Public vs Private Sector Employment

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Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

Hi everyone! New user and looking for career feedback.

I currently work for the government which includes a pension plan and a deferred compensation account. I make about 85k/year right now and am 33 years old. I've made some conservative projections of max salary and pensions compensation, and I'm projecting to work until about 62 and will make about what I do right now - 85k annually while retired. I also contribute heavily to a 403b. I get lots of paid time off and that will continue. I've also been recently strongly encouraged to apply for some upcoming promotional opportunities by senior management. What I do now is fun and I'm not bad at it. I also teach at a university for a night a week for a few extra bucks - 10-11k/year. This university has a 3% match and about half my income from this university job is deferred into the 401k.

However, most of my peers in the private sector make about 50% more than me. In fact, multiple companies have approached me with offers in the 105k-125k range. In particular, one company offered me 125k plus a 4% match. This company's executives have a reputation of being stubborn, aggressive, and generally unpleasant to work for. However, their is great room for upward mobility if I continue to do pretty good work.

A separate company with a profit based bonus system is drafting an offer of around 105k. This company has a good reputation and while they've been talking about upward movement already, nothing is promised.

These private sector companies will allow time off, but I will probably work more than the 40 hours a week like I do with the government. That probably means I'm done teaching at the university with either private sector position.

Question: Do I stay government or go private sector?

I have no idea what to do. I'm a new father just trying to make a good choice for my family.

Thanks!
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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by MikeWillRetire »

I worked 11 years in the private sector, and now I have 25 years in the federal government. I made the switch because my wife and I were about to start a family, and my wife wanted to continue her career. I figured that the government job would not require the overtime that I was doing, and that raising a family as a two-income couple would be easier with a government job, even if it meant a pay cut. And I was right.
oldfort
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by oldfort »

Take the $125k offer. $105k isn't worth jumping ship, if it means the loss of your university income.
sport
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by sport »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:55 pm This company's executives have a reputation of being stubborn, aggressive, and generally unpleasant to work for.
This would seem to result in a high level of stress which could even affect your health over time. I would not give up a good situation to sign up for this.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

MikeWillRetire wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:22 pm I worked 11 years in the private sector, and now I have 25 years in the federal government. I made the switch because my wife and I were about to start a family, and my wife wanted to continue her career. I figured that the government job would not require the overtime that I was doing, and that raising a family as a two-income couple would be easier with a government job, even if it meant a pay cut. And I was right.
I appreciate the response here and noticed that I left out this info. My wife currently makes the same as me and we live pretty comfortably now. The area we live in, though a high income tax state, has a lower cost of living conpared to major metropolitans.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

oldfort wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:27 pm Take the $125k offer. $105k isn't worth jumping ship, if it means the loss of your university income.
If I was to take one that is where my head went. Thanks for helping me narrow this down.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I've only worked for private sector companies. From privately owned to mega tech. In short, private companies can change anything they want on a whim. New senior execs have to prove themselves so they introduce some new demand or idea which is, honestly a stupid idea. I've been pushed out because management figured out I had become older than 50. A new exec in another company decided that all engineers should work an extra hour a day and be at their desk for free because, well, that's what all engineers do, even when their work is done.

Just expect lots of potential dysfunctional behavior.
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TheBeanCounter
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by TheBeanCounter »

I would stay in the government job. I don’t work in government but both my parents worked for municipalities, my mom in accounting and dad as a firefighter. The time and experiences I had with my parents growing up is invaluable. They never chased money career wise, but made good income, we had great insurance, they were at every extracurricular activity I participated in and helped me pursue every opportunity.

They may not have made as much as some when it came to gross wages, but their per hour income was quite high and they are going to have a pretty cushy retirement (pension in the 6 figures). For you to have $85,000 income on a 4% withdrawal rate, you’d need about $2.1 million. If you got a well funded 403b and an $85k pension, you should be pretty well set. From a finance perspective, it has worked out great for them.

