Career Insight Series
Should I Take Private or Government Job?
Should I Take Private or Government Job?
My mum is one of those parents that believe that the best job anybody can get is a government job. One of the attractions is that a government will still pay you even if you are sick, as long as you are alive. So, one of those days we were talking about job matter, she brought the matter again. I explained to her that I am not fixated on getting government jobs for many reasons you may discern as in this post. I explained to her how much I make designing websites, publishing books and creating contents for clients now and how much more I can even make when I scale it up. She said something that weakened me, “No matter how much you make, there is nothing like having a government job.” That got me thinking: What’s the big deal about a government job? On Career Exploits this week, let’s talk about it.
I have closely considered and compared government and private job. What I have found is that they have their uniqueness. What someone calls a disadvantage is actually what another calls a benefit.
When you are torn between taking government job or private job, consider what really matters to you as well as what the different job platforms have to offer.
Job Security and Government Job
One of the arguments for government work is job security. That’s very obvious and you don’t always have that in private establishments; especially small businesses. So, if job security is a priority for you, please take it.
However, the other side of the coin is that, generally, it offers job security with little pay. So, it helps you get secure in a job that gets you just enough to take care of your family and be slightly generous. If that resonates with you, then, grab the government job with your two hands.
But then, why does one desire job security with a government job?
To ensure he has a constant source of livelihood that can’t be easily interrupted. That’s a smart move; but even a smarter move would be to earn enough money, experience and expertise that helps you start your own business where you are the boss and can’t be sacked!
That’s what most private job offers you with the experiences and rigors of working to deliver on your KPI to qualify for your promotion and justify your salary.
Job security for me is not about how difficult it is for me to get fired in a place; but how easy it is for me to get hired once organization is so blind to let me go or how easy it is for me to start my own business if an organization says they don’t need my services again.
Whether you work for the government or private you strive for that kind of security and it’s attained by developing your capacity to add value as a person. It’s about making yourself an asset that can produce results anywhere!
Life Time Pension Lure
Similarly, people root for a government job because of the lifetime pension that they are entitled to. It’s cool because that’s their way of making sure that those who served them in their active days don’t go hungry when they can’t work again.
In the past, that’s only possible in a government job, now, even private establishments, like a secondary school in Enugu State, have pension plan for their staff.
In our clime, we have people who are civil servants; but hardly go to their place of work. That’s why we have people who believe that ‘civil service gives you time to do other things’ and so is preferred to private jobs.
There is a point there, but if you abandon your duty post because we have a flawed system or collaborate with your superior not to work yet get paid, you are NOT innocent of the troubles with Nigeria. You are not doing well! In fact, that’s a sin!
If you got the impression that I am anti-government job, you are wrong. Truth is that I believe in doing government job and the main job I am likely to do for a long time will be a government job. I want to sort out some things first before taking any government job.
What I have tried to look at are the reasons why people want to do government job and strike a balance with the private jobs.
Take Government Job For Training
Government job good and there are phases in life where it’s the best place to work, no matter how small the pay. If you are starting out in life and are looking for a place to work hard, acquire skills or sharpen your skills, government job may be the right place for you.
The typical situation you find in many government jobs is that many people who work there don’t do so with their heart and so if they can get paid without working, they won’t mind.
They relegate their job to anybody that allows them. As a starter, that gives you an opportunity to take on many jobs within a short time that will help you gain mastery of your work.
The first place I worked after my professional training in Radio Production is a government radio station. I studied biochemistry in my undergrad and so, no matter how good my writing and presentation skills, I need to hone it and learn how best to use it.
I choose Radio Nigeria, primarily because once I show myself as resourceful, someone will like to abandon his work to me and that will be my chance to practice and sharpen my skills until I start shining.
That’s EXACTLY what happened there. That’s something you don’t get in private establishments that want you to come already made! I started doing a special radio report about a month after I resumed there. I continued because they need it and I can deliver it without any qualms.
A private organization is so profit-driven that they hardly hire people who are a greenhorn. You need to show some level of competence to be considered. However, when you get into a government job and relate well with your superior who are more skilled on your job, they will show you the way.
