I’m not of the opinion that government jobs are always better than private jobs, nor do I say the same about private jobs. Each has its pros and cons. In general government jobs are less stressful to their comparable private counterparts.
The government jobs seems better than a private job for a person with the following views (from what I have come to see in my organization which is a PSU) and may be termed as the pros:
- Laid back work attitude. Not eager to take much work load, and go that extra mile. I have seen many postpone work for the next day because it is their punch out time just like that even if it is doable in 10 mins.
- Not interested in learning new things to be relevant in his/her work when times change. Believe me, I have seen people who cannot create a word document drawing close to 1 Lakh per month salary just because they managed to get a PSU job before this was computerized.
- Not a target oriented job. There are mostly no monthly targets and most of the cases deadlines are not deadlines but time for the first of the next ten reminders.
- Job security and steady income. Believe me when I say this that you have to try really hard to lose a government job once you are permanent staff. Market crash and depression will seem like a joke of you are a government servant because that paycheck will be cashable at the end of the month no matter what. Even though, it will only be a 3% hike (excluding the DA change every quarter) every year, it a guaranteed 3% unlike the appraisal in private sector where your manager can not only withhold your increments but may be can even reduce it.
- Routine and fixed job description. Nothing new to learn. All jobs have fixed SOPs you just have to follow them. I say you don’t even need a brain. But then our brains are utilized for better things such as office politics, union activities, gossiping and creative file work so as to save our bums from trouble for the work not done on time.
- Perks and allowance. This is where the real temptation lies. Medical facilities and post retirement benefits. Even though Old pension scheme is abolished, there are organizations with their own pension schemes, EPS and other contributory pension plans which takes care of you in your old age. Executives are eligible for economy class flight tickets for official travel and accommodation in 4/5* hotels as per eligibility and liaison of the local office with hotels. A percentage of the basic salary is given as allowance for maintaining cook, maid, car, mobile etc.
- Work life balance. If you are looking for more time for yourself and family then this is the high paying low time intensive job for you. Most of the time it is 9-5with weekend off. The few times you have to work beyond that, the non executives can get overtime allowance and executives can opt for a compensatory leave on day of their choice for every 6 hours of overtime completed. If you are good at your work, there will be enough free time for you to pursue your other aspirations or hobbies. If you don’t do anything also there will be lot of time for everything else.
- Leaves. It’s true that you have to take permission of your superior for leaving your headquarters (place of posting) for going out of station, but the 30 paid and 20 half pay plus the 10–12 casual leaves a year sure do make up for the trouble. And it’s not that difficult to get the station leaves. I don’t think a private organization will entertain such leave benefits. More over for ladies there is 6 months maternity leave plus 2 year (730 days) child care leave eligibility till your child/ children turn 18. All this without affecting your increments or performance reviews.
- Power and respect. I don’t know how or why, government jobs are better respected than similar titled private jobs even when the private one is better paying and offers more opportunity. Power in government jobs are usually associated with UPSC and other gazetted posts, seldom this is there in PSU. Mostly its restricted within the organization.
- Transfers. This is not a pro per se, but if you open towards it then you can roam around India at government expense and get a great deal of exposure. Also if you are tight with the union and is the apple of the eye of your superior then you can evade the transfer and stay at your choice of station for your entire career.
Now, for the cons, some of the points from pros may find repeated here but that is from the point of view of a person only;
- Transfers. One day you are working in Southern part of India near your kith and kin and the next month you and your family is making your way into the interior of North East India. It will be a total cultural, cuisine and climate change for a South Indian.
- Pay and allowance. In private sector the pay exponentially increase with experience and new skill acquisition. You can earn 10–25 times your initial salary in 10 years if you do your work properly and acquire additional skills over the time. The same old 3% hike every year. You invented cure for cancer, you will get a 3% increment next year. You didn’t do any work this year? Here is your 3% increment. It will be frustrating for a youngster full of energy and ideas. PSUs are places where innovation and ideas come to die or get killed.
- Work. If you are good at your work and do it properly and on time, then you will get more work allocated to you. I found out about this the hard way. Even though it’s nowhere near the workload of my friend in private firms, I and a batch mate of mine handled effectively 50% of the work in our office while the remaining 8–10 officers handled the rest. It’s truly said that entire organizations in public sector thrives on the hard work of about 25% of the employees, rest are there just for the money.
- Office politics and Trade unions. This is the worst in PSUs. It’s necessary in some cases when an employee is mistreated by top management but in most cases these exist only to collect money from union members/ staff and play petty politics for the benefits of their leaders only. It is also a way for the political parties to control the PSUs. Yes men of top management will get the cushiest posting and less work while the person who is staying away from politics and doing his/her work will get the most difficult and problematic of assignments and postings.
- Promotion. It’s entirely dependent of your seniority and not your skill. It can be frustrating when you see numbskulls as your superiors and it is also equally disheartening to see PhD holders as your subordinates, who deserve better. By the way the top management can sabotage your promotion by starting vigilance enquires fro simple and trivial matters and withhold promotion due to non clearance from vigilance section.
- Intellectual stagnation. Apart from a selected few organizations, the main problem a new recruit faces is the stagnation of his/her intellectual growth. Sometimes there is nothing new to learn or apply your mind to. Once in the job and after a few years you actually transforms into a thing, with no drive to learn, it’s scary. It’s not that you don’t have the time but the work culture seduces to be lazy. You will need amazing will power to stay motivated to learn new things.
- Most of the people retiring at 60 from PSUs (especially administrative cadre and not technical) are useless after that since they don’t have any special skill set, and most of the time what they did can be done by a person with basic education and intelligence and even after working their whole life at it, they may not know the full details of their work. Same may not be the case for a 60 year old person employed in the private sector. He/She will have to be an expert in his/her field to keep the job at 60.
These are the thing which jumps to my mind upon seeing the question. This answer inherently doesn’t mean to throw a bad light on government jobs. I have seen very qualified and hard working people here, who are trying to bring changes to the system. The changes are showing bit by bit, albeit being too slow. If you have cleared a test which lakhs of people write and cleared interviews, then you are not stupid or inept and it all depend on YOU to carry on with the work with the same zeal that you had while preparing for the exams.