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Guest rbrund

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Guest rbrund

I was wondering what your guys opinions was on State DOT work compared to Private work. What are pros and cons, and at a young age should i even be asking this question.

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Guest cmp252

Being on the gov. side and having several friends on the private (consulting) I would choose gov. It just depends on what you want to do. I doubt I will hang around much longer. From what I have looked at, the consulting side pays less and more work than the state. Of course the benifits are not as good on the private side. On the other hand I have looked at other jobs like project management and manufacturing and the pay is much much higher but you also work more for it which I dont have a problem with. I will say that the longer you stay on the gov. side the less oppurtunity you have for other options in the future, at least here anyway. It just gets so specific that you tend to close doors on other options. That would be why Im looking else where to something that I know will open alot of doors on down the road. That is the way it has worked out for me. I believe alot of it comes down to lifestyle. If you want to make okay money and have alot of time off or make very good money and not have as much time off. That would be my $.02. Good luck.

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Guest rbrund

Well the position within the state seems pretty intresting, they are looking for someone to head up the logo sign department. It just seems like right now as a traffic engineer, all my work is repetitive and although i like analying traffic and proposing mitigation. I want to make a difference. I also want to have work as work has slowed down a lot right now. I just dont know anymore being so early in my career.

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rbrund --

A lot of us find ourselves in the same position regardless of where we are at in our careers :true:

I work for a state agency in FL and right now the state is having a mass exodus of engineers leaving state employment for either another govt agency (municipality, Federal, etc.) or going into private practice. The primary problem with many states is that they are running into recurring budgetary shortfalls and often times not allowed to raise taxes to find alternate funding sources.

IMHO, working for the state presents you with the following problems:

1. Very low pay structure - you will be paid much less than your counterparts in industry, but also your counterparts in federal and local government.

2. Lack of increased revenue - many states are looking for ways to CUT taxes (funding sources) as there is a rise in necessary govt services. This translates to reduction in your workforce as well as paltry pay raises, if you get them. State of FL has resorted to offering one-time bonuses in lieu of pay raises because they are recurring costs AND they don't factor into the computed retirement pension. These one-time bonuses are also lump sum and paid across the board - meritorious work is NOT recognized.

3. Lack of recognized 'skill' - I am having to fight the battle that I am a 'real' engineer because most of my experience is with a state agency. Many other potential employers have not nor will not consider me as a 'serious' candidate because my job is labelled as permitting engineer. I have done A LOT more than just permitting, but my current position/employment puts out a different picture.

4. Benefits/retirement - It is true that states offer a pension and cover a fair payment for medical services. These benefits are slowly eroding though and the costs are mounting for health insurance. My concern about a pension is that it is based on a computation of your final salary. So I ask you - what is +/- 50% of a low, stagnant salary 35 yrs from now once inflation has eroded the current value of that salary??

Those are my major thoughts about state employment. I would encourage you to look towards federal govt employment or something within your city/county govt - you will get better pay, same or better benefits (health insurance, vacation, etc.), and you will still get the satisfaction that you are doing something useful - I can completely understand :)

Good luck - keep us informed about what you do.

JR

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I work in the private industry.

In my opinion...

Pros & Cons

DOT - Seems more laid back, more time off, less hours, not as strict deadlines and time constraints, more stable (always work to do), less pay, but better benefits (retirement, pension, medical, etc.).

Private - More stressful, less time to complete a project (because the sooner you get a job finished, the more the firm makes), you can have tons of work or not enough, more pay, more room for growth, not as good of benefits, no retirement pension, but 401k, profit sharing and better room for growth. In private you can move up and become a part-owner. Also, get to work on lots of projects, not only in the state, but all over. Can travel sometimes.

I would say it's just all on what you want to do, and either decision can be good depending on the person's preference. I would not knock a DOT, because most of the managers, supervisors, and owners here have worked at for a gov't agency at some time in their past. Some have retired from a DOT and then switch to private (get their pension from DOT, plus make real good money in the private because of their experience and ability to win projects from the DOT they have a good reputation with).

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I'll chime in here.

I think the longer you stay in state gov't the harder it will be to transfer into to private industry. If you work as a consultant and go gov't its kinda like throwing away everything you have worked for away. Being a consultant is all about the "feathers in the cap".

