Government Jobs: Maybe It Isn't All About You After All

Don Tennant

In my post yesterday, "Is the Federal Government the Answer to Your Job Woes?," I shared some insights from Laurence Shatkin, a career information analyst and author who has a lot to say about why you should seriously consider employment with Uncle Sam.


Shatkin has even come up with a list of nine reasons why you might want to consider pursuing a federal government job rather than one in the private sector. Check out his list:

  • Federal jobs tend to be more secure. When agencies need to reduce their size, they usually do so by attrition (that is, not replacing people who leave). Employees can challenge termination or other personnel decisions through a formal appeals process.
  • Hiring and promotion in federal jobs are guided by a stronger commitment to diversity and inclusion than you'll find in most private-sector worksites.
  • Federal jobs offer a wider selection of health-insurance plans than do private-sector employers. Retirees can continue their health-insurance coverage for the same fee they paid while working.
  • Federal jobs offer better retirement benefits than many jobs in the private sector.
  • Federal jobs offer 10 holidays per year.
  • Federal jobs offer 13 vacation days per year to beginning workers, 20 days after 3 years, and 26 days after 15 years. To this, add 13 days of sick leave per year.
  • Federal jobs often permit flexible work arrangements. For example, you may be able to work four 10-hour days per week or do some work from home. Workers are rarely required to work more than 40 hours. This can make a huge difference in some fields such as law and accounting.
  • High-quality day care for children is often available at federal job sites or sometimes is subsidized at off-site centers.
  • Federal jobs can give you the satisfaction of serving the nation.

It really didn't occur to me after I spoke with Shatkin, but later, after I examined his list, something jumped out at me. All of the reasons Shatkin gives for why you should consider working for the federal government have to do with what's in it for you. Every single one. Even the final reason, that "Federal jobs can give you the satisfaction of serving the nation," is all about you and what you can be given.


Maybe it should be the other way around. Maybe service should be offered for the sake of the service itself, not for the sake of being given something in return. Maybe the best reason to work for the federal government is to serve our country, even if that service requires sacrifice. Maybe the right question to ask isn't whether the federal government is the answer to your job woes, but rather whether you can do a job that's the answer to the federal government's woes.

Is that Kennedyesque question outdated? What would happen if we all stopped asking, "What's in it for me?" and started asking, "What's in me that can benefit others?" Would we be in any worse shape than we're in now?

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Sep 13, 2011 5:07 PM Laurence Shatkin Laurence Shatkin  says:

Don, thanks for adding that list of reasons. I sympathize with your sentiment that serving the nation is a worthy goal. However, I would not say that serving the nation should not produce any satisfaction. Perhaps we're differing over our understanding of the word "satisfaction." My attitude is that people want to do things for various satisfactions. They may be extrinsic motivations, such as prestige or income, but they may also be intrinsic motivations, such as knowing you're doing the right thing. Acting on behalf of an intrinsic motivation should be considered a form of satisfaction. I think John F. Kennedy would agree.

Sep 13, 2011 6:38 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

If the government doesn't serve the interests of our nation, wouldn't working for them be serving the interests of something other than our nation?

Clearly most of those elected were elected because they were able to raise allot of money.  That amount has risen each election, and now with the Citizens United ruling corporations are considered "persons" and protected by the Constitution as if they were citizens.  Meaning they can donate as much as they want to whomever they want.  Even if not all persons in their corporation are American citizens (people entitled to vote).

Our country has more and more traits of fascism.   Fascism is anti-anarchist, anti-communist, anti-conservative, anti-democratic, anti-individualist, anti-liberal, anti-parliamentary, anti-bourgeois and anti-proletarian.  So if you are support democracy, are liberal, conservative, or libertarian this isn't what you want. 

It's in the interest of all of us that we take our nation back and get corporate money - and to be fair union money - out of elections.  Congress needs to pass a law declaring that corporations are not to be considered persons, and if that doesn't pass the Supreme Court we need an Amendment defining what a person is since they are clearly too stupid to figure that out.

Nov 7, 2011 9:43 AM government lobs government lobs  says:


  this blog has provided the valuable information about the federal jobs how they  are useful


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