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Difference Between Preparing and Working for Public and Private Sector Organizations?


Eventually, everyone must find a job. Even something as easy as "trust fund baby" requires a surprising amount of knowledge, trust-building, and diligence in keeping up to date with constant fluctuations in the world around them.

One of the biggest differences lies in working in the public versus private arena. Many rigid and popular stereotypes exist, but understanding the bits of truth among popular myths can help an individual make a difference.

In short, working for the public sector means working for your country's government. There are generally far more rules, regulations, and structures. Naturally, things move at a slower and more stable speed. The private sector runs in working for a business or non-profit. Whoever owns the company or manages the non-profit has the final say over activities. For businesses, the three-tier bottom line means generating profit, making a positive social impact, and having no detrimental effect on the environment. For non-profits, the goal is to help forward someone, someplace, or some ideal.

Hardest Truths About Different Sectors

If we read carefully, we can see that each type of work has its limits. While serving in the military or working for government services certainly has camaraderie and ethos, the absolute truth is that nation-states exist on pieces of paper. Many people are willing to unconditionally risk their lives to defend their home territory, protect those they love, or serve a higher power. But, risking injury or death for your country, or more commonly administering paperwork and materials, can often seem lacking in a higher purpose for those who genuinely want one.

In contrast, for-profit companies often have a primary purpose: making their higher-up more money. Entry-level jobs are expected to do basic tasks to save their bosses more time and energy, such as photocopying, proofing, and basic research. Higher-up, there are value-added tasks that can generate the company money. Managers are expected to increase efficiency and maximize profit. Top executives must report earnings to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors must appease the owners (often shareholders). The entire company must serve its customers with the products and services they demand and will pay for. In reality, an employee is part of the group if he generates enough money for the company. If he cannot, he is let go, sooner or later.

Even non-profits working for the greater good can become cynical. Religious organizations often strictly adhere to the company's beliefs, ethos, and persona. While most religious organizations believe in what they are doing and do good work, there are enough scandals with churches, etc., to show that good person can often be duped into doing bad things. Many schools have status as non-profit organizations but are not free of agendas, scandal, corruption, or petty politics.

Despite all these things, I will still state that the great majority of people find their work in these fields rewarding, purposeful, and allowing them to become better workers, managers, and people. Rather, knowing the limitations of a workplace can help set realistic expectations. While many people in a job interview say they want to save the world, or at least change it, knowing the limitations can help set smarter goals and achieve them most efficiently.

What Is Public Sector Employment? As we can clearly see, government services are nearly everywhere. National defense (the military), domestic forces (law enforcement), roads, hospitals, schools, and the list goes on and on.

Often, recruitment happens during set time periods, such as annually, bi-annually, etc. The process requires many questions, including citizenship, security clearances, etc. Essentially, the process starts off as a fair way to screen everyone, eventually allowing people with prior government experience, prioritized skills, or special statuses to get hired quicker, in a very long, slow process.

Government work generally requires much more screening and paperwork; hiring happens slower. Nonetheless, when someone is hired, they often pass probation. Pay increases and promotions are a regularly scheduled part of the employment. The longer one stays at work, the greater benefits. While terminations happen for poor performance at the lower and middle levels or oustings for political reasons at the higher levels, transfers are far more common. Training is often given often, at all levels of the job.

While pay and excitement of work are very often less than what equivalent employees in the private sector get, paid training, benefits, and political access can well compensate, especially if there is eventually a side business or a spouse that can supplement income.

It is best to get into the public sector while young. Slowly, during nights, weekends, and holidays, with further education and functional experience, someone can partially or wholly branch out into the private sector. This way, an employee can keep public sector benefits while making more income.

Despite movies like Zootopia or television shows like The Simpsons making jokes about the lack of efficiency of government services like the D.M.V., the reality is much more nuanced. Those who can work through the bureaucracy instead of fighting it can often find a surprisingly stable, rewarding, supportive network of predictable work.

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