This week our career series takes us to the door step of the inevitable public sector. Lots of young People today prefer to work in the private sector and they can give you a myriad of reasons. And can you blame them for that? The negative feedback is that getting a job in the public sector is almost as if one has decided to deliberately embark on a fruitless journey. The “whom you Know” or “Who Knows you” syndrome has made it impossible to get a job in the public sector. The closely guarded social class of glorified nepotism, and sometimes the most glaring form of incompetence is just off putting and could very well be responsible for why lots of us shy away from the public sector.
It’s time we saw the positive side of the public sector and channel our talent into helping our nation develop. Perhaps these points might help you decide whether you want to work in Ghana’s public sector or not.
Study Leave With Pay: The Public sector is literally the institution where you can “eat your cake and still have it”. Study leave means whilst you are on break studying, you get paid the same amount that you’d receive if you were working full time. Some of us cannot afford to quit our work completely to pursue educational goals considering the financial obligations that we may have to meet. Or where do you get money to foot your bills if you have to choose between the job and school. In the public sector you have this luxury. Once you get the go ahead, this educational and job freedom will prove to be extremely important. You can keep your job and go school all at the same time. Mostly you need to do two or more years on the job to qualify for a study leave with pay, which is quite reasonable.
No Overambitious Demands: I am a great fan of positive competition and competence because after you pass a test or make a milestone, you come out as a better person. And perhaps this might be one of the strong reasons why people choose the private sector over public service. However when employers set outrageous targets for their workers to achieve, work moves from comfortable to a nightmare and you keep wondering how you can meet those targets before the month ends. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard to meet your targets when you actually can. Sometimes you know the resources at your disposal and the environment you are working in just makes it impossible for you to succeed and bring remarkable results. Luckily in the public sector, you are not likely to face such situations. You can have your peace of mind. There are usually no targets but a set of routine task to do every time and this will invariably lead to a “routine specialization”, which is not particularly a bad thing so far as you enjoy your routine.
Specialization: The horizontal career path in the public sector gives you the chance to work and specialise in your line of work. You develop a skill set that is so valuable and sometimes unique to you. Unlike in the private sector where you can be reshuffled and reassigned three times in three years, the government sector is fairly stable. How then do you carve a niche for yourself in your area expertise when you have become and object of constant portfolio experiment? Once you gain employment in the Public sector, you immediately know your path to the “Top”. You only have to keep to Patience, that one day all your superiors retire and you will eventually reach where the “big bucks” are.
Government Sponsorship For Staff Upgrading: The government sponsors workers to further their education Both in Ghana and abroad. Bilateral relations with other countries and international organizations are rife in the government sector, which means that projects that come in through these partnerships normally require skill training or traveling abroad. These are opportunities for your taking. Immediately after you become a permanent staff, there are also opportunities for workshops and training program. Any focused person can make good all these opportunities.
Annual Leave: A Minimum 30 days annual leave minus weekends and holidays and 45 days for senior staff. Every government worker is entitled to this annual leave. If you are wondering what happens in the private sector then it will be half at best. 15 days at best for junior employees. I bet you can do something within that one month period.
Lots Of Time To Attend To Other Matters: Most government agencies do not have time trackers for their workers and this gives you enough room to operate as you don’t stick to a schedule and of a necessity perform a task even when its relevancy is undermined. And the best part is that staff convenience packages may even allow you to do six hours a day instead of the usual eight hours. If you want some time to attend to your personal business or enterprise.
You may also be interested in reading about Recruitment in Ghana’s Public Sector. What you must know.
Think its time to make a shift to the Public Sector? Let us know in the comments.
Career Opportunities and Challenges in the Public Sector
In spite of the many shortfalls however, the public sector offers so many opportunities for people who have great career ambitions in mind. First you have to be smart about getting in and then you chart a course for yourself aiming for the top or the very best your career option can offer. Our previous article on the public will surely serve you with the nuggets of getting a job in the public sector. Please click read
“How lucky you can be to serve your nation and get paid for it”. I say this with some sarcasm. Because even I, the most patriotic citizen of this country sometimes believe that this country is not worth dying for. But I recant minutes later after a usual soliloquy and pondering. After all, she is my mother land.
Build Your Resume And Track Record: Can you make yourself highly sought after? Sometimes our desperate government is ready to pay anything for service that only you can render. We can’t call that exploitation. You need to build a rand for yourself. People think it’s only those who work in the private sector who need to brand themselves but this should be true for all irrespective of whether in the public or private sector. Of course it may require that you acquire a degree, maybe 2nd and a 3rd degree. Determine to excel wherever whenever. If you can do this, then you may never have join in the job hustle. So make you relevant and highly competent. I rated this point first because it’s indispensable. However you should take the point bout networking very serious too.
Networking: In today’s world of Business networking it really important. The ‘’whom you know” or “who knows you” phenomenon really works although sometimes this encourages incompetence and nepotism but you should see this in the positive light. Sometimes all you need is a recommendation to get the job or get promoted. The people you meet daily are sometimes they key. Build a good relationship with them as they help might come handy in the future. Get you know you mates in school, Graduate school, workplace colleagues and the list goes on.
Prepare For Workplace Politics And Politricks: This is not say that you have to be a politician to work in the public sector. You need to think like one. You must of a necessity be cunning if you want to get the very top. This would require some emotional stability on your part and how to appeal not only to the emotions of others but create a perception of yourself as leadership material and very capable. I am not saying be a hypocrite and sycophant. Uphold your values and at the same time excel in what do. You might be on the receiving end of politricks and setups. It happens. That’s why you’ve got be smart about it. You should know how to treat your fellow workers and superiors.
Build You Integrity And Value: The temptation is always so great. Especially when you salary is never enough to keep your home running. You open yourself to options and before you know, you have joined the ranks to nation wreckers. And the next thing you’re in jail for corruption. It is imperative that you discipline yourself and live according to your means. You could save and start your own business on the side but never rely on the salary that comes from the government. There are situations where workers are not paid for a 6 months and over. What will you do if you find yourself in a situation like this? Survival instincts. Stealing instincts? Well this is time to build the content of your character. I need not to tell how much you will need this later.
Prepare Your Exit Strategy: Sometimes is sad to say. But political regimes affect the public sector. Some government might decide to not to hire like in the case of Ghana where the government on the advice of the international monetary fund froze public sector employment for about three years. In some cases it might even be worse in terms of downsizing or reshuffling you might have to be let go. What would you do in a situation like that? If you are not prepared or insured yourself with a side income then the worst might just happen. Other factors might also lead you to losing that job and when you do you better be prepared
if you are thinking of a career in the public sector then you should consider these points. Please feel free to share your views in the comments section.