As I mentioned earlier, if kids are a priority, I don’t really think it can be beat. To make that kind of money, have that kind of security, and that much time with your family, pretty good situation, if you ask me.
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anon_investor
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by anon_investor »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:01 pm
MikeWillRetire wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:22 pm I worked 11 years in the private sector, and now I have 25 years in the federal government. I made the switch because my wife and I were about to start a family, and my wife wanted to continue her career. I figured that the government job would not require the overtime that I was doing, and that raising a family as a two-income couple would be easier with a government job, even if it meant a pay cut. And I was right.
I appreciate the response here and noticed that I left out this info. My wife currently makes the same as me and we live pretty comfortably now. The area we live in, though a high income tax state, has a lower cost of living conpared to major metropolitans.
I would not go private. You have job security, a pension, work life balance and you are not struggling financially. Sounds like a lot to give up, especially since it sounds like you can move up in the government and likely increase your salary while keeping the pension, job security and work life balance.
mkc
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by mkc »

The value of having that pension should not be overlooked. Very few private sector jobs have that benefit these days.

I would also suggest you look closely at the difference in health insurance benefits between public and private sector.
retire2022
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by retire2022 »

TheBeanCounter wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:24 pm I would stay in the government job. I don’t work in government but both my parents worked for municipalities, my mom in accounting and dad as a firefighter. The time and experiences I had with my parents growing up is invaluable. They never chased money career wise, but made good income, we had great insurance, they were at every extracurricular activity I participated in and helped me pursue every opportunity.

They may not have made as much as some when it came to gross wages, but their per hour income was quite high and they are going to have a pretty cushy retirement (pension in the 6 figures). For you to have $85,000 income on a 4% withdrawal rate, you’d need about $2.1 million. If you got a well funded 403b and an $85k pension, you should be pretty well set. From a finance perspective, it has worked out great for them.


As I mentioned earlier, if kids are a priority, I don’t really think it can be beat. To make that kind of money, have that kind of security, and that much time with your family, pretty good situation, if you ask me.
+1

Op I agreed with Beancounter, I started in 1986 with NYC government and went to NY state, my salary was 18K when I started now it is 97K. I had health insurance medical and dental on a four year BA sheepskin.

My net worth is 2.9 million, a 2.1 million portfolio Roth IRA and 457 plan, two homes apartment and land in a rural area 89 acres.

When my friends were working during the internet boom they made more in the private sector, then they got layoff, this also happened again during the great recession

I was still working they were jealous of me, now I am still getting a paycheck and they are still jealous of me, working from home, what can I say.

I am waiting for covid vaccine to be available and I will putting in my retirement papers.

Laughing all the way to bank, pension and healthcare for life and social security I will be ahead retired with 457 plan.

Of course no one can tell the future, but it is up to you.

best of luck
Last edited by retire2022 on Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

mkc wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 5:43 pm The value of having that pension should not be overlooked. Very few private sector jobs have that benefit these days.

I would also suggest you look closely at the difference in health insurance benefits between public and private sector.
Without a doubt. Earlier in this thread I mentioned my wife making as much as me. She works for the same government agency as I, and will also have a healthy pension.

The government agency has currently and historically done a poor job negotiating benefits despite our size. They are excellent health plan options at the government, and we pay quite a bit for that quality. I'll have to check into the private company's health plan. Thanks.
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tainted-meat
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by tainted-meat »

I’d keep doing your current job. That pension, especially if it includes healthcare benefits is really valuable.
oldfort
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by oldfort »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:55 pm Hi everyone! New user and looking for career feedback.

I currently work for the government which includes a pension plan and a deferred compensation account. I make about 85k/year right now and am 33 years old. I've made some conservative projections of max salary and pensions compensation, and I'm projecting to work until about 62 and will make about what I do right now - 85k annually while retired.
Am I reading this right, your pension will replace 100% of your income? Where do you work which provides such a generous pension?
TheBeanCounter
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by TheBeanCounter »

oldfort wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 6:13 pm
Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:55 pm Hi everyone! New user and looking for career feedback.

