Sooner or later, everyone has to ask themselves how they want to make a living. For some, the job is only a means to an end, to be able to support themselves and perhaps a family. Others seek fulfillment in it or strive for a stellar career. Fortunately, there are so many different job descriptions that you will certainly find a choice that exactly matches your expectations. Unfortunately, the civil service does not have a very good reputation. People say that working as a civil servant is boring or that there are no opportunities for advancement. It is therefore worthwhile to take a look at the question of whether these prejudices are justified, what the job description even looks like in reality and what advantages it brings..
There are many civil servant jokes circulating in Germany and at first glance, this job does not necessarily sound like excitement or the great career. But at second glance, there's a lot more to being a civil servant than you might think. Because "civil servant" is actually not a job title, but merely an umbrella term for all persons who work in the public service or in the service of a public corporation. The status of civil servant results in a special legal relationship with the German state.
The most common civil service jobs in Germany
If you are interested in a career as a civil servant, you must first decide on one of the many civil service professions that come into question. You can, for example
- work in general administration. In most cases, you will complete an apprenticeship to become an administrative specialist or administrative assistant. Your tasks will therefore mainly consist of office or clerical work, but you may also be involved in implementing decisions or drafting administrative regulations. Depending on the job, you will be in direct contact with customers and act as a contact person for questions and problems. But also working on the computer, either alone or in a team, is a possible field of application. You can help here, for example, with the introduction of the new e-file or organize appropriate training, which is currently a hot topic, which is why the public administration is looking for appropriate specialists in many places. As you can see, the general administration offers a wide variety of job profiles as well as internal promotion opportunities.
- Aim for a career in the police, because there are also many civil servant positions here, and this example also makes it clear that civil service can also be exciting and full of "adventure" – if that is what you are looking for. Finally, the job of a police officer is a dream employer for eleven percent of students in grades 8 to 13. Here, too, the areas of deployment are varied, which differ depending on the field, but also with regard to your activity. You can, for example, be a water police officer directly on the boat in the field or do important research work at the criminal investigation department. Police prevention offers you the opportunity to work with people of all ages or you are interested in technology and go to the information and communication group. This is by no means the end of the list of examples, so there is bound to be a job that suits you.
- work in the social and health sector, for example as a teacher, educator or doctor. So if you like to work with people, teach children or help sick people…for all these and many other professions in the social and health sector there is also a wide range of civil servant positions available. You don't have to be a civil servant in these professions, but the possibility is open to you – depending on which job you decide on.
- join the German Armed Forces, either as a soldier or as a doctor, pharmacist, mechatronics technician, etc. Here, too, there is a wide choice of possible training programs, or you may have already completed the relevant training and now want to pursue your further career in the Bundeswehr. If you decide to train as a soldier, you can, for example, join the mountain troops and learn how defense works in difficult terrain. Or you go to the air force to become a fighter pilot. The choice is huge and ranges from physically demanding as well as dangerous jobs to technical or office jobs to work as a paramedic or medic.
It should be clear by now that there is no one job as a civil servant. Instead, it is an umbrella term for numerous different occupational profiles as well as employment opportunities. And that's not the end of the list, you can also go to the fire department, tax administration, forestry administration, judicial administration, social security, water administration or the weather service – to name just a few other possible employers. But what is the difference between working as a "normal" pilot, doctor, teacher, administrative specialist&? Co of that as a civil servant?
Overview of the special features of civil service
Thus, civil service does not describe a special job description, but – as already mentioned – a special legal relationship. If you want to become a civil servant, you work indirectly for the state. He is your employer and pays your salary. This special status results from the Basic Law, in which it is stated that you must commit yourself "by oath to the free democratic basic order". If you want to become a civil servant, you have to take such an oath. In return, the state ensures that you and your family are financially well provided for. As a civil servant, you enjoy several advantages over "normal" employees:
- As a civil servant you are outside the German social security system. You are free to choose whether you want to remain in the statutory health insurance or be privately insured. The latter variant is supported by the state by paying an allowance in case of illness.
- Furthermore, you do not have to pay into the statutory pension fund, but you are entitled to payment of a pension in retirement – and this is significantly higher than the usual pension entitlements. Up to 71 percent of your last salary will be paid to you by the state for life, depending on the number of years you have worked in your career.
- Another great advantage of being a civil servant is that you can't be laid off. So your job can hardly be more secure, and thus you are not required to pay into unemployment insurance either. Nevertheless, there you can lose your civil service job in exceptional situations, for example, if you commit a crime.
These are the three main arguments for many people to choose civil servant status. Finally, you enjoy the highest possible job security and have a good to very good earnings in most professions. This combination also ensures excellent creditworthiness, i.e. it is usually no problem to obtain money from banks, for example to finance a home of your own.
Are there also disadvantages – and which?
As always in life, however, there are two sides to this coin, and being a civil servant has the following disadvantages: The obligation you enter into with your employer, the "state", means that you give up some of your rights. For example, you can only have a limited say when it comes to your assignment areas or a transfer. In addition, there is a ban on strikes for civil servants and earnings are strictly regulated. So there is no room for salary negotiation, which means in some professions you could earn more in the free economy. Plus, there are actually some jobs, especially in administration, that are characterized by boredom and underachievement. Other civil service professions, on the other hand, mean a great burden in physical terms or through constant stress.
The civil service is all in all much better than its reputation and brings great advantages with it. Nevertheless, you should choose your profession with care, because, as we know, money is not everything in life. So inform yourself well about how the work content, the load& Co look in practice before you make your oath. Fortunately, the selection of civil service professions is so large that you will certainly find what you are looking for – if you are a person who strives for security. If, on the other hand, you are more of a "free spirit" who likes to decide yourself about your working hours, your place of residence, the content of your work or the amount of your salary, despite any risk, you will probably not be happy in the rigid structures of civil service. Then you should rather think about self-employment. Whether the job description of a civil servant in all its variations suits you or not depends primarily on your individual personality!