Career in Public Service: Worth the Risk?

Into the fire

Many youngsters grow up dreaming to become police officers and fire fighters, mayors, teachers, etc. and it is for good reason. These careers allow one to join a good cause and truly be a hero in their communities. Risking ones life is a noble task, but what many forget is that a career must also be able to pay for their future families and other life dreams, whatever they may be. Is this career path one that can do that? Like any career path, there are upsides and drawbacks.

Security/Risk
The compelling component of this career is that although the lifestyle involved certainly poses significant risk, there is general strong employment security because these careers are government sponsored, and are generally positions needed at all economic cycles. This means that even in the case of a serious recession, these jobs will usually be safely employed. Of course, there may be exceptions this rule, but in general job security here is safer than many. For instance, may finance related workers can be laid off when there is a recession.

Rigorous Training
These positions unfortunately require serious training programs over a long period of time, and all employees that join these training programs do not pass the final qualifications to become certified within their career. This makes sense: a police officer needs to be very skilled in the technique and work functions of his job given that they often encounter life threatening situations.

Easier Path than Many Careers
Despite these difficult training programs, these careers do not require a college education in most cases which can be very attractive for those that do not want to spend the money, or do not have the money to do spend. Although it is a common theme in recent years that a college degree is necessary to achieve a successful future career, it is also a fact that thousands of college students graduate each year with no job and no outstanding future career path.

Reputation
This portion is my personal opinion, but one that I think many would agree with. Those in the position of police officer, fireman and the like carry a very high level of honor and respect because they are serving their communities and putting their lives at risk every day of their career, more so than almost any career. While this should not be a reason to choose a career path on its own, there will likely be a high level of daily job satisfaction as one can take pride knowing their career adds value to their community on a daily basis.

Hopefully this will lead to some readers pursuing public service as a career path, and happy to answer questions on the topic.

This article has been written as a part of a Choose the Right Career For You Series.

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