Transitioning from Public to Private sector

routingsparksroutingsparks Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hey all,

Long time lurker, very rarely do I post. I have a question for an upcoming career decision. I'm currently active duty and will be separating roughly in March of next year. I've been doing a lot of preparation for my separation since I do have a family to support but one of the areas where I don't have much insight is the difference in the two sides of the house. I think from the outside looking in, that I would like to eventually work private sector. That being said, I don't have any issue continuing to work for the government (contractor or civilian) either. I guess my question is which has worked better career wise for you? Has anyone who has made the transition have any insight? I've heard that if you work for the government too long that it eventually looks bad when applying for private sector due to the static nature of the majority of our networks. I currently do a mixed bag of responsibilities to include scanning, patching, applying STIG's, deploying servers, cables, etc. Thanks for the help y'all!

Comments

  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you have a clearance? Having one is a lot like having a certification and you should give careful thought before letting one lapse. I think the challenge when switching from public to private sector is that public sector people, including the contractors, in my experience, are less likely to try to keep improving themselves. The government personnel don't have to worry about getting fired as long as they keep doing the minimum and the contractors figure the same, with the bit that once the contract expires, they're likely to roll with whomever wins the recompete. If you invest in yourself and are engaged and don't let yourself be pigeon-holed into doing something lame long-term, there shouldn't be a problem transitioning later if you want.
  • tedjamestedjames Scruffy-looking nerfherdr Member Posts: 1,111 ■■■■■■■■□□
    EANx wrote: »
    I think the challenge when switching from public to private sector is that public sector people, including the contractors, in my experience, are less likely to try to keep improving themselves.

    I've worked for the state since 2002 and in security since 2006. I'm also friends/colleagues with many government/university security personnel here in Texas. In that time, I've encountered only a handful of people, including a couple that I've worked with, who have that attitude. The rest of us are constantly learning and trying to push ahead. But I think it's that way no matter which sector you're working in. In my private sector days, I encountered a few who were just there for the paycheck.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Member Posts: 4,164 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Been in State government for just about 5 years, spent about 2 years with the Federal government and did about 4 years in the private sector. Biggest differences I have seen is pace, money, age of technology and time off. I've enjoyed government work much more than the private sector. My time in the private sector was time of little to no raises (unless I went to a different employer) and a lot of "you should be happy you have a job". Time off was often non-existence and when you used what little they gave you were made to feel bad about it. That said, I did get to work on much newer technology and typically anything that was needed was purchased.

    Government wise the pace of the work is typically slow. Tons of approvals needed, little money to pay for project and specifications not being fully known. At the same time I've gotten a ton of vacation time, good (but expensive benefits) and regular raises (well at least when the Governor chooses to follow the contract). Also, at least in my positions in government, I've been making an actual difference in people's lives. Putting bad people away is something you don't get to do anywhere else.
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  • routingsparksroutingsparks Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    EANx wrote: »
    Do you have a clearance? Having one is a lot like having a certification and you should give careful thought before letting one lapse. I think the challenge when switching from public to private sector is that public sector people, including the contractors, in my experience, are less likely to try to keep improving themselves. The government personnel don't have to worry about getting fired as long as they keep doing the minimum and the contractors figure the same, with the bit that once the contract expires, they're likely to roll with whomever wins the recompete. If you invest in yourself and are engaged and don't let yourself be pigeon-holed into doing something lame long-term, there shouldn't be a problem transitioning later if you want.

    I do have a clearance and I just got my re-investigation not to long ago so it's up to date as well. I think that stigma about government workers is what I'm concerned about, about how folks get comfortable and don't really have to worry about being fired so they don't keep pushing. In my experience, it also is a mindset and would almost go as far to say culture. Why make things better when they work fine the way they are now, right?

    Would you say private sector is a little bit more progressive when it comes to technology or is it only really startups that are using the cool new tools?
  • routingsparksroutingsparks Member Posts: 9 ■□□□□□□□□□
    the_Grinch wrote: »
    Been in State government for just about 5 years, spent about 2 years with the Federal government and did about 4 years in the private sector.

    That's actually another question I didn't know I had until now. Do you notice any difference in work between state and federal? Or for you does it seem like gov is gov?
  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,078 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I do have a clearance and I just got my re-investigation not to long ago so it's up to date as well.

    Would you say private sector is a little bit more progressive when it comes to technology or is it only really startups that are using the cool new tools?

    If the redo is recent then you might want to carefully consider giving corporate a try. Your clearance goes "stale" after two years so a year or so would give you the chance to explore corporate and see if it's right for you.

    Regarding progressiveness, I think it depends on the industry and its tolerance for risk. Some government can be very progressive using modern versions of software and being forward thinking while other non-government industries may only go with well-known software from long-established companies. Ultimately, I think it's a mistake to say one is bad while the other is good. U.S. Government Departments are large enough to find a wide variety.

    I think if you carefully cross-examine an interviewer, you'll find out a lot about the culture of the organization and the staff. And if you interview for a Fed contracting position, be sure to ask about the views of the government managers 1-3 levels up. (No input on non-Fed).
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