For veteran job seekers, government jobs might seem like an easy, obvious choice. Time in service counts toward retirement, there are a wide variety of career fields, and vets get to continue their mission of serving the public good. What's not to love?
It's not always roses in the government sector, and working for Uncle Sam might not actually be the right choice for you.
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What are the downsides? Take a look.
1. Bureaucracy. For many people, the word "government" is synonymous with bureaucracy, evoking images of red tape, inefficiency and waste. And sadly, there is some truth to this. The government is huge and, in order to manage all agencies, employees and programs, there is a complex system of rules and procedures in place, which can be frustrating to hard-charging people who just want to get stuff done.
2. Furloughs and shutdowns. It seems like government shutdowns are growing in frequency. And even when they don't actually happen, they are often used as a handy political threat. But "government shutdown" means that many federal workers in agencies across the government go without pay for as long as weeks. And while back pay might ultimately be issued, living without a paycheck or under the stress of uncertainty might not be something you want to take on.
3. The hiring process is often protracted. Often cited as the biggest turn-off for would-be applicants, the federal hiring process requires patience and persistence. There's no getting around the fact that the government has a lot of rules to follow in the hiring process. For many, the wait time is a deal-breaker.
4. Salaries are not always on par with the private sector. In recent years, due to growing budget deficits, government workers have seen cutbacks to retirement pay and benefits. In contrast, some industries in the private sector have seen growth in employee benefits, including day care subsidies, free food, and generous medical and dental benefit packages. And while many government workers cite other benefits that compensate for lower salary ranges, such as pride in public service, a strong sense of mission and purpose and stable retirement plans, that might not be enough for you.
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5. Revolving door of leadership. One complaint that some government employees have is that, while government work is not inherently political, it is affected by politics. For example, when a president's political appointee comes in to an agency and does a good job, his or her peers are frustrated when he or she leaves, only to be replaced by another appointee with different priorities and a different idea of how things should be done. This can leave government workers feeling torn between their agency's mission and politically driven agendas.
6. Making a difference is a marathon, not a sprint. Many people go into government to get that much-desired balance of bringing home a nice paycheck, getting great benefits, and having the chance to make a difference. And while there may be no better place to give back than through government service, choosing this path can be tough if you are the kind of person who needs to see immediate results in order to be fulfilled. Real, lasting results are sometimes slow in the making. The process of getting things done takes patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude.
Of course, working for the federal government isn't all bad. There are plenty of reasons veterans should get a federal job. Private sector or federal, whatever your choice, Military.com is here to help you find the perfect job.
Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, visit the Military.com Job Search section.
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