I currently work for the government which includes a pension plan and a deferred compensation account. I make about 85k/year right now and am 33 years old. I've made some conservative projections of max salary and pensions compensation, and I'm projecting to work until about 62 and will make about what I do right now - 85k annually while retired.
Am I reading this right, your pension will replace 100% of your income? Where do you work which provides such a generous pension?
I’m assuming he is factoring in salary increases. Like his high 5 will be significantly higher than it is now, leading to a pension equal to his current pay.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

oldfort wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 6:13 pm
Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 12:55 pm Hi everyone! New user and looking for career feedback.

I currently work for the government which includes a pension plan and a deferred compensation account. I make about 85k/year right now and am 33 years old. I've made some conservative projections of max salary and pensions compensation, and I'm projecting to work until about 62 and will make about what I do right now - 85k annually while retired.
Am I reading this right, your pension will replace 100% of your income? Where do you work which provides such a generous pension?
It will definitely not be 100%. It will likely be 65%. However, I'm 33 years old with the combination of raises and modest promotions, this is what I'm projecting based on how wages have increased over the past 10 years. If I try and look 30 years into the future, that's what I came up with. My current position tops at 97k. The likely line of promotions will land me at 115k in no more than 10 years if incomes don't change a nickel. A reasonable response would be that I can't count on wage increases or promotions. The most conservative projection would then be 65% of the 97k...though I think it would be fair to project salaries to increase over that time period with a minimum pace of inflation.
Betterself
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Betterself »

I would consider your potential in both routes not only the current situation. what will you be in ten years? Say, if you in a position two to three rungs higher than your current position, Will the private route earn 2x or higher? Are you highly motivated and capable? If yes, I would.

However, the above situation is a high bar. Ortherwise, I would stay with the government job because 100k private job won’t provide a comfortable/stable retirement that your job does.
NESF
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by NESF »

I'd stay the course with current employer!

You mentioned several details about the various compensation packages, in totality. I don't blame you, I'd do the same.

But, with a young family, don't underestimate your PTO and stable work schedule (I'm assuming); and, your wife likely has similar work arrangements.

I switched jobs (both private) just before the first one was born. First one had lots of travel and on-call duties - which made for some fun weeks along the way. Now, I have very consistent work hours, and no travel. Sure, it gets boring sometimes, but being able to go to kids' activities is invaluable. Salary was/is about the same, but lots of flex time and PTO at new job. I'm OK with being a clock-puncher - suits my family.

Good luck!

T
dachshunddad
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by dachshunddad »

Do you like your current job? If you are happy and enjoy your work, I probably wouldn’t change to just increase your salary. However, if you are not that satisfied and the thought of changing jobs is enticing then I’d would consider it. You have health insurance and a pension through your wife so you do have some stability there. I would base it more on what would make you happier. Not in a fluffy way but “I like my job a lot but making more would be nice”—probably stay. “I wish I could go on my own and create something/hard charge”— probably look at switching. Sounds like you are a talented individual so will excel either way, go luck!
Locard
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Locard »

Take a very close look at your states pension rating. You are doing a great job of mitigating that risk by investing too. Do you get SS as well? Do you have any desire to retire before 62? All things to ponder. And don't think the gov can't change the rules after the fact. I only get COLA on the first $25,000 of my retirement, that was not the case when I started my state job.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

dachshunddad wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:44 pm Do you like your current job? If you are happy and enjoy your work, I probably wouldn’t change to just increase your salary. However, if you are not that satisfied and the thought of changing jobs is enticing then I’d would consider it. You have health insurance and a pension through your wife so you do have some stability there. I would base it more on what would make you happier. Not in a fluffy way but “I like my job a lot but making more would be nice”—probably stay. “I wish I could go on my own and create something/hard charge”— probably look at switching. Sounds like you are a talented individual so will excel either way, go luck!
I appreciate the encouragement here. I am satisfied with my job. My boss let's me work on whatever project I want and it an easy environment. I am quite competitive and my peers making 100k-130k/year bugs me bad. This job that would pay 125k...the execs have a real bad reputation, but my direct boss is a good person and I would work well with him. I read you recommending me to stay put based on your feedback though.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

