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Public or Private? April 2, 2006

Posted by Teller in Counter Closed.
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When I first started applying for jobs my aunts would bring it up at every gathering we attended. All eyes would turn to me and the first question that people asked was, "حوكومه ولا خاص؟" ("Public or Private sector?")

It sounds like an innocent enough question. However, your answer could damn you in their eyes. If you chose 'public' when talking to someone in a private sector job you effectively label yourself as an under-achiever, an airhead, and persona non grata to their lofty opinions. Condescendingly, they would share their views on why the public sector is terrible and subsequently dismiss you as a lost cause.

On the other hand, telling someone in the public sector that you want to to work in the private sector will garner you a few different reactions. There are those who immediately jump into trying to talk you out of it. "Long hours!" "You can get fired at any moment!" "They will work you to death!" God forbid you have ambitions!

Some relatives who have cushy goverment jobs bemoaned the public sector insisting that the private sector was the way to go, while their eyes gloated at my unemployed state. Let others take the road to private sector, they had job security! Where else can people get paid for not showing up to work? Or better yet showing up, doing absolutely nothing and getting a high evaluation from their supervisors?

The private sector, they assured me, was the road to job fulfillment, higher self-esteem, and most importantly…more money.

"Go work in the banks!"
"…they have higher salaries."
"You will meet a lot of people!"
"…you will get paid everytime someone makes a deposit!"
"You can convince all your friends to open accounts!"
"…you will get incentives!"
"You will be recognized for the work you do!"
"…you will get bonuses!"
"It's the fastest way to make connections!"
"Trust us!"

I did.

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