The moment we graduate from school, or even before we graduate, we are faced with one question: What should I work as?
Jobs can be widely classified into 2 categories – public sector jobs (Government jobs) or private sector jobs.
Many of the young aspiring adults would like to try working in the private sector. I was no exception. The sky is the limit, they said. How high you go is dependent on how capable and hardworking you are. The fanciful tall buildings, the nice office suits of both genders, the opportunities to travel (if any), the glory from working at the big names multi-national companies (MNCs). Best of it all, all of us know someone earning a high salary in one of the big companies.
On the other hand, Government jobs are plagued with bad reputation – inefficiencies, leeches everywhere who get nothing done, endless bureaucratic red tapes etc. The never ending nonsensical and out-of-touch decisions made by grumpy old men at the top who thought they knew best. The only good thing about Government jobs is that it is stable. You will be able to afford a decent house, a decent car, 1 holiday per year and your kids’ education should be of no big worry. But that’s it. You will never amount to anything much. You will forever be stuck as an average Joe.
In this post, we will break down the pros and cons of both. Of course, in all cases, there are exceptions. But being the average commoner, we will talk about what is the general reality for most of us.
Private Sector Jobs
Fresh out of school, full of ambition to accomplish something and to make it big is something not unique to you alone. Perhaps the majority of us thought the same. I am young, full of energy, I want to work and to do my best when I am young. Rise through the ranks with my own capability and earn the big bucks.
Reality is, most of us are just the average person. We do not have influential parents with wide connections. We are inexperienced, immature people who knows nothing about the harsh reality of the outside world. In the MNCs, you are just a small part in the whole machinery, doing the same repetitive task again and again without sight of the big picture elsewhere. In the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), you are doing the job of 3 to 4 men in the name of testing your capabilities and giving you different opportunities.
Granted, there are also the average people who take in $6000 a month when people are taking in only $3500. But what about the hours they work? Wall Street is famous for its long hours. China’s MNCs are famous for their 996 system: work from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday. The Big 4 accounting companies are known for their extensive past midnight working hours.
Of course, to be fair, not all is bad with the private sector jobs. I have heard but unable to confirm myself that Google is a good company to work for. LEGO is known for its welfare. Netflix is known for its flexibility. To be honest, if you give me a chance to work at one of these companies, I would probably take it up. Just think of the welfare, the work environment and of course, the salary and how this will look on your CV.
Public Sector Jobs
A career that will grant you the basic necessities and more, but nothing beyond that. You have to deal with never ending suffocating red tape where the process matters more than the results. Never mind that we are inefficient, it is the tax payer’s money anyway. You are doing more than your leech of a boss? Well that is because you are new. You have done a lot and deserves a promotion? Well hold on man. That guy over there is before you in the queue. Yes we do consider actual contribution, but length of service is also a big factor in determining who gets promoted first.
Ironically, the very stability which public sector provides indirectly causes the system to pay the salaries of those people who would otherwise have been sacked in the private sector long ago. For a new, aspiring young adult with ambition, nothing frustrates more than being jammed up in the promotion queue simply because you are still young. Nothing irritates us more than seeing the bosses not doing any actual work but play politics everyday (not that politics is absent in the private sector), then make senseless decisions which we have no choice but to follow up. In fact, a personal friend of mine quit her public sector job because she was denied promotion, simply for the reason mentioned above. Often times, the public sector has no intention to keep good workers. If they stay, good. If not, so be it. Talents are often drained away from these posts.
Of course, on the fair side, on top of its stability and welfare, there are still good bosses around. There are still necessary departments which serves a higher calling. Teachers, prosecutors, police, soldiers, firefighters etc are just a few examples of public sector jobs which contributes to the good of the society. In fact, all public sector jobs, be it civilian or uniformed services, exist to serve the good of the public. Without which your city will not be developed, streets not safe, water not fit for drinking, forests will die off, children will have no education.
Meaning of the job, will have to depend on you.
In our next post, we will move into our main topic – the actual financial comparison between the 2.