Is a federal career right for you?
Let’s go over some of the pros and positives for this career path.
– This is a big one. Federals jobs are much more stable than most positions in the private sector. Also, federal employees where their job is no longer needed at a particular agency usually get priority when applying for other comparable government jobs elsewhere.
– The federal government offers 2 retirement vehicles. Federal employees have a 401K (termed the TSP in the government) and a pension. The federal government matches up to 5% of your salary and pays 95% of the pension benefits. Government pensions are generally 30% – 40% of the highest salary you made during your federal career.
– The federal government has become much more flexible with the work day. Many agencies offer telework (work from home), flexible duty hours (for example employees can come in anytime in-between 6:30-9:30 a.m.)., credit hours (hours worked past the normal 8 and a half), travel comp hours (hours over 8 and a half on travel), and overtime pay.
– You get to make a difference and help the greater good of the public. Federal jobs can be very rewarding and make a difference for many people.
– Last but certainly not least is the sheer number of jobs or disciplines available. The federal government needs 1000’s of different types of skilled people in almost every industry you can imagine. Some examples include:
FBI agents, deck hands, doctors, quality assurance specialists, financial planners, webmasters, engineers, clericals, human resource specialists etc.
The list goes on and on.
Job Search Tips and Resources #7: Federal Government Job & Career Cons
Cons and Possible Negatives:
– Most federal jobs are straight salary. Performance bonuses exist in some agencies but are usually not substantial nor common. No matter how much more work one accomplishes as compared to someone else in the same position you will still make the same salary.
– Duty hours for government jobs are much more rigid than sales jobs. Most federal employees work a typical 9-5:30. Federal workers have an eight and a half hour workday because there is no pay for your half hour lunch.
– Most federal jobs are located around major cities and metropolitan areas. Rural jobs do exist in the government but are few.
– Salaries on average are much smaller than successful salespeople. A high GS or grade scale (government salary table) takes years to achieve. Starting salaries for employees are usually low and start at the GS-7 level which is about a 40 thousand dollar salary with a college degree.
– It is much more challenging and involved to get a federal job as compared to a sales position. The federal government typically has many applicants for one position. Even after your selection for a government position the background check and processing can take months before a start date.
– Job announcements for open positions tend to have short durations. You may only have 10 – 14 days to get all the needed paperwork and job application materials together.
– It is much more challenging to jump to another federal job in the same agency or within a different agency. As noted above there can be many applicants and a long transition period.
– At tax time the personal deductions are much less than for sales employees.