Locard wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:05 pm Take a very close look at your states pension rating. You are doing a great job of mitigating that risk by investing too. Do you get SS as well? Do you have any desire to retire before 62? All things to ponder. And don't think the gov can't change the rules after the fact. I only get COLA on the first $25,000 of my retirement, that was not the case when I started my state job.
I am eligible for SS....it is quite a good deal. I work for a county, though I've heard rumors about how litigious pension recipients would be in this state if it got messed with. This county has accommodated the expense of the pension by scaling down the percent for future employees. I haven't thought about retiring before 62 because I like working hard and making money for now.
dachshunddad
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by dachshunddad »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:08 pm
dachshunddad wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:44 pm Do you like your current job? If you are happy and enjoy your work, I probably wouldn’t change to just increase your salary. However, if you are not that satisfied and the thought of changing jobs is enticing then I’d would consider it. You have health insurance and a pension through your wife so you do have some stability there. I would base it more on what would make you happier. Not in a fluffy way but “I like my job a lot but making more would be nice”—probably stay. “I wish I could go on my own and create something/hard charge”— probably look at switching. Sounds like you are a talented individual so will excel either way, go luck!
I appreciate the encouragement here. I am satisfied with my job. My boss let's me work on whatever project I want and it an easy environment. I am quite competitive and my peers making 100k-130k/year bugs me bad. This job that would pay 125k...the execs have a real bad reputation, but my direct boss is a good person and I would work well with him. I read you recommending me to stay put based on your feedback though.
I personally wouldn’t take a job that had a bad reputation for its management. A job/group/company is only as good as its people. Before I changed out of a job I enjoyed I would need to do a lot of due diligence and have it really excite me. Having a bad reputation is a no go in my book.
mkc
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by mkc »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:08 pm I appreciate the encouragement here. I am satisfied with my job. My boss let's me work on whatever project I want and it an easy environment. I am quite competitive and my peers making 100k-130k/year bugs me bad. This job that would pay 125k...the execs have a real bad reputation, but my direct boss is a good person and I would work well with him.
Immediate managers can change frequently. I think I had a new one every 18 months. No direct manager can make up for bad execs, especially if they are directed by/put in position by those execs.
SteadyOne
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by SteadyOne »

Unless you work for the federal government, I would be skeptical about planning for specific pension income 20-30 years from now. Even then. Those are promises. How well pension fund is funded in your case?
If you are young and flexible and in high demand go and work for private sector, just avoid lifestyle creep and cash stock options right away. Then plan to leave for a government job as you are getting close to 50. Few in private sector have gray hair, except executives.
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

Betterself wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:08 pm I would consider your potential in both routes not only the current situation. what will you be in ten years? Say, if you in a position two to three rungs higher than your current position, Will the private route earn 2x or higher? Are you highly motivated and capable? If yes, I would.

However, the above situation is a high bar. Ortherwise, I would stay with the government job because 100k private job won’t provide a comfortable/stable retirement that your job does.
Thanks for bringing this up. Yes, if I am doing good work and get along with private sector management, one rung higher is about 170k in today's dollars. Two rungs up would be the executive team. I won't try and project much after that, but it could be quite lucrative.
Last edited by Mulleg123 on Sat Dec 12, 2020 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
joetro29
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by joetro29 »

Another public perk - retiree healthcare before turning 65 and Part D coverage at 65.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

joetro29 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:57 pm Another public perk - retiree healthcare before turning 65 and Part D coverage at 65.
Health coverage isn't a benefit for retirees from this government agency. I'll be paying out of pocket plus medicare.
oldfort
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by oldfort »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:57 pm
Betterself wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:08 pm I would consider your potential in both routes not only the current situation. what will you be in ten years? Say, if you in a position two to three rungs higher than your current position, Will the private route earn 2x or higher? Are you highly motivated and capable? If yes, I would.

