State Vs. City Vs. County Vs. Federal Vs. Private

Hello All,

I would like some inputs, opinions, and thoughts, advice, and etc. on this topic:
State Vs. City Vs. County Vs. Federal Vs. Private Workforce

Just to name some ideas to talk about:
Benefits? Pay? Work-Life Balance? Enviroment? People? Personal Experience?

Sam Lee

Hey Sam, I've worked both in the private sector as a writer/researcher and for the state in various capacities.  

Pay: Generally speaking, you're going to get better pay in the private sector.  Most government jobs have a salary range with set performance raises and promotional tracks while private companies have more flexibility to pay top performers.

Benefits: Government, both state and local, wins here typically offering quality health insurance and a  defined benefit pension.  Some agencies may give you the option of a 401(k) if you want your savings to be more portable. 

Work-Life Balance: The public sector probably offers you a better chance of a job where you can unplug at 5pm but will definitely not have the perks common at most private sector offices. State employees in California have to join together to form coffee and water clubs (tap is free!).

Hope that helps!

I can't speak much to working for the city or state but for private (especially tech/startup jobs in the bay area) you can generally receive nice short term benefits (snacks, vacation, happy hours, etc.) as well as competitive salaries. But, you do lose in work-life balance because you tend to work longer hours or you have to make yourself available almost always on things like Slack.

From what I've heard from friends in government or local/state positions, they seem to have better long term benefits like 401ks, pension potential, etc.  They also jobs seem slightly more stable assuming you join work in a government industry that is very important to infrastructure. In contrast, private jobs--especially high risk ones like startups--can rise and fall in just 6 months.