Year 2 AC: Public versus private sector jobs

I’ve been referring to everything that happened prior to March 2020 as “BC” (Before Corona, not to be confused with “BCE” for years prior to Jesus’s birth). We’re just beginning Year 2 “AC”, therefore. Public sector workers have been mostly relaxing at home for a year, still drawing full paychecks, e.g., Boston Public School teachers. Should one of these folks fall ill due to COVID-19 or any other cause, he/she/ze/they will be paid via disability insurance.

What’s it like in the private sector? A housecleaner I know had to continue working, accepting whatever risk of COVID-19 was entailed, if she wanted to be paid. She’s around 60 years old and therefore has more age-related COIVD-19 risk than the average public sector worker (many of whom are eligible to retire at 50 or younger). She recently suffered a fall on a narrow staircase in a Beacon Hill home (these structures are fully compliant with all building and safety codes… of the early 1800s; see “For $20.5 million, Beacon Hill town house next to John Kerry” for an example) and broke both radius bones in her forearms. She’s unable to work, of course, and won’t be receiving payments from a disability policy. She’s expected to recover and has a lot of support from family (Brazilian immigrants), but the story made me reflect on the precariousness of a lot of folks’ existence.

(The teachers aren’t “relaxing at home,” you say, because they have to be present on Zoom for some hours each week? While down in Florida in January, I met a Massachusetts public school system employee nearing full retirement (early 60s). She didn’t enjoy being on Zoom so she began to use the months of sick leave she’d accumulated over the years. “It will run out by next fall,” she explained, “but the union says that I’ll be able to use days from the sick bank until I’m eligible for maximum retirement benefits in November.” In other words, she will have been paid in full for 1.5 years without having to get closer to the Massachusetts school than Florida and without having to appear on Zoom.)

Now that economic opportunities exist only when governors give permission, is it more important than ever to prepare young people for careers as government workers?

Loosely related, from February 19, 2021 in Waltham, Massachusetts:

We still have plenty of opioids for anyone who is depressed about losing a private sector job!

11 thoughts on “Year 2 AC: Public versus private sector jobs

  1. “Public sector workers have been mostly relaxing at home for a year, still drawing full paychecks”

    This is most definitely not the case with state and local government workers in FL. Though, my City Hall closed to the public for six weeks April – May 2020, workers still showed up, with a handful allowed to pretend to work from home if under exigent codvid-related circumstances.

    “Massachusetts public school system employee nearing full retirement (early 60s).”

    According to various google search results, public school teachers earn an average of about $55,000 per year in FL. FL Public school teachers reach full retirement eligibility after 33 years of service – which at an average “high eight” salary of, say, $60,000, would generate an annual pension of (33 years X $60,000 X 1.6%) = $31,680 (no COLA for those hired after 2011).

    • Probably a reason why people are leaving the northeast for better run states like Florida and Texas. Lots of public employees in NYC are earning in excess of a quarter mil. See It is hard to know the cost to taxpayers of public employees since a lot of the cost is in DB pensions indexed to inflation and health care. The unions and politicians are careful that the headline numbers seem reasonable notwithstanding that the total expenditure per employee is not. So the Manhattan Institute estimated that it costs taxpayers about $195,000 for each NYC policeman, notwithstanding that a policeman might nominally earn 60K or whatever.

    • Jill Biden’s EdD was earned at the University of Delaware, not at an online diploma mill. Her dissertation is an embarrassment, but she went to class in person.

    • ScarletNumber: I did not mean to imply that Dr. Jill Biden, MD’s diploma was earned online. Only that once Jane Teacher gets her online EdD she can become “Dr. Jane Teacher, MD.”

  2. “Public sector workers have been mostly relaxing at home for a year, still drawing full paychecks, e.g., Boston Public School teacher

    NY Post, 02/27/21 – NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter ‘Marginalized’ Older White Women
    “Incoming schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter has made it her mission to racially revamp the employment rolls as she moved up the ranks of the Department of Education — often at the expense of white and Jewish educators, critics charge. Porter once boasted about her quotas.

    “When I am selecting principals, teachers or leaders — after we make the list, we look at it and we count: how many women, how many people of color, and why. Who we chose, and why,” Porter said.

    “I look at the makeup, and I literally count — and it’s OK for us to do that,” Porter told a 2018 panel at Fordham University.

    The educator, tapped by Mayor de Blasio to replace Richard Carranza after the chancellor abruptly announced his resignation Friday, is accused in at least two recent lawsuits of discriminating against older, white and Jewish educators.

    She is not named as a plaintiff in either action, but is accused of creating a hostile environment.

    Porter, the first Black woman to helm the nation’s largest school system, rose from teacher to superintendent in the Bronx’s District 11. Carranza then promoted Porter as one of nine new “executive superintendents” in August 2018, months after he arrived in New York. She made $209,479 last year.

    “Disrupt and Dismantle” was Porter’s rallying cry..”

  3. >Now that economic opportunities exist only when governors give permission,


    We live in the “mother, may I” era of American civilization. Nothing can be done without previous license.

    Breathing is a crime unless done in the manner prescribed by law.

  4. Where I live in Deplorableland, I know first hand that government jobs (including local government) are the most jealously coveted prizes in the Commonwealth. Winning election to the Town Clerk’s job is a huge, huge triumph. The salary may not be super, but the benefits are, and becoming fully vested with pension benefits is the most important thing in the WORLD to the people who fight (sometimes) like dogs for these positions. They can be very, very mean to each other fighting for them.

    And they know the writing on the wall.

    • The only other thing that’s as attractive to people where I live is the promise of growing and selling marijuana as part of the Commonwealth’s scheme. That, and finding people who can successfully write grant applications. It is imagined by many that marijuana and government grants are going to lift all boats, and the Town (including the Planning Board and Zoning Board) have fallen right in line.

      The future is Government, from one end to the other. If I had a kid going into College right now, I’d be telling them: Start applying for government jobs NOW, and find someone who is going to open a marijuana farm/dispensary.

      We’re on the Highway to Hell. I can’t overstate it.

  5. And completely off-topic, but still “on blog” because you’ve wondered openly in the past about where plastic surgeons come from:

    In some places, literally out of NOWHERE.

    “Alcalira Jimenez De Rodriguez, 56, was one of the practitioners at Millennium Anti-Aging and Surgery Center at 1450 NW 87th Avenue, according to an arrest report from the Doral Police Department. She was in the middle of performing another procedure on a different patient on Thursday when detectives got to the office and arrested her, mid-surgery, police said.”

    Right there between the Red Lobster and the Chili’s Bar & Grill. Not quite “down by the railroad tracks” but this is Miami.,-80.3374167,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x4823a4b13274910a!8m2!3d25.7870226!4d-80.3374167

  6. There is this duck on TV – it quacks about AFLAC, perhaps the housekeeper should have listened to the duck and bought AFLAC. Public sector benefits packages roll AFLAC equivalent insurance as part of the compensation package, however it can be purchased privately just like health insurance can be purchased

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