Is A Federal Government Position Something You Should Consider?

There are over two million people employed by the federal government working various jobs such as lawyers, doctors, clerks, HR specialists, aircraft mechanics, etc. It’s been 10 or more years since the government has don’t any major layoffs and the benefits for both health and vacation are outstanding.

It would seem that getting a job in the government is a smart move, but is it?

5 Positive Reasons to Work for The Government

Government’s Mission

Many people enjoy the mission of the federal government. After all, they run national parks, run the Social Security program, support the military before and after a person’s service, space exploration, IRS, etc.  Work in the government can be very exciting.

Time Off

Federal workers get great leave benefits – 13 days sick leave and 13 days yearly leave. After three years, the leave increases to 20 days and then 26 days after you’ve worked in the government for 15 years. You also get ten paid holidays with federal workers getting anywhere from 36 to 49 paid days off each year.

You could also accrue 30 days of yearly leave and unlimited sick days to boot. Who wouldn’t want that?

Health Insurance

There are 30+ plans for federal workers to choose from including HMO, high deductible and fee-for-service plans, and they all come with affordable rates. The government also pays the most for the insurance.  You can also take the health insurance plan with you after you retire and the government still pays most of it.


Workers can get a defined benefit retirement program in the form the Federal Employees Retirement System. Where private sectors employees don’t have many options, FERS is available for federal workers.

Promotions and Reassignments

Many government jobs are filled in-government by current employees, which is why it’s easy to serve 30 or more years in the government but work in various agencies doing all kinds of jobs. They can also keep their same insurance and retirement programs when they move around the government.

4 Key Reasons Not to Work for The Federal Government


There is so much bureaucratic red tape that it can be challenging to get your work done. Sure, it’s possible the red tape is there for some good reasons, but not in a way that the private sector would apply it.

Inflexible Pay

Many federal employees fall under the General Schedule derived pay plan. It doesn’t matter how well or bad you do your job; you follow the pay rules laid out under the GS plan.  Entry level high-demand positions don’t always pay the best, and there may not be a lot of bonuses such as stock options.

Slow Promotions

Even the best employees don’t get promoted more than once a year because of bureaucratic red tape. This can cause some people to turn down a federal job.


The political system itself can be a reason not to take a job with the federal government. After all, it seems politicians target federal workers for one reason or another.  Many people look at those in federal jobs as lazy and incompetent who can’t find an actual job. For example, Transportation Security Officers agents are often called government gropers when they have to do pat downs. And, it’s not uncommon for Census Bureau workers to be physically attacked during their jobs.

Should You or Should You Not Work for The Federal Government

The answer lies in the agency you go to work for. Some agencies offer more flexibility than others, but some agencies get better benefits than others. It all boils down to what you are looking for from the position.

While working for the government does have its downsides (such as the politics), overall, it’s still better than most private sector jobs with excellent job security, benefits and more.