In fact, some will teach you, not because they love you because they want you to always fill in for them. You hardly get that in private establishment!
Take Private Job to Cultivate Work Culture
The critics of working in private organizations say they don’t give you a chance to have another life because they engage you fully. That’s true as some of them demand that you come to work on Saturdays. If you can’t manage that kind of life, negotiate away the public holidays or just go to government establishments.
However, if you choose to take the job, work the long hours and holidays and be frugal in your spending so that you can save enough to start yours and run your business with the work culture you have acquired there. That’s how to exploit that situation!
Private organization hardly give you time to enjoy the money you make from them. But they pay you enough money that if you are smart in your spending, you can save enough so, you will make enough money to quit after a few years, start your own and be in control of your time.
Government establishments give you lots of time that ensure stress-less life but a paycheck that keep you just above being broke. Unless in the case of top-level staff, civil servants that become very rich are either very frugal, have a side hustle or soiled their hands.
A private organization can wake up one day and fire you or just close shop and you become jobless, but that HARDLY happens with the government. But if you choose to work in private, they will instill in you a work culture that makes you capable of starting and running your own business.
The discipline to come to work on time, the drive to meet the target for appraisal and intelligence to relate with your colleagues and their uniqueness will make you excel on your own. Government jobs hardly afford you that!
Power to Ask for Your Pay
What I find most annoying about government job is that my pay is fixed by the employer. I have found that one of my strengths is setting a target for myself and working hard to meet them without any encouragement from anybody. That’s what drives Fratee Media & Brojid World, two organizations I run.
In private establishment, you can negotiate your pay based on the value you are bringing to the table and not somebody telling you that ‘all graduates are paid XY,000 naira.
But in government organizations, all graduates are on a certain level and you get paid the same salary. They may hire 10 of you with an MSc but if you have a unique skill set, experience and expertise that distinguish with your colleagues, you can negotiate for higher pay.
Right from 2nd year as an undergrad, my idea of how much I will get paid should be determined by me; so I studied hard, of course, media books. I practised and compared myself with final Mass Com students. I acquired EVERY skill that will make me super useful in any media firm or Dept. I will work in.
If I take it to a private establishment, even with low pay, as I make invaluable contributions, I can negotiate better pay; but what that will make me in a typical government establishment is the Jack of EVERYBODY’S job without commensurate pay! Can you see the difference?
The only way I can get the balance payment is from God as I prove faithful in the discharge of my duties. (Gal.6:9)
If you are skilled and can drive yourself to get any real result without anyone pushing you, you are suitable for the private job. In there, your density is literally in your hands. When you get in, don’t take it easy, work hard at your job if you deliver better than you are required, it gives you the POWER TO NEGOTIATE your pay.
With that power, you rank higher, get better pay which ultimately opens you up to opportunities in the event that you choose to be on your own. Don’t be blinded by the supposed job security in civil service when you can acquire skills and develop capabilities that will provide you with real security!
However, if you are the kind that doesn’t like stress, want to do the barest minim to get by and want to be paid even without putting in the required work, most government work is your best fit, especially local government jobs and clerical jobs where you hardly deal with people or serious tasks.
Don’t allow the lure of private job pay, drag you in there and bring you disgrace by your nonperformance! Stay where you are best fit!
There is God o
At the risk of a sounding alike a Pastor, let’s not forget that there is God in heaven watching every one of us and giving us reward for our works. Here is what guide me in the course of my work and I think it should equally guide you, irrespective of where you work…
Slaves, obey your earthly masters[Government or Private] in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites. (Col 3:22-25)
Whether you choose to take a government job or private job depends on your personality and what really matters to you. They present different opportunities and you should closely consider them, as it applies to your industry and make your choice. You can be rich as a civil servant as well broke as private organization worker!
Whichever one you take, develop yourself to become an asset that adds value to your organization and not just one of the animate objects in your workplace. Work with the mindset that you will be training yourself to run your org or head the one you work in!