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Topic # 190715 9-Jan-2016 23:34
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Hi all, 

I'm considering a career switch working from a private organization to taking up roles with public organizations such as NZTE.

If there are people out there already working for the government, would appreciate your views on what the working culture is like - pros vs cons etc.

I'm well aware it will depend on the organization and the people that run it, and also which division but again it would be interesting to get the gist of it.

Thanks!

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  Reply # 1466822 10-Jan-2016 01:09
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I'm going to generalize and exaggerate here and refer public organization as "government or crown entity", if one takes offense, consider standing in front of a mirror.

Working culture is "relaxed", 9-5 bums on seat is critical over actual productivity. People cover their asses first over any meaningful outcome. Meetings with no action points are common, you will get told the department has ran over budget but no worry, the tax payer is still funding your morning tea.

Perfect work life balance if you have children.

Words like "solution options", "full picture", "steering committee", "ELT" get thrown into every day meetings and conversations to avoid making decisions. Never change your mind after a decision is made. But you have full authority to point blame to external parties, vendors and suppliers for the benefit of your department.




You will get paid twice as much for half the outputs required of your role.

Lastly your minister is God reincarnated.

If any of the above sounds appealing, congrats you will almost be certainly hired

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  Reply # 1466824 10-Jan-2016 02:04
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NZTE is not like Gliding On

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1466826 10-Jan-2016 02:29
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khull: I'm going to generalize and exaggerate here and refer public organization as "government or crown entity", if one takes offense, consider standing in front of a mirror.

Working culture is "relaxed", 9-5 bums on seat is critical over actual productivity. People cover their asses first over any meaningful outcome. Meetings with no action points are common, you will get told the department has ran over budget but no worry, the tax payer is still funding your morning tea.

Perfect work life balance if you have children.

Words like "solution options", "full picture", "steering committee", "ELT" get thrown into every day meetings and conversations to avoid making decisions. Never change your mind after a decision is made. But you have full authority to point blame to external parties, vendors and suppliers for the benefit of your department.




You will get paid twice as much for half the outputs required of your role.

Lastly your minister is God reincarnated.

If any of the above sounds appealing, congrats you will almost be certainly hired


'ELT' appears to be a TLA - what does it stand for?

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  Reply # 1466858 10-Jan-2016 07:56
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I worked for a Government Department for 23 years, they were a very good employer. Do not believe the BS you read that it's a cushy, safe, over paid under worked job. It's the same as any employment and has the same performance and result criteria.




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 


jmh

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  Reply # 1466862 10-Jan-2016 08:04
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I think it's a good idea to gain experience of working in both the public and private sectors. In recent years managers and politicians have tried to make public sector agencies more like private businesses on the grounds that people are only motivated by money, so targets are put in place.  What is not understood is that in the delivery of public services targets are often not profit driven, so you cannot apply the same motivational factors that you would when managing a private business.  You also cannot judge success by the same means.  While you may make huge savings with a particular project, this might be at a greater cost to another 'business unit.'  E.g. clawing back the welfare state may have a knock-on effect on people's willingness to pay taxes or on demands made on the health service.  The only way around this is through greater surveillance and policing.  This seems to the be the way we are heading right now.

Trust me, it's way easier to run a business that a public sector agency.  In private businesses, for example, the CEO and board have a pretty free reign and are only accountable to shareholders.  In publically-funded agencies you are also accountable to politicians who are a complex web of motivations which might not include better services for the public.  There is also a much higher level of reporting required because you are spending public money and this has to be accounted for and justified, especially where outcomes are not measured in $.

While I enjoyed working with people dedicated to serving others (in Social Services), it is a lot easier working in the private sector where the goal is profit.  

For a person who is moving from private to public, just remember that sometimes there are other ways of doing things.  Allow yourself to adapt for 12 months before you start mouthing off about how inefficient things are - you'll appreciate the need for different rules before you upset everyone.  And remember, not everyone is driven by profit.

Also, the public sector is not highly paid.  It was only a few years ago that the public sector was low paid and you left to go into the private sector to make money.  What's happened is that private sector wages and conditions have fallen.  This will happen in due course in the public sector as unions continue to be weakened.