However, the above situation is a high bar. Ortherwise, I would stay with the government job because 100k private job won’t provide a comfortable/stable retirement that your job does.
Thanks for bringing this up. Yes, if I am doing good work and get along with private sector management, one rung higher is about 170k in today's dollars. I won't try and project much after that, but it could be quite lucrative.
Now is the time for some honest self reflection. Not everyone has the skills to be in management. Not everyone in government has the skills to succeed in the private sector. If your ceiling in the private sector is going to be $170k+ and your ceiling in government is expected to be $115k, the additional investments from saving an extra $55k/year can blow your pension out of the water. At least from a financial perspective, it looks like the private sector job is a no brainer based on growth potential.
dj22
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by dj22 »

Slow and steady wins the race.

I entered Government service at the age of 26 taking a $15,000 annual pay cut. Now I am 51 years old and way ahead financially than if I stayed in the private sector. I will be eligible to retire in 5 more years. Like you my wife has similar benefits and is already retired.
adestefan
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by adestefan »

I’ll offer the opposing view that’s in the middle. I worked for the federal government for some time at the start of my career and had no plans on leaving. That was until I started to hit some roadblocks about where I wanted to go with my career. At that time I left for a 50% increase in pay and better benefits outside of retirement plans/pension in the private sector, but was never really happy.

About 9 years ago I moved to a non-profit lab. My salary stayed similar to what I was making in the private sector, but I know I’ve given up some salary over the time frame compared to the private sector. However, the benefits turned out to be fabulous. I have over 5 weeks of vacation, great insurance, and the equivalent of 12% of matching for retirement. I also have the freedom to select and choose what I work on, who I want to be on my teams, and various other things that make work/life balance great.

Right before the pandemic a friend that still works for the government tried to get me to come back and I seriously considered it even. I ended up turning it down because I would have to take an immediate pay cut and would have ended up being topped out by the salary scale soon unless I ended up as a senior executive real fast. I also really like my five weeks of vacation. On the opposite end I’ve been tempted by big salary increases by moving back to the private sector. However, a lot of the benefits aren’t as great (“unlimited” time off is a farce) nor do I want to give up the autonomy that I have now.

There’s a lot of different work environments out there and you’ll never know where you may end up. I wouldn’t take the offer you got if you feel like the company would be a miserable place. However, I also wouldn’t use that as an excuse to stay a public employee forever. Right now you have a good, stable job. That just means you can wait to find so else that would be a better opportunity for what you want.
Firemenot
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Firemenot »

Private all day long. And I say this having seen both of my parents and three in-laws (divorce) all work in public sector whole careers. Yeah you can have a pension and be deadwood if you choose and get away with it in the public sector, but if you’re competent and a go-getter type, private sector all day long. Some of my parents experiences in public sector are so bizarre you couldn’t make them up if you tried.
oldfort
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by oldfort »

Firemenot wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:19 pm Private all day long. And I say this having seen both of my parents and three in-laws (divorce) all work in public sector whole careers. Yeah you can have a pension and be deadwood if you choose and get away with it in the public sector, but if you’re competent and a go-getter type, private sector all day long. Some of my parents experiences in public sector are so bizarre you couldn’t make them up if you tried.
Care to elaborate on why if you have a reason other than compensation.
RJC
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by RJC »

OP, what type of work do you do? The differences between private and public varies greatly depending on what field you are in.

