Monday, September 12, 2011

Government job as a career

India is a land of villages. You go to any village and ask a literate youngster what their dream job is? You would be surprised to get the answer - Govenment job. Not just that, you talk to people from towns and tier-II cities and you get the same reply. I was surprised when I was talking to an NRI friend working overseas earning a six figure pay per month say that he would prefer a low paying Government job rather than a high paying job in the private sector. When searching for a groom, brides and their parents prefer a person who is in Government service even today when there are ample high paying jobs in the private sector. 

What is it that makes someone aspire a Government job? The obvious answer is "job security". Add to it some additional benefits like free medical treatment for dependants, assured loans from banks in times of need, generous leave travel concessions for self and family, leave encashment facility, drawal of advance for festivals, abundant leave facilities - to pursue higher education, to try for a better job and medical emergencies.  At the end of the career, there is something called a retirement age when the job holder attains superannuation when he/she is paid the gratuity in addition to the savings made in a provident fund. In some jobs, there is an assured pension scheme taken care of, by the Government and in the rest of the jobs there is a contributory pension scheme where the job holder saves some of his salary and some amount deposited by the Government. And there are some who either join with vested interests or get vested interests during the service with some ulterior motives, though such cases should be an exception rather than a norm. This is the perfect picture that one expects out of a government job, something akin to the proverb- "Grass is green on the other side of the fence". A job in Government to some people is like getting a confirmed reservation in a long distance train and if such people doesn't get a confirmed ticket they try different ways and means to get the ticket (read Government job). We have many scandals in job recruitments because of these kinds of people.

Well, if you have read this far, you have seen the outside perspective. Now, let's see how a Government job looks from the inside. The moment someone is selected for a Government job, he/she would be kept on probation for the first two years when they would be watched keenly for any indiscipline, disintegrity etc. and when such issues crop up they can be thrown out of the job. If they are given proper training, it is easy to adapt to the work conditions but if there is no formal training given by the concerned department, the new employee has to undergo lot of hardships as he/she hasn't learned these techniques while in school or college. In some departments like the revenue department, if the new employer doesn't work on a file because he is not trained for that, he/she wouldn't be spared as the Government revenue would be at stake. Such employees, even if they have completed the probation period without a remark wouldn't be able to work happily in the years to come as they have to cover up the way certain files have been handled because of their ignorance of law and procedures. In some Government departments there is a lot of stagnation with promotion avenues directly linked to the retirement of seniors. Some departments provide just one promotion in a service span of 30 years.Any amount of coaxing by the government giving higher pay scales without giving an actual promotion doesn't reduce their plight.

Government job as a career is a great option only for someone who has joined as a Civil servant or for someone who leads a contended life, living in his means and on his salary alone. But for people with high ambitions who want to earn big money a Govenment job is not the right career.

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