Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Public v. Private Sector: Quick Thoughts

As the reality of needing to find a full-time job in the next couple months is sinking in (though as the stock market keeps rallying, the pressure lightens correspondingly), I find myself going back-and-forth over the pros and cons of private v. public sector work.

All I can really come back to is that no generalization is going to apply across the board.

On the one hand, the public sector is great because there's no profit bottom line being worked towards, and you don't have to sell anything. On the other hand, not all private sector jobs actually involve selling anything, at least directly.

On the one hand, the public sector can be a major downer because a system that promotes based on time on the job, as opposed to merit, can drag down the morale of someone used to being a go-getter. On the other hand, you shouldn't technically *care* about how those around you are promoted or paid.

On the one hand, a private sector employer that would only bring in people he/she considered high-caliber could be a great work environment (tons of mutual respect, right?) On the other hand, a hard-charger would stand out more in a public sector job, and the environment might be less competitive.

At the end of the day, I'll be quite satisfied to land a job, because last I checked, you can't make a living writing a small-scale blog to share your thoughts with the world. My previous financial calculations based on trying to *just* live off Guard income have since come up against a need for serious revision.

Also, the only thing I really *know* as far as full-time work goes is the public sector, the pros and cons of which I at least understand (the slings and arrows of which it might be nobler to suffer than would private sector troubles and pressures, of which I know not).

Still, I think there'd be something really nice about working somewhere where everyone who walks in the door is already a high-achiever (and therefore assumes that everyone else is).

But on the other hand, I have no idea what a forty-hour a week job would feel like, and I can imagine it might be worth the tradeoffs (military is of course public sector but the days are significantly longer than those of civil servants).

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