Also, some folks are driven by money but others may desire to serve the public good. Money shouldn't be the ultimate goal (unless you are struggling).
mark39
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by mark39 »

My experience may be a little different with public sector employment so here is just my example. I have worked for county governments for 13 years and just started a state job. Two of my county jobs were supervisory jobs and thus I was consistently taken advantage of in ways you probably can't imagine. So that is something to definitely keep in mind if you are not covered by a union or that particular agency doesn't have strict rules on how employees are treated. These days, due to litigation/taxpayer funding and accountability/social media/etc, there is usually at least some pressure on management to play by the book but not always. Definitely something to keep in mind.

i know in the old days people typically took government jobs with slightly lower pay for much better benefits and job security. That is not the case any more in most places. Not even close and so much so that i wonder why this myth persists since it hasn't been true for many years now. Your situation may be different and you may already know how work will be but if you don't know for sure I would do some very serious investigating.There are metrics and KPI's in almost all jobs now because everything is so data driven these days. You don't get to punch in, get coffee, take a long lunch, b.s. with coworkers for 2 hours, and then punch out.

Just my personal opinion but it looks like you are at the income in either job where your happiness is basically maximized depending on the cost of living in your area. Further increases in income will only push your happiness up a tiny fraction from here. So take the job that allows the least amount of hours, work, stress, etc. Just be sure you gather as much information about each job before making a decision. Also, try to gather some information from public employees who have been in the sector less than 10-15 years. Their experience is likely a lot different than people who began their careers in the 80's, 90's early 2000's. Do not risk an iota of happiness, both personally and at work, for a few thousand extra dollars a year.

Just an example, probably more for my own venting needs but could serve as a warning. I was working my normally scheduled shift 0800-1600. Someone called off at 1530 for the overnight shift that night. Guess who covered that night from 0000-0800? Me. Guess who worked his normally scheduled 0800-1600 shift immediately following the overnight shift? Me. Pretty bad but once isn't the end of the world. It happened more than half a dozen times in 6 months. Didn't earn an OT or comp time. Just 24 hours of work in 32 hours for the same pay.
stoptothink
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by stoptothink »

Firemenot wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:19 pm Yeah you can have a pension and be deadwood if you choose and get away with it in the public sector...
When I left for the private sector 6yrs ago I took the only 3 (of 24) employees who had any drive with me. I've had some bad employees in the private sector, but the general attitude of apathy that was just sort of expected (in 3 different public sector organizations over 9yrs) just was not for me. YMMV.
Topic Author
Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

RJC wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:25 pm OP, what type of work do you do? The differences between private and public varies greatly depending on what field you are in.

Also, some folks are driven by money but others may desire to serve the public good. Money shouldn't be the ultimate goal (unless you are struggling).
I work in mental health. Their are significant differences in my role. In the private sector I'll be managing a program. In the government I'll have more capability to help the community, which is somewhat important. Though I could feed that monkey in either position.
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Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

mark39 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:44 pm My experience may be a little different with public sector employment so here is just my example. I have worked for county governments for 13 years and just started a state job. Two of my county jobs were supervisory jobs and thus I was consistently taken advantage of in ways you probably can't imagine. So that is something to definitely keep in mind if you are not covered by a union or that particular agency doesn't have strict rules on how employees are treated. These days, due to litigation/taxpayer funding and accountability/social media/etc, there is usually at least some pressure on management to play by the book but not always. Definitely something to keep in mind.

i know in the old days people typically took government jobs with slightly lower pay for much better benefits and job security. That is not the case any more in most places. Not even close and so much so that i wonder why this myth persists since it hasn't been true for many years now. Your situation may be different and you may already know how work will be but if you don't know for sure I would do some very serious investigating.There are metrics and KPI's in almost all jobs now because everything is so data driven these days. You don't get to punch in, get coffee, take a long lunch, b.s. with coworkers for 2 hours, and then punch out.

