I’ve noticed an interesting trend recently. The trend isn’t based on a statistical study or anything other than anecdotal evidence, but I’ve noticed that more and more professionals are leaving the private sector and heading to governmental and other public jobs. Why? Quite simply put, the value of pensions and health care are starting to outweigh the cost of salary cuts.
I worry almost daily about the value of my 401k and my IRAs (and Bubelah’s). When we are older, these accounts will be the sole source of support for us, other than our children’s generosity. Right now, those accounts don’t exactly look like a goldmine. I am confident that my earning ability (and Bubelah’s, when she eventually returns to work) will be sufficient to support us, but at the same time I have no desire to work until I’m 70. At a minimum, I want to be working solely for the joy of it by that point – I want my retirement savings to cover my living expenses, and my work to be solely for the sake of my own personal interest.
But given the current economic conditions, a lot of people are going to opt for the (currently) stable prospect of government employment. A pension, fully-paid health care and almost-guaranteed employment are tempting alternatives in the current maelstrom. As people continually seek stability versus risk, government jobs are going to become more attractive. I don’t think they provide the long-term growth potential than corporate (or especially entrepreneurial) positions do, but they don’t carry the risk of layoffs and the tedium of being judged on your merits, either.
My aspirations still point me to entrepreneurialism, but I understand the desire for safety in an uncertain world. I simply find it amusing that once government and public sector jobs were looked down upon, but increasingly it appears that these jobs are becoming desirable. Times they are a-changin’….