For a while, the federal government may outpace the private sector in creating jobs. Among other things, the Obama administration has proposed transferring more than one hundred and forty thousand contractor positions over to the federal payroll. Sound interesting? Sure does. But if you’re used to the business world, the government’s culture might give you something of a, well, a shock.
If you’ve been laid off from the private sector, a government job can sure sound good. After all, federal job security and benefits are hard to beat.
But if you’ve always worked in the business world, you should prepare for a significantly different culture. For one thing, IT professionals need to possess both patience and adaptability if they’re going to succeed in the federal work force.
Not surprisingly, the government has more levels of hierarchy, so decisions take longer. Also, federal agencies are risk-averse by nature, so programs are thoroughly tested and debugged before they go live.
This is all good news for people who prefer a slower pace and who tend to be perfectionists. But it’s not so good for people who prefer a fast pace and more autonomy.
Also, most projects are national in scope and agencies are quite large. So just compiling all their requirements takes much longer than it would in the private world.
Federal IT professionals work in large teams, so decisions involve more people. That means you’ll have to make more compromises than you’re used to.
What’s the bottom line? If you’ve worked for a large company and liked it, you could fit right in with Uncle Sam.