Just my personal opinion but it looks like you are at the income in either job where your happiness is basically maximized depending on the cost of living in your area. Further increases in income will only push your happiness up a tiny fraction from here. So take the job that allows the least amount of hours, work, stress, etc. Just be sure you gather as much information about each job before making a decision. Also, try to gather some information from public employees who have been in the sector less than 10-15 years. Their experience is likely a lot different than people who began their careers in the 80's, 90's early 2000's. Do not risk an iota of happiness, both personally and at work, for a few thousand extra dollars a year.

Just an example, probably more for my own venting needs but could serve as a warning. I was working my normally scheduled shift 0800-1600. Someone called off at 1530 for the overnight shift that night. Guess who covered that night from 0000-0800? Me. Guess who worked his normally scheduled 0800-1600 shift immediately following the overnight shift? Me. Pretty bad but once isn't the end of the world. It happened more than half a dozen times in 6 months. Didn't earn an OT or comp time. Just 24 hours of work in 32 hours for the same pay.
My job, supervisor, and executive team are VERY forgiving with time off and only working the 8-5 unless we have lives on the line. People often don't think that happens in mental health, but it does. It is rare though. I'm not sure about the culture in private sector, but since I know my would be boss pretty well I suspect it would be good enough.
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Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

stoptothink wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:16 pm
Firemenot wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:19 pm Yeah you can have a pension and be deadwood if you choose and get away with it in the public sector...
When I left for the private sector 6yrs ago I took the only 3 (of 24) employees who had any drive with me. I've had some bad employees in the private sector, but the general attitude of apathy that was just sort of expected (in 3 different public sector organizations over 9yrs) just was not for me. YMMV.
This is certainly not me. A small group of colleagues across our different units/departments have a networking group for people that actually care and work hard.

A few others in this thread referenced the work culture/style being different in private versus government. I can definitely keep up - I pride myself on being able to. I'm more concerned of potentially being undervalued in the government despite my work ethic. I've been told that if I was older I would've been promoted again (those conversations were off the record).
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Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

Firemenot wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:19 pm Private all day long. And I say this having seen both of my parents and three in-laws (divorce) all work in public sector whole careers. Yeah you can have a pension and be deadwood if you choose and get away with it in the public sector, but if you’re competent and a go-getter type, private sector all day long. Some of my parents experiences in public sector are so bizarre you couldn’t make them up if you tried.
I feel this last part. The government jobs where it is impossible to get someone out draws the craziness. Just wild.
Thegame14
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Thegame14 »

stay in govt, if you want/need more income start a side hustle, trust my public sector is full of A-hole bosses, unlimited overtime, which is you working for free, and stress....not worth it for a crappy 401K and crappy benefits.....
vinhodoporto
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by vinhodoporto »

Does your wife also work for the government? Where I’m going with this is if her income is safe and she has a pension I think that makes it less risky for you to try out something in the private sector.

From a financial standpoint I don’t think the private sector opportunities you’re looking at are that compelling given that you’ll be giving up your pension and the university side job, plus more of your time each week, and will be taking on more stress and risk.

If you stay in the government job, is there a way for you to make more money and get more fulfillment by taking on additional side work like what you’re doing at the university?

Is there any reason you need to make this decision right now? You mentioned that you’re a new dad (congratulations!) - maybe wait a year or two and see if the family situation is pulling you strongly one way or another?
retire2022
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by retire2022 »

Mulleg123 wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:13 pm
Firemenot wrote: Sun Dec 13, 2020 7:19 pm Private all day long. And I say this having seen both of my parents and three in-laws (divorce) all work in public sector whole careers. Yeah you can have a pension and be deadwood if you choose and get away with it in the public sector, but if you’re competent and a go-getter type, private sector all day long. Some of my parents experiences in public sector are so bizarre you couldn’t make them up if you tried.
I feel this last part. The government jobs where it is impossible to get someone out draws the craziness. Just wild.
In all fairness the crazies could be the political appointees aka bosses (at will) who got their position because they raised funds (patronage) for an elected official, civil servants (took an exam or have professional license) have job protection and unionized, my former pain in the rectal area was a womanizer, and did things on the whim.
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Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

vinhodoporto wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:00 am Does your wife also work for the government? Where I’m going with this is if her income is safe and she has a pension I think that makes it less risky for you to try out something in the private sector.