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  Reply # 1466863 10-Jan-2016 08:15
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khull: I'm going to generalize and exaggerate here and refer public organization as "government or crown entity", if one takes offense, consider standing in front of a mirror.

Working culture is "relaxed", 9-5 bums on seat is critical over actual productivity. People cover their asses first over any meaningful outcome. Meetings with no action points are common, you will get told the department has ran over budget but no worry, the tax payer is still funding your morning tea.

Perfect work life balance if you have children.

Words like "solution options", "full picture", "steering committee", "ELT" get thrown into every day meetings and conversations to avoid making decisions. Never change your mind after a decision is made. But you have full authority to point blame to external parties, vendors and suppliers for the benefit of your department.




You will get paid twice as much for half the outputs required of your role.

Lastly your minister is God reincarnated.

If any of the above sounds appealing, congrats you will almost be certainly hired


You seemed to have nailed  it from when I worked in the public service.  I think that the OP will find it boring and will want to get out of it within 6 months..




Regards,

Old3eyes


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  Reply # 1466866 10-Jan-2016 08:38
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MikeB4: I worked for a Government Department for 23 years, they were a very good employer. Do not believe the BS you read that it's a cushy, safe, over paid under worked job. It's the same as any employment and has the same performance and result criteria.

 

 

lol

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  Reply # 1466867 10-Jan-2016 08:45
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Given what people have said so far I don't think you're going to get anything useful or objective on this thread, or the few things that are accurate will be ridiculed, and there will be plenty of misinformation. khull, lxsw20 don't represent what I've found. MikeB4 and JMH are closer to my experience.

I've worked in every type of organisation, government and private, as a contractor. Private is a bit more driven, public a little more relaxed at times (not always), but in general people in public service organisations really do their best to do the best for New Zealand.




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  Reply # 1466879 10-Jan-2016 09:40
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eracode: 'ELT' appears to be a TLA - what does it stand for?


Executive Leadership Team; this TLA normally refers to the Senior Management in the Ministry.



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  Reply # 1467332 11-Jan-2016 08:47
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thanks for the feedback all. 

Some very interesting insights and reinforcement of what my initial thoughts were about working in the public sector.  It will definitely require plenty of change and adaptation, I particularly like the advice from JMH to sit and watch for 12months before rocking the boat. 

There's plenty of arguments for salaries and pay, I agree that private sectors can give better payout for remunerations but do public sector jobs also get things like yearly bonuses and the sort?

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  Reply # 1467334 11-Jan-2016 08:51
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Bonuses are unlikely in the public sector.




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  Reply # 1467335 11-Jan-2016 08:56
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lxsw20:
MikeB4: I worked for a Government Department for 23 years, they were a very good employer. Do not believe the BS you read that it's a cushy, safe, over paid under worked job. It's the same as any employment and has the same performance and result criteria.


lol


Why?




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 


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  Reply # 1467349 11-Jan-2016 09:11
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Mike, I can tell by the way you are around these forums that the public sector probably suited you down to the ground, but it isn't for everyone for reasons pointed out in this thread already. 

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  Reply # 1467362 11-Jan-2016 09:42
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lxsw20: Mike, I can tell by the way you are around these forums that the public sector probably suited you down to the ground, but it isn't for everyone for reasons pointed out in this thread already. 


Care to explain this, given you don't really know me




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 


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  Reply # 1467367 11-Jan-2016 09:50
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Having worked for both public and private sectors in the UK, and public in New Zealand in the transportation industry my opinion is that local government is better for those that want a bit more free time with the family but are happy to be paid less and get less rewards as a result; that is not to say you cannot get sizable increases or promotions, but more that they're limited due to the focused nature of the organisations and what they do.

As an example, working for the second largest transportation authority in NZ, I am paid about 30% less than my private sector colleagues but I'm contracted to do only 40 hours per week, of which I normally do between 40 and 50.  There is little expectation for evening work or work beyond your hours but they do expect you to pull your socks up if the work demands it.  Its a slightly more forgiving environment, but bonuses and promotions are harder to achieve due to where the budgets come from.

In general, local government provides a bit more security and a better work/life balance (in engineering anyway) but significantly less pay and not as wide ranging work as private can offer.

Just my thoughts.

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