day-to-day government work and job satisfaction do, of course, depend greatly on the work you are performing and in which department. Much like jobs in the private sector, the same departments in different companies can offer wildly varying work cultures, which often boils down to management styles and the various personalities of other people working there. One thing, however, that you will find across the board of government agencies and offices is that they all have to do things by the book. Rules and regulations are the lifeblood of efficient government work, and while that in part does lend to the perception of government work coming across as ‘stale’, it does create a more structured and focused workplace, which can create a less volatile work life on a day-to-day basis.
How to Start Down the Government Career Path
The government career path can be entered, traversed, and exited in a number of ways that can all be of huge benefit depending on what you’re trying to get out of it. Starting off with an early career in government can be very fulfilling, and many such people spend their entire careers in the government, sometimes switching departments, but staying in the government sector nevertheless.
However, starting off with a career in the government can also be a great stepping stone to careers in the private sector. As mentioned previously, the structure and regulation of a lot of government work produces a highly valued skill-set in the private sector, added to which the fact that you have experience within certain government departments could be sought after by certain industries.
This particular path does run both ways though – starting off your career in the private sector can give you valuable experience and insight that could be highly sought after in the government sector, and give you a foot up in the competitive service positions, or sectors that are looking for specific skills and experience.
A Path of Diversity and Equality
Another benefit of exploring a career path in government is the growing diversity within the workplace. As we’ve discussed in other posts, embracing diversity and equality in the workplace leads to greater innovation, more fruitful collaboration, more understanding of different cultures and ethnicities and the needs of such cultures, and overall a more welcoming and satisfying work environment. Government sectors do promote diversity, but they can still do more – as we see in the private sector too, once we examine the higher-level management positions, the disparity between white employees and non-white becomes all too apparent. There are headways being made to resolve this, but there is still a long way to go.
No career path is one of utopian happiness, and the government is no exception to that rule. However, it is a path that has many benefits, and definitely one that should be strongly considered no matter your background. And if you do decide to apply, whichever way you choose to go down the path of government careers, the end result is one of a rewarding and fulfilling career, and an experience to be cherished.