The Realities Of Working In Government


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What It's Really Like Working In Government

If you've never worked in government, but considering a public service career, and applying for a position in the public sector, it's good to know what to expect about how things work, and the both the positive and negative things you will encounter.

There's a lot of myths about government employment, so in this section we'll try to give you a better idea of what to expect, if and when you get hired.

Important Things To Know About Government Work

Different sized governments provide completely different experiences, so be careful not to generalize too much. Federal employment is very different than working in, let's say, a small municipality, in the same way working for IBM is going to be different than working for the small computer store down the street.

No matter what you know from outside government, when you get hired, it's going to take you a good six months to learn how governments REALLY work. There's tons to learn, because government IS different, and it's not just learning rules and regulations. There's a different set of expectations that apply to government work, and to succeed, you need to learn them. Often they are there for very good reasons specific to government, so expect to LISTEN a lot. The learning part is great fun, too, because with an open mind, you'll also learn governments place in our society, and how it carries out its functions.

Working in government is both frustrating at times (glacial speeds) but also brings incredible positives, because you aren't working just for the money, either yours, or your employers. You are working for important things, and when you can have a hand it achieving goals that actually can impact on real people, there's simply nothing more satisfying.

More Resources On What It's Like To Be A Government Employee

Available Help About: Careers In Government : What Is It Like To Work In Government

Public v private sector: Is the grass greener? - by David Brindle
Two people switch sectors, public to private, private to public and talk about the differences, and advantages of each. Some insight into how government employment is different. (Views So Far 321 )

What It's Like To Be A Government Worker - Interview - by NPR
This is an NPR program involving interviews that give a more accurate picture of what it's like to work in government. Read the interview, or better yet, you can listen to the audio program. (Views So Far 184 )

Why Consider a Career in Local Government? | - by ICMA
A short article on some of the reasons you might want to look at smaller, local governments for career opportunities. Remember that the larger the government, the more you'll find red tape, and such, so working in a smaller city is different than, let's say New York. One thing about local government is that one gets closely connected to the community, and yes, in the next years there will be lots of retirements and opportunity. (Views So Far 184 )

What It's Really Like to Work for Government - by Pam Broviak
A particularly negative view of what working in government is like, in fact it comes across as a bit of a whine, but it's probably factually true. Ignore the tone of complaint here, because it's probably more a reflection on the writer than on the reality, but I think it's factually accurage. (Views So Far 169 )

Mythbusting 5 misconceptions about working in the public sector - by Cassandra Jowett
public sector work is still misunderstood. Its often ranked so highly by students compared to other organizations because working for the government is arguably the most stable type of job to have, especially following the recent economic downtown. However, there are plenty of more positive reasons to want to work in the public sector. We teamed up with Industry Canada human resources manager Linne Fournier, who manages the university recruitment team that hires economics and commerce officers, to bust five of the biggest misconceptions about working for government organizations. (Views So Far 188 )

Celebrating Public Service - by Alex Himelfarb
This is a blog post on celebrating public service, and as you'd expect from the title it's a positive, almost joyous slant on serving in government. I know a few of the contributors/commenters, and I find many of the comments both realistic and positive, the latter being pretty rare. (Views So Far 160 )

Cornell Alumni Working in Public Sector Call Jobs Inspiring - by ASHLEY CHU
Despite partisanship and political sparring souring many Americans' opinion of the government, young Cornell alumni who have entered the public sector say they have found meaning in their work. "I never thought that I would be working for the federal government, but I am so happy that I am," said Mackenzie Wallace '12, a financial analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Wallace said he discovered his interest in social entrepreneurship during his undergraduate years at Cornell. Later, when he realized that he could "do social good" and "still practice business" by working in the public sector, he began feeling inspired to join the government. (Views So Far 146 )

Pros and cons of working in government - by GoGovernment
A pretty accurate explanation of both the pros and cons of working in government. Keep in mind that it's talking about Federal government, and it's quite different at the State or Local Government Levels. (Views So Far 147 )

Myths and Tips of What You Can Do In Government | SFU OLC - by Abbas Virji
There are many myths that are prevalent about working in government, whether it is at the federal, provincial or municipal level. These myths, as you will see, are often not true at all - this is important to understand, because you might be missing out an opportunity you haven't given enough consideration to. In addition to demystifying these myths, things to keep in mind when exploring career options in government will also be highlighted. (Views So Far 162 )

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Bacal & Associates is a small training, consulting and publishing company specializing in government. Founded in 1992, we have been serving government training and consulting needs for 22 years. We focus on customer service, communication, performance management, and other management challenges within hte public sector.

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