You will never get the respect from peers in gov't work.

If you go gov't, plan on staying a while.

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I'll chime in here.

I think the longer you stay in state gov't the harder it will be to transfer into to private industry. If you work as a consultant and go gov't its kinda like throwing away everything you have worked for away. Being a consultant is all about the "feathers in the cap".

You will never get the respect from peers in gov't work.

If you go gov't, plan on staying a while.

I agree... if you start in gov't

I would either

-leave early after you learn and get a good feel for your field, because I feel that a DOT is a good place for learning

-stay long, work towards that retirement money

In my division at work.... (transportation) it is not difficult for a tenured gov't employee to switch. It seems to me that they like having the experience from that employee, and the relations that the person brings to the firm. Then the clients (mostly DOT and GOV'T agencies dealing with transportation) are familiar with and hopefully trust the person that has moved on to the private industry.

Just go with your gut, make the best of it, and never second guess your decision.

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I moved FROM private sector work (8 years) to state government (for 9 years now). The move to state government was very appealing at the time - it was comparable pay, but far more relaxed work, better benefits, shorter hours, sleep well at night knowing I was doing something "good", etc. But, like JR said, many of the benefits have eroded now. I still have what anyone would consider a pretty "cool" job, but my pay has been frozen since 2000, and recently cut because of budget shortfalls, and I have been treated like dirt by incoming management. Don't understimate that aspect: you will be working for limited-term political appointees, NOT qualified people who have worked their way up based on merit. Maybe if you're low on the totem pole in some huge agency, this won't matter so much. But just keep that in mind - the people who hire you may like you and respect your qualifications, but four years later the new bunch won't know you from the next guy, and probably wants you gone so they can put their cousin Billy Bob into your sweet tax-payer paid cubicle.

Can you tell that I'm not happy with working for state government right now? It's OK in my mind, as long as you work in private sector long enough to develop marketable skills (because you pretty much won't in government) and enter government either a.) thinking that it's just for temporary fun & connection building (stay no more than 3-5 years), or b.) to "retire at the office" and collect your salary for 25 years until you can retire at home (if you don't commit suicide from the frustration first).

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I moved FROM private sector work (8 years) to state government (for 9 years now). The move to state government was very appealing at the time - it was comparable pay, but far more relaxed work, better benefits, shorter hours, sleep well at night knowing I was doing something "good", etc. But, like JR said, many of the benefits have eroded now. I still have what anyone would consider a pretty "cool" job, but my pay has been frozen since 2000, and recently cut because of budget shortfalls, and I have been treated like dirt by incoming management. Don't understimate that aspect: you will be working for limited-term political appointees, NOT qualified people who have worked their way up based on merit. Maybe if you're low on the totem pole in some huge agency, this won't matter so much. But just keep that in mind - the people who hire you may like you and respect your qualifications, but four years later the new bunch won't know you from the next guy, and probably wants you gone so they can put their cousin Billy Bob into your sweet tax-payer paid cubicle.

Can you tell that I'm not happy with working for state government right now? It's OK in my mind, as long as you work in private sector long enough to develop marketable skills (because you pretty much won't in government) and enter government either a.) thinking that it's just for temporary fun & connection building (stay no more than 3-5 years), or b.) to "retire at the office" and collect your salary for 25 years until you can retire at home (if you don't commit suicide from the frustration first).

Boy you and I think alike....

I think if you are fresh out of school then gov't is a good place to get your feet wet, screw up, ect. ect..

Most would admit you can easily go from consultant to gov't but it is sometimes not so easy to go gov't to private industry.

Then comes the question, "Is the gov't permanent?" Of course this answer is no unless you can stay 25 years.

Then you ask yourself from a consultanting standpoint "5 years down the road career wise, will I have been better off in private industry making contacts and adding feathers to the cap or working for the gov't in a specialized enviroment / situation?"

Who would you hire if you were the manager of an engineering firm and had the option to hire a consultant or a gov't employee?

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Guest cmp252

I have been in gov. for 7 years and I could see that door closing on future opportunities so If all goes well I will be headed to a new job in a couple of weeks. One that offers much more opportunity and financial gain.

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