Advice – government job before kids?

posted 3 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
7642 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

shadows9x :  I see you’re in Australia. You’re probably better asking on an Australian forum, because advice from elsewhere won’t be very relevant. 

Yes I’m Australian, but my maternity days were long ago, so I’m not sure how relevant my advice is. I spent about 10 years as a Stay-At-Home Mom and then went back into the private sector, but I was very lucky in that I got that job through a personal contact (someone I had worked with in my pre-maternity days). 

Post # 3
252 posts
Helper bee

I’m in the US so may be less relevant. While I used to work for the state, I don’t work for the government anymore but do marketing and business consulting with several government agencies. I’ve got to say – government is where careers go to die. People don’t care. Everybody is coasting. If you’re not a high power career type and just want good work-life balance it might be perfect. You’ll get great benefits and an OK salary. Personally, it looks dreadfully boring but delightfully unstressful. There are pros and cons either way and if I were looking for a well balanced lifestyle as a parent, a government job would be awesome!

Post # 4
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I’m in the US, so my experience might not be very relevant, but government maternity policies are generally better than in the private sector. In private, you’re lucky if you can take a three month unpaid leave – all the laws promise is that you won’t get fired in those three months (there are a lot of women not eligible even for that). Some government jobs promise a longer leave, and the city I leave in even allows a three year unpaid leave. I don’t know how they make that work, but I suspect the amount of inefficiency in the system means that if one employee is out for three years, the work of the agency doesn’t suffer much because they weren’t doing much in the first place 😛 Because yeah, the downside is that government is no place to build a career unless you’ve got connections, and you might end up stuck in a dead end assignment for decades. As far as day to day schedules go, there’s not as much flexibility as in private jobs, but the workload tends to be lower so at least there’s less stress (unless you have an incompetent boss, there seem to be more of them than in the private sector). And then there’s the Army. That government job only allows 12 weeks, tops. Used to be six weeks.

Post # 5
275 posts
Helper bee

bubbles00 :  3 months would even be awesome. I’ve worked for 2 different US states now in gov’t and I got at most 8 weeks unpaid. Now I’m at the county level and at least I can apply to use days from the leave bank to cover maternity leave so I still get a check. 

 shadows9x :  I don’t know about you, but I went into gov’t work all shiny out of college wanting to help make a difference. I found out that gov’t is not really where that happens. Everything is slow, archaic, and unable (unwilling?) to change. However, if that is okay with you, and you’d be happy with it, I will say that the schedules were a lot smoother. You don’t work over in the gov’t. 

I’m in the environmental field (specifically, regulations). Working in gov’t actually really benefited my career path so far, since I’m experienced in a variety of regulations from federal to city, and there’s plenty of consulting jobs doing just that. 


Post # 6
527 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

shadows9x :  I’m Australian 🙂 


I am a school teacher and work for a government school. I have always worked for them so I can’t compare to private however I have friends who do and my workload is definitely less than theirs. I’m not expected to stay back late (I often leave by the bell at 3:15pm) and there are little to no weekend/after school commitments. I use holiday time efficiently and get all my planning done within 3-4 days. 

In regards to family life balance, working for the government has been perfect for me. I won permanency in my first year, so the same year Darling Husband and I decided to start a family. I went on maternity leave after 15 months of teaching (12 months of work is the minimum to receive benefits). I then took 9 months off to be with my baby. The following year I went back to work part-time (I’m still recognised as permanent full-time but the government sector has to negotiate part-time work for me until bubs is 2 years old.) I’m currently pregnant with baby #2 and look forward to taking another 9 months off (with pay) to be at home. 


Working for the government and having a young family works perfectly for me. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂 

Post # 7
1363 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Banquet Hall/Conference Center

sassyspoonicus :  Same here!! I started off my career out of grad school in local government (urban planning), quickly found out that you will generally learn more/earn more/work harder starting out in private sector. So I switched. Until I’m ready to have kids in a few years, I’d prefer to be in the private sector. At a more senior position though, government job makes a lot of sense because you actually have responsibility and may get to set or influence policy + have better work/life balance + have a dual income household if you’re married, so a lower salary wouldn’t matter as much.

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