Asked by Anonymous
Asked on 12 Jul 2018
Recounting my scholarly friend's story of being a civil servant:
To give you some background, my friend got accepted to Princeton university for undergrads and then Oxford for masters, and both are paid for by the scholarship.
she had two internships, one with a management consulting firm (big 4) and the other with a hedge fund. the hedge fund offered to break half of her bond to work for them, and yea, I can tell you they pay super well. the amount of bonuses you can get from working at a hedge fund's front office is just sick.
but she couldn't fork out the other half of the bond, so she came back to singapore to serve her bond as a civil servant. she's getting paid way lesser than what she could have gotten, but I think she's doing some great work at her place. she gets to attend some finance summit about crypto with all the g20 stuff, and do all sorts of cool stuff.
i can't tell if she loves her job, but as a scholar in a government job, more often than not will have a good career trajectory ahead.
consider your options wisely, young woman.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: A motivation theory.
Only you can answer this question by asking yourself these questions.
Physiological needs: Does the job pay you well?
Safety needs: Is there job security?
Belongingness and love needs: Does my family and friends support what I am doing?
Esteem needs: Is this a prestigious job? Do I find meaning in what I am doing?
Self-actualization needs: Will this job allow me to achieve my personal potential, self-fulfillment and personal growth?
Well, as a scholar in the civil service you have fulfilled points 1 and point 2. By asking the question in the community you are seeking points 3 and 4. Point 5 is the hardest to achieve but if you do, congratulation!
Lastly, if this career does not satisfy your needs, you will eventually leave the service.
It depends on what do you mean by "good".
There are many tiers of scholars but the general outline is that if you're a scholar, the career endpoint is already set for you and you'll definitely reach there unless you go rogue. For the first few years, you'll be made to rotate from ministry to ministry. It's mainly for the higher-ups to see where do you fit in better but take the chance to explore and see what fits you too. There's no guarantee that you'll get what you want in the end but at least you could try to appeal to your bosses. Regardless the role and ministry you're in, you're set to move up. And faster than any of your peers. You're also set to go for further studies (with scholarship again, of course) to prepare you towards public policy. Depending on the scholarship you're on now (study local uni vs overseas uni), we may see you on TV one day :p
As you can see, the scholarship basically lays a red carpet for you all over public sector. Naturally with the fast progression, you'll see the money roll in. You will also get many opportunities to learn and contribute to the society. If you have the interest and passion towards that, it's definitely a "good" investment. However, if you hate doing what you do, you hate the red tape, I would say that it's a "not worth it" investment. But you have to option to leave once your bond is up.
Either way, it's never a "bad" investment in my eyes.
There are some very useful answers shared by other community members. Do read them.
First. The investment is made on you by them. You know who. As such, you are bound to serve as well as bound to have your career (and maybe LIFE) carve out for you. Sorry, you are not going to be the Master Puppet anytime soon. Give it 20 years time.
Second. I go back to some previous answers I made.
Start by mapping out what motivates you (money? fun? friendship? ownership? long list...)
Understand what are the behaviours that suit you (your strengths, your skills, your personality...)
Maybe, look at where you are now and where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years time...
From all of the above 3 points, develop your strategy...
"The only person who knows what is right for you is you"
Third. While you have pointed out "government". I think the real answer lies within you. Given the limited info, go on a self-discovery journey to understand whether you believe you are suited to make use of your talents as a civil servants or not. After all, what worked for other people might not work for you.
Hope it helps
Pascal from Time to first byte
People change as they age. What they hold dear in their 20s may seems like trivial stuff in their 50s.
In any case, it depends on how you see it. If you are purely in for the money, yes, staying in the civil service is a good 'investment'.
If not, a job is a job, be it in the civil service or in the private sector. Benefits seems to be better in the civil service but your boss and your colleagues are equally important, if not more. If you are stuck in a negative environment, you should leave. If you are in an environment where you can grow, stay on. I can't emphasize the importantance of mental and physical well-being over money.
I would recommend you finish your bond and make an assessment of the job environment at that point of time. As I said, people change as they age. You might hate what you are doing but you might grow to embrace it and vice-versa. When your bond finish, ask yourself, is this a place where I can grow and advance? Or is the environment here toxic? Then, you would know whether to move out of civil service or stay on. Remember, your well being, mentally or physically is more important than money.
Truthfully, the civil service is a good place. As Gabriel has said the annual bonuses are a source of envy.
Furthermore, you are a scholar and I believe this means you will be highly and with the potential of a quicker path to the top. This means a higher quantum of salary - work hard, earn more income to build your financial independence. To add the icing to the cake, the fact that you are interested in personal finance, and am part of the Seedly community, asking questions demonstrate your curiousity and interest to self-discover. This will bring you far in solving issues at work.
I am an outsider looking at my friends in govt or civil service. I envy the annual bonuses and job security.
I would say go for job rotations first (as a scholar) and see the working culture in Govt sector, before deciding on other factors like salary etc. A middle range pay with good work-life balance is very much sought after, so that can be a brownie point for govt sector if it is applicable.
Only if you believe in what you're doing.
Many ppl serve their bond and then leave simply because they are not aligned with workplace values. It could be too early for you to tell right now, but work a few years, do a few rotations (i believe as a scholar you will have many such opportunities) and constantly re-evaluate your choices. All the best!