From a financial standpoint I don’t think the private sector opportunities you’re looking at are that compelling given that you’ll be giving up your pension and the university side job, plus more of your time each week, and will be taking on more stress and risk.

If you stay in the government job, is there a way for you to make more money and get more fulfillment by taking on additional side work like what you’re doing at the university?

Is there any reason you need to make this decision right now? You mentioned that you’re a new dad (congratulations!) - maybe wait a year or two and see if the family situation is pulling you strongly one way or another?
Yes I've been looking at other universities, consulting, or private practice. Any of those options would change the 10-11k to 13-16k. Those should probably be off the table if I go private - I want to be around him at least some!

The only immediate pressure is these private sector positions will fill and I'll have to wait for the next opportunity. That isn't a great justification to be pressured and likely one you assumed.

Hey thanks for the congrats. He's a cute little dude.
Benjammin75
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Benjammin75 »

As a public sector lifer here's my take. Been there, done that. About half way into my career I was able to take a 1 year LOA to dip my toe into the private sector. While the experience was worthwhile, I knew about 10 months in that it wasn't for me. Yes, the potential for increased earnings was tempting, however the self focused workplace environment and randomness of ownerships whims and demands made it a no brainer for me. I finished up my very fulfilling career in the public sector and am now happily retired enjoying all that my career has given me (pension, deferred comp, 457, 403b). I couldn't be happier!
fishnhunt
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by fishnhunt »

I vote for public sector. For me the biggest reasons are the amount of vacation time I get, flexibility in work schedule and ability to retire early at 55 with a fully funded pension plan. I have been tempted to go work for a consultant and make $20k more per year but I know I would not get the amount of vacation time I do now and the ability to use that time when I want. I make "enough" now, so there is no reason to go make more elsewhere to sacrifice the quality of life I have now.
basspond
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by basspond »

I have two relatives who went the public route while I took the private/corporate path. They were able to retire before me (but all by mid 50s). Can’t really knock or support one over the other. Just work hard, keep motivated, always look for ways to improve and you will have a long, rewarding career.
Jags4186
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Jags4186 »

Don’t be lured by the “upward mobility” line of talk. They say that to everyone. They say it because it helps whet your appetite. It may very well be true, but not for you. Make this move with the eye on the next move.

An $85k pension is like having a $2mm+ retirement account. Will the additional salary allow you to save significantly more than that by the time you retire?
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Mulleg123
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by Mulleg123 »

Jags4186 wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:33 am Don’t be lured by the “upward mobility” line of talk. They say that to everyone. They say it because it helps whet your appetite. It may very well be true, but not for you. Make this move with the eye on the next move.

An $85k pension is like having a $2mm+ retirement account. Will the additional salary allow you to save significantly more than that by the time you retire?
Based of some calculations, and reiterated by some other responders to this thread, I think so. That would certainly make the raise more marginal.
fedworker2021
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Re: Public vs Private Sector Employment

Post by fedworker2021 »

I’m also 33 and work for the federal government. I vote stay gov! I’ve worked for the feds for 10 years and have hit multiple promotions to get to a significant salary level. However, the flexibility in time off, pension, health benefits, etc. outweigh moving over to private. This is very important to me while raising a family and I consider myself fortunate to work for the government. I’ll be gov for my whole life. My only advice is to weigh everything, not just the salary. If you do choose to leave, your prior fed status will at least make it easier to get back in if you do choose.
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