Why You Should Work in Local Government
Local government is a great place to make a living. The odds of getting rich are slim to none, but public service provides stability and employee benefits unmatched in most other lines of work. In rural areas, a local government job is often one of the best gigs in town. And it isn’t too shabby in a big city, either. Here are some of the reasons to work in local government.
Make a Difference in Your Community
Many people work in local government to make a difference in their communities.
Local public servants see the effects of their work in the lives of citizens. For example, firefighters rush to vehicle crashes, grass fires and structure fires scarcely a few miles from their own homes. On any emergency call, the people firefighters rescue could be their own family members, friends and neighbors. No matter who they pull out of a totaled vehicle, apartment building, house or business, firefighters meet the urgent needs of their fellow community members.
This same impact happens with other local government jobs. However, most of these jobs do not require risking severe injury and death. Nonetheless, public servants at the local level directly serve members of their communities. Take school teachers, for instance. Each day, they instruct students whose families may attend their same churches, shop at the same grocery stores or play at the same parks. The lesson plans teachers create in the summer are executed in the school year for the benefit of local children.
Public servants do not have to work directly with citizens like firefighters and school teachers do in order to have an impact on their communities. Accountants and internal auditors ensure tax dollars are spent legally. They may not like some of the choices their elected bosses make, but they can make sure expenditures are accounted for and available for public scrutiny.
Each public servant plays a role in delivering the goods and services provided by local government. They can drive around their own towns and see how their efforts have benefited the lives of others.
Work With Your Neighbors
Not only can you serve your neighbors through local government service, you can work alongside you neighbors as well. This is true for most any job in a rural area, but in big cities, local government offers a unique opportunity to work with people you live near. For example, police officers can choose to live in the part of town they most frequently patrol. In addition to doing their duty for the reasons all other police officers do, they have a vested interest in making their parts of town the safest they can be.
People in urban and suburban cities commute many miles per day getting to and from jobs working with people from various places within the metropolitan area. Suburban communities and satellite offices in large cities give employees the opportunity to work where they live.
Diversity of Jobs
Local government offers a vast variety of jobs. We have already mentioned several positions: firefighter, police officer and school teacher; and there are countless others such as recreation coordinator, public information officer, sanitation worker and probation officer.
No matter what your particular skill set happens to be, there is an excellent chance you can put it to productive use in local government. You cannot be an astronaut for a local government jurisdiction, but there are plenty of positions that need people with strong math and science skills. Similarly, you cannot be a Secret Service agent in local government, but you can prevent and investigate crime as an employee of a police department or sheriff's office.
Jobs in all levels of government have generous benefits packages. What government jobs lack in salary, they make up for in vacation leave, sick leave, retirement systems and health insurance. A typical government employee’s standard of living would go down if that employee were to accept a position in the private sector with the same or slightly higher salary.
The dollar value of a government job is much more than the amount on the paycheck.