Are you looking for a career that is personally rewarding and makes an impact at the community level? A job with local government in a city, town, county or special district may be a good match.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to every job but working for a local government agency comes with some exceptional benefits. They may not exist in every city and town, but here are a few of the traditional benefits associated with working for a local government.
Most government offices tend to close on the weekends and holidays with a standard 8:00 am to 5:00 pm office schedule. Many agencies also offer alternative work schedules with flex time and telecommuting to ease commuting and support employees that have child or elder care responsibilities. The ability to succeed at work and be available for family needs is important to many, and in municipal work, with the exception of emergency personnel and field services, employees tend to be able to have a good work-life balance.
Serving the Public
Imagine contributing to the everyday facets of life in your community! From the soccer fields to the sidewalks, the fire engine with paramedics, water in the shower and lights along the roadway, all are services that local government provides to the public. You can contribute to making a community a great place to work, live or play in any role in local government. When you work for an organization that helps the community, you have a sense of pride (and responsibility) for the work you do.
Municipalities generally have a lower salary but offer and contribute to a defined benefit retirement plan. Depending on the municipality, it may take 30 years or more to reach eligibility for a full retirement or you may decide to retire earlier with less of a benefit. Either way, once you retire, you have a great benefit. You can calculate the value of the benefit by reviewing the job announcement and projecting the retirement payment. Usually a retiree receives the benefit for life and may have the option to reserve a portion for their spouse should the spouse outlive the retiree.
Additionally, most municipalities encourage employees to participate in supplemental retirement savings plans through deferred compensation or IRA plans.
Unlike the private sector, public sector, public sector employees are less subject to the ups and downs of the marketplace when it comes to layoffs and employee cutbacks. This does not mean that you can have low performance or acts of misconduct and still find yourself employed, but it does mean that good employees have more job security. If you work in the office of an elected official, obviously that security could vary based on whether he or she is reelected.
Vacation, Sick Leave and Health Insurance
Municipal workers often find themselves with additional benefits. These would include health insurance with partially paid premiums, vacation days, sick days and holidays. When combined with base salary, all these benefits increase one’s total compensation. Your local government may offer other benefits, as well, to include employee assistance programs, deferred compensation programs or life insurance plans.
You get to work with like-minded co-workers who are committed to better communities, transparent government services and a sense of satisfaction that comes from contributing to others. You get a job that makes a difference with good benefits, job security and work-life balance. Working for local government may be just what you're looking for.
Credit: Carmen Jimenez, HR Departmental Manager, City of El Paso